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May 10, 2009 08:37 AM

Rack's Italian Bistro

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. 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

        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

          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.

          1. re: Frodnesor

            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

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

          3. where is it so that south florida can avoid it?

            7 Replies
              1. re: smartie

                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

                  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

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

                    1. re: smartie

                      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

                        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

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

              2. 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

                  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. 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).