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I have dined at the Manor many times since it opened a year ago. I have my favorites (meatloaf, calamari) and have always been impressed with their drink specials (2-4-1 every night but Saturday and Sunday, until 9 p.m.). On a recent Saturday evening I was invited to taste items from their newly expanded menu. I took John, a Manor virgin, with me to share in this occasion.

marvelous-manor-1I have dined at The Manor many times since it opened a year ago. I have my favorites (meatloaf, calamari) and have always been impressed with their drink specials (2-4-1 every night but Saturday and Sunday, until 9 p.m.). On a recent Saturday evening I was invited to taste items from their newly expanded menu. I took John, a Manor virgin, with me to share in this occasion.

The Manor continues to be one of more attractive South Florida bars. From the noble grand exterior and the darkly handsome interior, the club/restaurant/bar definitely makes a strong impression. On the Saturday that we dined, there was a comfortable crowd dining around us and several hot guys hanging at the bar. We chose a table near the dessert counter and perused the thick new menu, which was broken up into sections.

marvelous-manor-2The menu features 20 different kinds of martinis (including an Orange Expresso Martini and a Chocolate Cake Martini), a large wine list, and a section for build-your-own mojitoes where you choose your favorite rum and the fruit flavor of your choice. Since mojitoes are my favorite drink (well, after sangria. . . and French Martinis), I chose to sample the blueberry flavored one. The drink, which came with a skewer of blueberries, was delicious – not too sweet and very tasty.

There is also a section for dippable delights, tapas, flatbreads, sliders, salads, soups, large dishes, East Meets West, From the Sea, dessert and brunch.

John and I had a tough choice picking from the tapas section of the menu. Tapas are the specialty of The Manor. For those who don’t know what Tapas are, they are small dishes and the point is to order a variety to share among friends. After trying to choose between various Flatbreads (which cost $7.95) and sliders (also $7.95) and grilled Korean-style short ribs ($11.95) and other deliciousness, we went with an order of the Ahi Tuna Avocado Tacos ($11.95) and Sugarcane Skewered Beef Tenderloin ($11.95).

The tacos feature seared tuna, slices of avocado, cilantro, carrots, cucumbers and pomegranate mayonnaise in a flat tortilla. There were two large tortillas cut in half, so it could definitely feed a group of four. My dining companion, who is a big mayonnaise aficionado, was very impressed with the flavor of the pomegranate mayo. I especially liked the refreshing flavor combination of the tuna, avocado and cilantro. We agreed that it was a great light dish for warm weather.

The Sugarcane Skewered Beef Tenderloin was presented beautifully to us on skewers over a pile of Asian marinated noodles over a grilled pineapple, served alongside a small dish of Thai peanut sauce. I am definitely adding this to my list of favorites at The Manor – the beef was tender and sensational- especially dipped in the peanut sauce.

For an entrée, I chose the Chicken Milanese ($15.95), partly because it was recommended to me by about four different people. Everyone and their mother kept telling me that I had to try this dish, so I took their enthusiastic advice. . .and I wasn’t sorry. The large portion of thinly pounded chicken breast was topped with mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions tossed in delicate balsamic vinaigrette and topped with shaved parmesan. I now see why I was told to try it and I now pass that recommendation onto you, dear readers.

John ordered the grilled skirt steak ($16.95), simply because he always orders that dish when it is offered at a restaurant. His steak was served with a side of garlic mashed potatoes and sweet chili flavored eggplant. He ate everything on his plate and was especially happy to note that the garlic flavor in the mashed potatoes wasn’t too overwhelming. He enjoyed the dish and said that the real standout was the eggplant, which he said was among the best he’s ever had.

Although we certainly had enough to eat, we couldn’t resist dessert at The Manor. It’s one of the things they are known for! We decided to order the fried Oreos ($5.95) and the pumpkin cheesecake ($5.95). Yes, I said fried Oreos. We both have heard a lot about this dish, but neither one of us have ever tried it. John actually doesn’t even like Oreos, but thought it would be interesting to try. The cookies were coated in panko breadcrumbs, deep-fried and served with a dish of warm raspberry sauce. John, self-confessed hater of Oreos, said that it was one of the best desserts he has ever had. I actually smacked his hand away when he tried to take the last one. Normally, I wouldn’t resort to abuse, but these fried Oreos were just that good and he had a whole slice of pumpkin cheesecake to eat.

I have to confess, and I’m sure I will lose some credibility, but I don’t eat cheesecake or pumpkin, for that matter. John, however, is a fan of both and said that he has had that combination before, but this was the best one he ever had.

We had a fantastic experience at The Manor and were impressed with the expanded menu, which featured something for every taste.

Hotspots spoke with Gannon Woekel, who owns Dudes with Jacques Bourdon, about the local favorite’s grand reopening which will take place on Friday, December 17th at 6 pm. Woekel, who has been working in the community for almost 15 years, is excited about the changes and can’t wait to reopen.

What should people expect from the grand reopening?
Great snacks and smiles from some of Florida’s wonderful gay community from South Beach to Palm Beach. There will be hors d’oeuvres, great live music from 6 to 9 pm, new lighting and sound.
What are some of the changes?
New lights, new sound, new décor with a nostalgic flavor from the years past, a remodeled large room with new décor and new wainscotting and refreshed woodwork.
What are you most excited about with the new Dudes?
A sense of a sophisticated gentlemen’s club with a taste of naughty, but nice – truly nice -a place where a patron actually gets to know you, from top DJs and female impersonators to the dance entertainers.
What about new entertainment?
We now feature Tony and Gloria on Friday from 6 to 9 pm with guitar and song and they sometimes bring in special guests of theirs.

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