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
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.
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.
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.