If you haven't been to Timpano in a while; you'll barely recognize it. Unfortunately, the changes are largely negative.
Two years ago, Timpano's owners, E-Brands, were in bankruptcy. For a period of time, nobody knew if the place would survive. The Samba Room, also owned by E-Brands, had closed. Things were so bad that they stopped ordering matches.
When Tavistock Group purchased the Timpano brand, there was great hope. The deep pockets ownership group owned the ritzy Zed451 in Mizner Plaza. They took the space next door, and there was much speculation about transforming the dark, dated bar area into a local hot spot. But when they were done, the bar remained exactly the same.
The only change they made that was visible to regular diners was that they expanded the lounge a few feet, which moved the live music a little further from the bar. The lounge is decorated with cheap fixtures and the kind of paintings you might find at Target. They also moved all of the upholstered chairs out of the bar area, so the bar area is all regular tables and chairs now.
The only thing that wasn't wrong with Timpano was the menu. So the first thing the new owners did was change the menu. There was great confusion at first; they introduced a lounge menu with many items similar to the dinner menu, but at different prices. The servers didn't even know what was going on; they just gave customers the dinner menu.
After that, they revamped the menus altogether, removing most of the great signature dishes that made eating at Timpano worthwhile. Aside from the mussels, every one of my favorites has been removed. The Tuna Carpaccio, Spinach Formaggio, the bone-in filet and the fantastic Short Rib, all gone from the menu.
The menu transformation is equivalent to someone taking over McDonald's and replacing the Big Mac with a double angus burger. Just a flippin' shame.
So far, every new dish I've tried has been disappointing at best, and certainly not as good as the items it replaced. Appetizers are a disaster; the meatballs were insulting; 3 small bland-tasting balls; the tuscan egg weird at best, and the deconstructed bruschetta just a bad idea in general.
The vegetarian Wild Mushroom Pasta now has veal in it; veggies are stuck with Eggplant Rollatini or Spaghetti and sauce
So my only option at Timpano now are the sizzling mussels; still a veritable offering for $12.
Other changes are that Chef John Davis is gone; his replacement, Curtis Hawk, has also left to run the kitchen at Zed451 in Chicago. A sous chef has been promoted.
Service at Timpano's seems lackadaisical, they could use some fresh blood with more positive attitudes. Regulars get good service, but I've had more than 1 person tell me that they feel ignored at the bar here. At closing time approaches, they seem much more interested in going home than serving customers; which explains the emptiness after 9 during the week.
Timpano continues to have to have no real "scene"; the lounge/bar area here is an eat and run proposition. Jimmy Cavallo no longer plays on weekends, and the last time I was in they had the same band that plays Tuesday to Thursday. The place is pretty crowded until 10pm, but late night it's usually dead. Even during happy hour, the mingle factor is very low here. It's just not the place you go to meet anyone.
Sadly, Timpano is what it is. And it's not anywhere near as good as it used to be.
Timpano Happy Hour now with 1/2 Price Apps (09/30/2012)
Timpano is being Ruined by Tavistock (07/15/2012)
Timpano Expanding (05/06/2012)
Tavistock Buys Timpano (03/01/2011)
Timpano Happy Hour Misses the Mark , (10/25/2010)