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Rack's Italian Bistro

SarahOM May 10, 2009 08:37 AM

Has anyone been yet? I went last week and the experience was pretty good for a new restaurant. Lots of servers, pretty full for a Wednesday night. I had the Branzino which was ok, just ok in my opinion. My husbands chicken parm was good, probably better than my meal. So...what has been your experience. I am giving it another try today and see how it goes!!!!

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  1. HabaneroJane RE: SarahOM May 18, 2009 01:37 PM

    Wow, I thought Racks should be renamed Racket for the lack of authentic Italian fare...that said, we didn't have pizza..we ordered Chicken Parm, got Veal instead (oops, said the clueless waitress--chicken, veal, it's all the same), Gnocchi with cheese, which had the consistency of golf balls and some Publix-grade (actually, Publix is better) prosciutto, sour mozzarella and provolone, all served separately on massive wooden planks---on which my husband remarked, 'what are they going to do, build a deck?'. Cheese and salumi served with nothing, no crackers, no bread. Just some syrupy, vile black olives. Bread we had to ask for was three slices of stale, cold something that may have resembled bread in its past life, served with yet another vile dipping sauce of tomato and oil. Chopped salad was doused in somethng that tasted like lemon pledge, clams were barely visible, the size of a small caper, buried underneath masses of breadcrumbs. The one good thing about the clams was the sauce. In between the cheese and salumi folly our waitress asked if we wanted to imbibe in the house specialty--a strawberry mojito. Because strawberry mojitos are exactly what one would have with chicken--excuse me, veal parmesan and rock solid gnocchi. Best of all, waitress made sure to tell us that everything we ate was available in their sub par deli. At that point, we just laughed, paid the bill and left, vowing never , ever to return.

    5 Replies
    1. re: HabaneroJane
      lax2mia RE: HabaneroJane May 18, 2009 06:46 PM

      That's the type of review I like to hear!!! Straight, honest and to the point. Hilarious that one reviewer wouldn't stop raving about the place (at least the pizza) but it sounds like you gave the full menu the go around and came back empty handed. Then again it's probably your own fault for not having gotten the strawberry mojito (I believe it's a specialty in Liguria, or am I thinking Havana?)! What gets me is that this is a prototype for a chain. Great start.

      1. re: lax2mia
        HabaneroJane RE: lax2mia May 19, 2009 07:59 AM

        ha! It was clearly all my fault for not having the strawberry mojito. and seriously, this place made Olive Garden seem like a Michelin-rated restaurant in Tuscany. Good luck to them in chaindom--if they ever get there.

      2. re: HabaneroJane
        Frodnesor RE: HabaneroJane May 18, 2009 08:57 PM

        Should've had the pizza.

        www.foodforthoughtmiami.com

        1. re: Frodnesor
          j
          jessierandall RE: Frodnesor Aug 14, 2010 12:03 PM

          I was really impressed with the food. The pizza had a perfectly blistery crust and great cheese to sauce ratio. The salmon with caponata was delectable. My Mom's brisket burger was wonderfully juicy. The problem was the service. H. O. R. R. E. N. D. O. U. S.

          We were one of two tables and were ignored by our waiter. My Mom is lactose intolerant and asked for no cheese on her burger. Her fries came out with cheese sprinkled atop them. When we told the waiter we needed new fries he promised they'd be out in two minutes. Fries came out cold and fifteen minutes after the original burger was delivered. Waiter let them sit on the counter as he conversed with another employee. Coffee took 19 minutes. We were concerned that our waiter went to Colombia to harvest the beans.

          I loved the food but the wait for lunch was unbearable. I want to go back but am daunted by the idea of a two hour + lunch on a weekday.

        2. re: HabaneroJane
          OysterHo RE: HabaneroJane Aug 15, 2010 06:07 AM

          Sounds fab! LMAO! I wanted to try it, but I'll pass.

        3. s
          smartie RE: SarahOM Aug 15, 2010 08:16 AM

          where is it so that south florida can avoid it?

          7 Replies
          1. re: smartie
            OysterHo RE: smartie Aug 15, 2010 01:17 PM

            Mizner Park

            1. re: smartie
              s
              southocean RE: smartie Aug 15, 2010 02:49 PM

              Racks Italian Bistro, the original poster's restaurant, is in North Miami Beach, in the Intracoastal Mall. There is a Racks Downtown Eatery in Mizner Park, as well as Table 42 Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar in Royal Palm Plaza, in Boca, all owned by the same people.

              Although one would expect the same quality (or lack thereof!) throughout the chain, it would be helpful if folks specified where they ate.

              1. re: southocean
                j
                jessierandall RE: southocean Aug 15, 2010 03:30 PM

                I was referring to the one in North Mi Beach on the water. Sorry about that. I didn't realize there was more than one.

                1. re: jessierandall
                  s
                  smartie RE: jessierandall Aug 15, 2010 04:30 PM

                  even with only one restaurant this board covers South Miami to N Palm Beach so it's a big area.

                  1. re: smartie
                    j
                    jessierandall RE: smartie Aug 15, 2010 04:42 PM

                    All the way to N Palm Beach? It says "Miami - Fort Lauderdale" on the board? Just asking for edification sake. Palm Beach is quite a distance from Ft. Lauderdale.

                    1. re: jessierandall
                      s
                      smartie RE: jessierandall Aug 15, 2010 05:12 PM

                      yes, look at the first post with the sticky padlock - it explains the geography of the board even though they (stupidly) named it Mia to Ft Laud. A few of us have asked them to rename this board - South Florida/Tri-County/Miami-West Palm but they won't which makes it a bit irritating and confusing for those of us who live here and for visitors alike.

                      Edit - I just read it again and the board actually covers Homestead to Jupiter - I am going to guess that's at least 150 miles long and west to Coral Springs so a good 25 miles west.

                      1. re: smartie
                        j
                        jessierandall RE: smartie Aug 15, 2010 07:10 PM

                        Whew! That's a big area. Many thanks for the explanation.

            2. p
              phonecutest RE: SarahOM Dec 3, 2010 05:20 AM

              My husband and I ate at Rack's at Mizner Park last night. The service was fine and the ambiance (for East Boca) was lively but the food was abysmal. We started with deviled eggs. The eggs were rubbery and the filling had no taste at all. I couldn't even taste the paprika they sprinkled on it. I had the pizza which was absolutely tasteless as was the parmesean cheese on the table. My husband had the chicken pot pie. It was salted within an inch of it's life. The drink menu was good but the pours are miniscule. Suffice it to say that we will not be back.

              1 Reply
              1. re: phonecutest
                Mauslein RE: phonecutest Dec 3, 2010 09:14 PM

                Rack's has a weird menu - sushi, and then a whole menu of "American standards" an inordinate amount of which are fried or really fat-laden - onion rings, mac 'n cheese, meat loaf, calamari, ribs, pot pie, trout, classic blue cheese wedge salad, burger, greek salad, filet, pork chop, rigatoni, grilled salmon...

                I've been there twice and would not go back. The drinks are just awfully made - a crying shame as well as a slap in the face ripoff, but the craft beers are good. It's just such a weird combination of concepts.

              2. Frodnesor RE: SarahOM Dec 4, 2010 05:34 AM

                The Racks in Aventura apparently has a very different menu from the Mizner Park one, which looks pretty all over the place. The Aventura one is pretty straight-ahead Italian (or I suppose you could say Italian-American). Though I've not found much else on the menu that gets me excited, their pizzas are actually quite good. Apparently they've also got a pretty good burger that sometimes goes on special for $5 at lunch (I've not tried it but my son loves it).

                1. non sequitur RE: SarahOM Sep 21, 2011 10:27 AM

                  I hate to ressurect a thread, but I really want to endorse Racks NMB location. I think chowfather recommended it outside of this thread also, since the OP.

                  I've been there 2 Tuesdays in the past month, at which time their $14 margherita coal oven pizza is $5 (5pm to close). Not only is it one of the best pizzas I've had in Florida, it is also pretty large (more so even than it appears in the teaser e-mail that got me there).

                  I get there from 5-6pm, at which time the promotion overlaps with happy hour, and get 2 bottles of excellent "Avery White Rascal" beer for $6 (lots of other micro brews and imports I never heard of too). The beer prices make Racks a winner over my previous happy hour go-to: Yard House (where a pint of Franziskaner dunkel runs $4.50 - still a good deal, but not as good as $3 a bottle).

                  My family of 2+2 eats about 1.5 of the pizzas, we keep some slices for school lunches, and both visits we got the chicken wing app (also 1/2 price, $6, during happy hour), which is even better than Anthony's. I'd love to branch out and try some of the other apps (artichoke, calamari), but haven't yet.

                  I've only come on Tuesday, but on Wednesdays they have the same type of promo with the burger (which the menu also lists as $14 regularly - must be a hell of a burger at that price), and on Fridays they have a $20 lobster deal (limited quantity). Both 5pm to close.

                  Anyway, I'd say something negative to keep this review authentic (I feel like a shill), but I have no complaints - I just want this place to stay in business so I have a place to go (even during the promo I've found the place pretty empty, so service is very attentive, but how long will it survive?).

                  So in addition to India House in Plantation (another place I promote at every opportunity), this is a place I'm going to aim to be a first-name-basis regular at.

                  -----
                  India House Restaurant
                  1711 N University Dr, Plantation, FL 33322

                  Yard House
                  320 San Lorenzo Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33146

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: non sequitur
                    The Chowfather RE: non sequitur Sep 22, 2011 06:45 PM

                    Yes I have recommended Racks recently. The last couple of basic "Brooklyn" pizzas I've had there have been great and the $5 deal on Tuesdays is a steal. I've never had their burger but it is $5 on Wednesdays. On Friday they have a Maine lobster deal that is another great deal. $19.99 for a 1.5 lb lobstaa w/ potats and corn. Steal but limited to first 50 lobsters so get there early. They have dockage for boaters

                    1. re: The Chowfather
                      non sequitur RE: The Chowfather Nov 16, 2011 02:36 PM

                      With great regret I must report that the awesome $5 pizza deal on Tuesday's was just discontinued (received the disappointing news from the hostess upon arrival yesterday - a Tuesday). A real loss for me. If we had stayed we would have been the only customers, so things do not bode well for the future at racks.
                      Burger Wednesday's and lobster Fridays are still on, but for me it was all about the pizza.

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