Kaluz has raised all of their prices because, well you know with all of the bad reviews, it makes sense. $39 for a choice "NY Strip". Treat yourself to bad food at the highest prices in town.
I figured it was time to give Kaluz another try; I've been monitoring their web site to see if they were making any changes to the menu, but it looks like they're sticking with the same bad menu that they started with. I didn't feel like fast food and the number of nice, sit down restaurants in town are sparse in the summer.
They still have the entire restaurant lot marked off as "Valet only", which many restaurants don't do at lunch time. Luckily there was parking in the public lot so I didn't have to lug my camera and iPad into the restaurant. The most puzzling (and annoying) thing was that there was no valet; nobody manning the stand, nobody inside. Nobody there on my way out either.
Kaluz Restaurant Entrance
But, it's a very nice entrance. My first time here I was shoveled into the bar and didn't even see the outside space. They have a patio and outside bar but I just don't find such things appealing when its 92 degrees out. It's great for parking your mega-yacht however.
I got a mini-booth and ordered iced tea with extra lemon; the glasses here aren't conducive to extra lemon. Served on a swizzle stick, it's very fancy.
Kaluz Iced Tea
They have a token lunch menu with some ridiculously priced items; everything else is dinner priced at lunch time. Their menu isn't exactly the same; they've added prime rib to the menu for $29; $4 more than I paid for it when they opened.
Lunch does come with bread.
The bread was decent, and it comes with nice soft butter. This menu totally doesn't appeal to me; you have to get a half chicken if you want a wedge salad, but I figured I could take half of the chicken home.
Service was fine, although the mix of employees here is a bit odd. A hostess that seemed wholly disinterested and the kind of bartenders you find in LBTS. They play cool jazz; think Boo Boo's birthday and the John Coltrane Sextet. Any hope I had of taking some chicken home ended when the food arrived.
Kaluz Half Chicken and Wedge Salad
A mini-wedge paired with a mini chicken. Fantastic. I was thinking cornish hen. Maybe a bit bigger than that. The chicken was fine; au jus seems silly with a rotisserie chicken, but the salad was a loser. The salad comes with "bacon lardons", which would be fine if they were crisp; these weren't cooked enough, and they were sweet; sweet chewy pork. Yum. The chopped tomatoes weren't ripe and the dressing was watery with chunks of cheese that wasn't quite Blue yet. But worst of all, the lettuce wasn't fresh. Why would a restaurant like this serve such a small "wedge" of old, browning lettuce?
Kaluz limp, brown lettuce
My first impression of Kaluz was exactly right; I'm getting pretty good at being able to tell how good a place will be from a very limited sample. This is an overpriced restaurant run be people who don't know how to cook and who don't care what they serve you. Enjoy the view.
Kaluz is that new restaurant they've been building where the old Roadhouse used to be; or Stan's back in the day if you've been around here longer than I have. Their original application has it as the Kansas Grill and Bar; which is the same name as restaurants the owners run in Argentina. Then it morphed into Kaluz Grill and Bar (no word on what Kaluz means), and it looks like they finally settled on Kaluz Restaurant.
They have a pretty good sized parking lot; of course the entire thing is valet only. I've had a bad feeling about these folks since day 1, and the forced valet is a bad first start. You can park in the public lot just east of the place; all of the servers apparently have to park there because at just before 5 there were swarms of people in black and burnt orange outfits heading towards the restaurant.
It's been pointed out to me that "every other" waterfront restaurant on the intracoastal is also valet only, so it's somehow not valid to complain that this restaurant is valet only. It's a complimentary valet; the only good reason to make a large parking lot valet only is if the owner's son or nephew is the valet. If they cared about their customers and weren't trying to create a job, they'd allocate part of the lot for valet. I don't like other people driving my car; and I know that there are other people who feel the same way. I also don't like to have to take my valuables into the restaurant with me.>
It's certainly a handsome place; better than the old broken down building it's been for years.
Kaluz Fort Lauderdale
My first impression was that it's a lot smaller than I expected. There's a smallish bar in the center, hardly any waiting area and tables along the big window and to the side; the entire northern side of the restaurant is a big, open kitchen enclosed in glass.
Kaluz Bar Area
There's a lot of glass in the place. While open kitchens are cool, the server stations are also in full view (and you're in full view to them also); creating a void of privacy for both diners and the help.
Kaluz Open Kitchen
The view is nice, if you land a table in the back.
Frankly, as a waterfront restaurant the place is a disappointment; I avoided going the past few nights because of the cold weather, but this is an indoor restaurant. There's dockage, but this is nothing like Shooters in that there isn't very much outside space and it's not open air. The glass just makes the waterfront like a pretty picture, rather than having the feel of waterfront dining. Any idea that this place was going to be some waterfront hotspot can be dispensed with; this is just a restaurant with a nice view. There are no TVs and no music inside.
I didn't intend to eat a meal, but I didn't anticipate that there would be no seats at the bar at 5:30 on a Monday. So I figured I'd grab a table and have an appetizer or a salad.
They have a pretty good wine by the glass list, but I still had work to do so no drinking yet for me. The menu is weak; any place with asian calamari, asian chicken lolipops and coconut shrimp as half of the appetizer menu is destined to be compared to Big City Tavern. The obligatory $14 burger and $10 ceasar are joined by a $14 Lobster Bisque. This menu serves as both lunch and dinner; they're not going to steal any business from Blue Moon with these prices at lunch. A wedge salad caught my eye, but it comes with 1/2 chicken for $16. Not exactly what I had in mind.
A server had read the specials; Mahi and Prime Rib; nothing special going on here; I made a particular note that she mentioned the prices; $24 for both. I'm a stickler about that; remember this.
I wasn't going to have an entree, but none of the apps or salads interested me, so I ordered the prime rib. It only took about 5 minutes to come out.
Kaluz Prime Rib
It looked like they'd lopped it off with a machete or something, and bah, a big load of potatoes. Parmesan Mash they call it; they're really smashed potatoes; VERY lumpy. The potatoes were actually pretty good; I would have liked them a lot better if they were whipped or mashed better.
The prime rib was a garbage cut; too lean, tough with a lot of sinew. The only bit of flavor was the very edge; you can tell by looking at it that they didn't brown it properly. And no horseradish sauce. I can usually mask a too dry or too lean prime rib with some creamy horseradish sauce, but there's none of that here.
To top off the experience, when the bill arrived they charged $25 for the prime rib. Anyone who read my rant on this subject knows how I feel about it. I explicitly remember the price; I wouldn't have ordered it if I didn't know the price in advance. The server ended up removing the iced tea instead of adjusting the price; still, $24 for lousy prime rib is no bargain.
They've finally posted a menu and we have it here.
Another rich guy opens a beautiful restaurant with boring, mediocre food in Fort Lauderdale. The more things change, the more they stay the same.