By: Stevette Ballog
After years of running Scarfone’s Coal Fired Pizza in the Heron Bay Waterway Shoppes, and with nearly 30 other pizza restaurants in town, owners Danny and Angie Scarfone decided it was time for a change. They planned for two years, renovated the space and “hatched” Big Rooster’s Southern Table.
I often enjoyed Scarfone’s crispy pizza crust and giant meatballs, but nothin’ warms the heart like Southern food. Upon entering, I noticed that a lot of time and money went into this remodel and felt like I was in one of the 50 Eggs, Inc. venues like Swine or Spring Chicken in Coral Gables. The wild and lighthearted décor is kind of hipster-meets-country-chic or maybe even urban barnyard. No matter how you describe it -I totally dig it.
After perusing the menu, I gathered it’s best to leave your Baywatch bod at home and dive headfirst into the dense carbs, butter, bacon and cheese that make this home-style restaurant shine. I began my meal with a true Southern staple – Fried Green Tomatoes ($9.50). Four battered and deep-fried, yet greaseless slices of tomato were topped with homemade pimento cheese, an apple cider bacon flag that practically waved at me as it hit the table and a little grape tomato that helped to cut the richness of this plate.
Next, I ordered the Colossal Southern Pretzel ($15). A giant pretzel served with BBQ pulled pork, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese and honey mustard initially sounded like an odd combo, but then I realized it was a perfect way to get to try a little of this and that before making an entrée selection. The pretzel yielded a perfectly soft and chewy consistency. It was piping hot and became the perfect dipping vessel for all four accompaniments. The creamy cheddar-based macaroni and cheese was rib-stickingly good and the velvety mashed potatoes and honey mustard were equally toothsome. My taste buds were taunted after just one dip into the pulled pork. That sweet, tangy and smoky barbecue led me to believe that their baby back ribs must be the kind that leaves you hungrily licking your sauced-drenched fingers.
With so many intriguing items on the menu, it was a struggle to pick just one supper. I ended up taking a land, air and sea approach for dinner. Thankfully, I brought a guest because the portions here screamed “go big or go home”.
Land – The Egg Burger ($14), accompanied by a mountain of fries, struck me as the perfect hangover cure. A thick 10oz prime beef patty topped with bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion and a fried egg were skewered on a buttery bun and served with a shot of maple ketchup. As a kid, I often ate ketchup on my eggs and maple syrup on my bacon, so this sauce made me feel right at home. I was a bit disappointed to hear they serve their burgers medium well, but after learning that they do it to ensure the safety of their guests, I completely understand. To my surprise, even though it was over-cooked for my taste, the beef was juicy and packed a great flavor.
Air – The Chicken & Waffles ($18) come with your choice of five chicken tenders or four pieces of bone-in chicken that get coated in a slightly sweet batter, fried to a crisp and nestled alongside four fluffy waffle triangles. The dish also comes with watermelon, a square of what might be the best damn cornbread in town and a hot honey sauce that will knock your socks off. The menu states that this dish comes with bourbon maple syrup, so that may have been an error, but a very welcomed one indeed. If you’re like me and enjoy heat, you might just find yourself spooning it like soup.
Sea – The Fresh Apple Glazed Salmon ($23) arrived resting on a pool of creamy grits with sautéed veggies, more of that delicious cornbread and my choice of one fixin’. I opted for the sweet potato fries with marshmallow sauce and actually found myself dipping them into the apple chutney that was on top of the fish. Texturally, I prefer my salmon grilled or pan-seared, but the sauce and caramelized apples complimented the dish nicely. With fixins’ like collard greens, macaroni and cheese, several varieties of tators’, corn on the cob, creamed spinach and more, I suggest choosing a side that will offset those sugary flavors.
As if I didn’t sample enough, I ordered the Marshmallow S’mores ($8) and a Strawberry-fig Cocktail ($13). The aroma of roasted marshmallows permeated the dining room before this sinful skillet rested before me. Layers of crushed graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate chips get loaded into a cast iron bowl. After roasting, the dish was garnished with whole graham crackers, confectioners’ sugar, sliced strawberries and whipped cream – simply to die for and PLENTY to share.
Needing to walk around a bit, I bellied up to the bar to watch the manager, Michael make the crafty libation. New Amsterdam Vodka, fresh lime juice, fig jam, fresh strawberries and a little agave nectar were muddled and strained into a large wine glass. The drink was an instant soul-soother. I also sampled their Hunch Punch Moonshine. It tastes like grown up Hawaiian Punch, but don’t be fooled – it’ll sneak up on ya!
Big Rooster’s Southern Table serves up quality ‘cue staples, low-country classics, creative cocktails, craft beer and more. Their website states, “We’re kind of a big deal” and I’d have to agree. Once word gets out, there’s no doubt this capacious place will be bustling. They’re open seven days a week for lunch and dinner and offer late-night entertainment on Fridays and Saturdays, happy hour from 4 p.m – 7 p.m. and daily specials like $3 moonshine cocktails on Thursday. Oh, and if you still have a hankering for that Scarfone’s pizza, they offer a limited Italian menu for take-out.
The Scarfone family deserves kudos for giving us a little taste of the South. Be sure to follow them on Facebook and Instagram for specials and event information. When you head in to check them out, tell them Stevette from Fork Notes and Coral Springs Talk sent you and let us know what you think.
Big Rooster’s Southern Table
6240 Coral Ridge Dr #100
Coral Springs, FL 33076
Stevette Balllog, formally from Chicago has been living in Broward County for 15 years. She has a B.S. in Culinary Management from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and is owner of the Fork Notes Blog. She loves to travel all over the US in search of the best food, wine and craft beer, and she loves to cook. If you have an idea for a restaurant for her to review, please contact her at email@example.com follow her on Twitter at @Forknotes