Voodka

Last Activity: Oct 22nd, 2014

voodka

Location

817 E Las Olas Blvd
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
954-900-3664
What's Nearby

Critic's Rating

Rating3.3
Service
Ambiance
Last Review: 12/14/12

Information

Hours11:30am-10pm
Dress CodeNeat Casual ParkingStreet Metered
CCYes AlcoholFull Bar
OutdoorYes ReservationsProbably
DeliveryProbably Not

Critic's Review

U-Haul out front today; truck full of boxes and furniture. It looks like the End has come for Voodka.

Voodka Las Olas Packing Up

Voodka Las Olas Packing Up

Review 12/14/12

I'm always baffled by business people who spend 6 months meticulously planning every detail of opening a new restaurant; but that planning doesn't include a website, facebook page or any interaction with media. It's one of the reasons that so many restaurants don't make it; theres a failure to understand that a restaurant is part of a neighborhood, and establishing a relationship with the people of the neighborhood is the key to success. In a tourist town or a big city, you can get away with being arrogant and aloof. But it makes little sense; your core of local regulars establishes the basis for long term success.

So Voodka opened last week without a peep to the public; call it a soft opening or whatever; they're charging full price so they're open. They've transformed a dreary storefront into a vibrant space; the place leans towards elegant. In less than a year, we now have 2 places jump-->where you can eat dinner while sitting on a couch; the couches here being a lot nicer than the ones at American Social.

voodka_room.jpg

There's a partition that establishes a bar area; there are some tables with aluminum stools and some good flat screen TVs. With the NBA playing throughout the restaurant; it adds a strange quirk to the ambiance; most of the diners here were Europeans who seemed to have little interest in American Sports.
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voodka_bar.jpg

One thing for sure; it plays out a lot better in person than the creepy artists renderings they put out a few months ago.

The bartenders are Russian; the place has sort of an Aventura-like feel. I asked to see a beer list hoping that they might have something European; the bartender starting racking off the usual suspects; Bud light, etc. I asked if they had anything different; Dos Equis she said. Ok, I'll have an Amstel. The tab: $7.49. Why am I paying $7.50 for a beer, I thought; for the right to stand in this space or something?

I paged through the menu and I have to say I'm disappointed. Any hopes of having Chicken Tabaka, blini or pelmeni were thwarted on the first page; this menu is no more European than YOLO's. They do have Caviar, but that's about the only thing that separates this menu from any other. "Scottish" salmon didn't fool me; and steak tartare with Serrano Chilies is more from Mexico than Spain. The $14 cheeseburger makes a re-appearance, with the same bogus "prime" beef label used by other restaurants who think that their customers are stupid (If it's not USDA Prime then the label is meaningless). Unique is the Gladiator Burger; a "steakburger" topped with Foie Gras for $26; it's illegal in California but not here in Florida. Burgers are served with the very European yet ubiquitous "French" Fries. Or you can get a Reuben Sandwich, or a can of sardines with bread for $13.

Something that irritates me is when people say that a restaurant is priced "similarly to other restaurants in the area"; the problem with this thinking is the idea that because Big City Tavern is wildly overpriced that it's somehow OK for every other place to be equally overpriced without having to establish that they're any good.

It's a nice space for a little change of pace, but I can't get excited about anything here. Foie Gras doesn't float my boat.

Showing 52 Comments

Comment Policy Add Comment
SteveReply
The former Voodka owners never learn I guess, they are opening a new restaurant in the Voodka space called Grill Republic. As they did with Voodka, they are rushing to open without any training or organization. They basically replaced some of the furniture, put up a new sign and "we're open for business". Wonder how long this one will last?
AdministratorReply
It's possible that they're just trying to establish a more mainstream business to sell. As it is, Voodka was worth the liquor license; the business had no value. Grill Republic (Steak, Seafood and Burgers) is easier to sell than a non-functioning business with creepy furniture.
AdministratorReply
They've updated their menu, simplifying it a bit. There's no more lunch menu, and they're just too expensive for lunch. They've dumped the Foie Gras burger, but Russian Caviar is still the only European dish. $21 for a lunch skirt steak salad. I can't see going there and trying a $14 burger or $18 salad. You can get a chicken salad sandwich at happy hour for $6.
JerryBReply
From the reviews I've read, this place is exactly the same as when it opened. A chaotic kitchen, poor service and a bad attitude.
The better criticReply
You are a food critic? I have been in the beef industry for over 20 years, and for someone to make an uneducated comment about prime ground beef is insulting.


AdministratorReply
I got a chuckle out from their menu. They have a "Prime Choice" Skirt Steak. How does that work Mr Meathead?
if it does not say USDA PRIME - it is not prime meat. the author is correct. you in the beef industry for 20 years - publix maybe???
AdministratorReply
Prime without the USDA designation has no meaning; you can call anything "prime". If you're involved with beef you surely know this. Unless you hire a federal grader to grade your ground beef product it's not USDA prime no matter what you make it with.

Additionally, since grading pertains to marbling, it's virtually meaningless when applied to ground beef. The entire point of grinding beef is to tenderize it and to integrate the fat, so that tough cuts of beef can be made to taste better. Using prime beef to make burgers is just stupid; ground beef is generally made from cuts that don't get a prime grading, such as round or chuck. So the idea that a bottom round from a prime carcass is prime beef is what I'd call "insulting".
Voodka...

We went on New Year's eve excited about the new place on Las Olas.
Everything's was very hectic, seems like the place needs a good manager on site.
Service was very slow, we've waited for 15 min for someone to come .
He brought us a wrong drink, the bill had 3 items that we didn't order.

You'd think that New Year's eve is a perfect chance for them to prove that place is great,
and attract the new customers.
Las Olas certainly doesn't need another so-so place.

What can we say: we miss the "Seldom seen" store that was there before....

Happy New Year :)
New place 5 month ago? wake up :)) NY Eve going out is for amateurs. People who want service and great time stay home on Holidays
Paul lemay Reply
It's your own fault, when I walked up to voodka, I looked at at the decor and LOL in my head(furniture store) I felt the thumbs up their arse service and the duplicate menu with big city, yolo and grill 401 BORING! I'm so proud of myself I sniffed out the failure in the air and passes and I'm glad I did they are getting crucified in user reviews.
Rob bReply
Tundra sucks, voodka makes tundra look like a 5 star restaurant.
RossiReply
Yeah..Tundra has been going out of business since they opened....but still there kicking butt...
AdministratorReply
Kicking butt isn't really the right term. Bleeding cash is more like it.
carlReply
What a horrible experience. And yes, as the author stated it feels more like Aventura. big ego's, terrible service, average food and high prices = gone in 10 months.

My wife and I will not be back!
AdministratorReply
I think that all of these predictions that they'll be closing are unwarranted for a place that's been open 2 weeks. Good businesses make adjustments. It's not like there are any other good restaurants on Las Olas. Lots of bad, overpriced restaurants have survived. How is St Tropez still open? I guess enough people like it for some reason.
LenineReply
you can not please everyone! but good or bad the principal is to be the topic of conversation! and honestly I think until now customers were lovely and very understandable patiently encourage and this is fantastic of course what critic online are often those who do not come to eat or not included on the mind but must still have some spirit!
AdministratorReply
Berlitz. Google it.
another las olas localReply
My husband and I went in for dinner. The staff was very confused and inexperienced. We sat at the bar which was very comfortable and my Watermelon Mojito was awesome, although a bit on the sweet side. I love the ambiance so would love to go in over and over, but the menu is so limited, I could barely find anything to order. I hope the owners will change the menu. I'm sure the staff and the kitchen will catch up.
Local to Las OlasReply
i think the first paragraph of this review really sums it up. how can you open a business (especially a restaurant) without establishing a web and media presence? when people search for your restaurant in Google, they find this review ranked in the #1 spot of search results as opposed to say maybe, voodka.com? lol it amazes me how many businesses fail in regards to web presence and media coverage. yikes
AdministratorReply
I never order anything with "truffles"; it's as big a restaurant scam as Kobe burgers. I concur with all except the DJ. DJs should be banned generally. The only DJ I've ever heard play good music is the guy at the Boardy Barn.
DowntownFTLReply
I don't get the DJ fad.
MikeReply
Is there anything uniquely related to vodka about this place? And these don't exactly sound like Russian dishes. $25 for a cheeseburger and an Amstel? FAIL.
AdministratorReply
There might be. But there's no info on the place, and the bartender was clueless. Frankly, if the owner didn't tell me that it was supposed to be European cuisine I never would have guessed.
KerryGReply
We went in for a drink, looked at the menu and went to Johnny V. If I'm going to pay those prices I want to be sure I'm getting something that's worth it.
HEATfanReply
OVERPRICED!!! SERVICE IS NONEXISTENT ... I went there last night, paid $15 for shrimp appetizer and they only brought me 3 shrimp, my friend cancelled his soup when they brought him 4teaspoons worth of soup literally. I ordered a burger that should've been 1/3 it's price and they didn't even have BBQ sauce! I'm sorry but if you have the audacity to charge $15 for a burger u damn well better have condiments. Looking forward to when it fails and becomes a different restaurant.
AdministratorReply
3 colossal shrimp for $15 is about par for the course. The question is where they colossal? A lot of places give you U-12 (Jumbo) figuring that customers are too stupid to know better.
HollyReply
Voodka has been open 4-5 days now... any word on what the menu is like?
AdministratorReply
I checked it out last night; seems like any other restaurant's menu.
nblpReply
Wow why such un referenced negativity? I\'m thinkingin LA's Bottega Louie meets the Standard grill (bright and airy) meets ACE hotel (affordable and attaintable loungy-the tufted kesington sofas). If you don\'t know these places than you are wrong about this looking old its whats happening... Hotel/Grand European/Frenchy feel with open kitchen everyone is doing it -The Dutch in Miami, Aria in NYC, I could go on and on Rendovous in NYC. My hope is they focus on the the quality eclectic menu healthy and fresh.
give it a chance people.
I'd be completely shocked if this place is sucessful in the short or long run.
Sand nigrow Reply
Looks like a furniture store.
LouieReply
It might have a chance if they have rooms in the back with mattresses.
AdministratorReply
Everything gets a "chance", but before you open a restaurant you do a business analysis. This isn't Miami or NYC where you have a million foreigners to draw on. The reality is that every new-fangled "idea" place that's opened on Las Olas has failed. Like the guy who opened the cigar store next to the Cheesecake factory. It doesn't seem like an outlandish idea; except that there aren't that many cigar smokers in Fort Lauderdale. In the same way, there aren't many eclectic palates in this town, and FTL isn't a place that travelers go for the food. So finding customers may be challenging.
JusbinWonderinReply
Will there be music/entertainment?
challengerjetdriverReply
I think that the idea of a Vodka Bar is outstanding, I am certain that the knowledge of the finding the right price point is critical for success. About the look computer renderings are only showing the inside, with the size of the terrace that is going to make it a success I believe. I encourage business development on Las Olas, now if only they could make it a pedestrian street... Good Luck to you guy...
Life Long ResReply
Look how Tundra is working out with that price point...Not saying it has to be on par with am social and royal pig, but clearly that is where the demand is. Tone it down, and people will come.
AdministratorReply
We don't really know the price point yet.
CarolineReply
Very beautiful, Upscale place. Can't wait for the opening. Something different. I have been waiting for a place like that for years. Way to go ...Good luck with business

Dress code a must (I hope)
CarolineReply
@ Keith It's a matter of choice! We are all adults and capable of making our own decisions. I happen to love fancy place , if I go there I don't think I'm throwing my money away. I call it please myself for the moment ,life is too short enjoy it while you can. You never know Keith you may change your mind... Just give it a try once open :-)
AdministratorReply
I think he means the owner throwing away his money, not the customers.
KeithReply
You shouldn't encourage people to throw away their money.
I have to agree, it looks like a place for old people. I wish them luck. I'll certainly try it.
guestReply
Can't wait, finally something different then your typical wanna be upscale trendy bar with over priced sliders. I like the concept of a vodka bar. Cool lounge music and low lighting = win.
CraigReply
Closed by May.
lenineReply
I'm sure you are very big businessman! when i hear your pessimism
or maybe you know Madame Irma who reads the Crystal ball and believes all know
AdministratorReply
You don't need to have a crystal ball to predict if a restaurant concept has a chance. Part of the reason that so many new businesses fail quickly is that people that open them don't understand the relationship between the "idea" and the audience. You can open a niche restaurant in a big city with millions of people to draw on; you can't do it in a small town where *most* people prefer Rocco's Tacos to a fancy restaurant. Also, if you open a specialty restaurant that isn't going to get a lot of organic traffic, you have to have a plan to market it to the people who will be your customers.
spoon64Reply
I think its beautiful....very very nice. So we might have to get dressed up and leave our flip flops at home... And I think breakfast would be an great idea. This would be a great Sunday Breakfast place
AdministratorReply
That may be true, to some. But you have to fill a restaurant 7 days a week. The fewer people that it appeals to, the more difficult it is to be successful.
Carla RiosReply
I don't think I could eat in a place like this. This looks like a place I'd take my grandma for her 85th birthday.
TerriReply
Who is the target customer here, retired Russian diplomats?
bobby noseReply
this is a joke right?