By David Minsky
By Nicole Danna
By Sara Ventiera
By Candace West
By Emily Dabau
By Doug Fairall
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By Laine Doss
The dinner menu was short, with no more than a dozen items, and fairly priced. Most items were $12 or less, and only the night's two specials — a rib-eye steak and black grouper — were more than $20. Cold offerings included mixed seafood ceviche, shrimp and quinoa rolls wrapped in fresh rice paper, and the cheese sampler.
Hot tapas included an array of dressed-up bar food. Among them were veal and pork meatballs, Colombian-coffee-rubbed baby back ribs, and shrimp tacos. Veal and pork meatballs ($12) weren't quite as jumbo as promised. A trio arrived in a small bowl draped with tangy marinara sauce and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan. They were a bit too dense but still juicy and went well with two more slices of toasted foccacia topped with pesto.
More important — these plates are well-designed for grazing in between songs or when the band takes a break.
219 S. Andrews Ave.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Region: Fort Lauderdale
Copacabana Supper Club, 219 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-767-0643. Open Thursday to Saturday 5 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Cheese and fruit platter $14
Veal and pork meatballs $10
Black grouper $22
Assorted petits fours $6
After we got lubed up with a few drinks and took some spins on the dance floor, our entrées arrived during the band's intermission. The black grouper special ($22) included a generous portion of meaty, juicy fish served atop a bed of yellow rice and grilled white and green asparagus. It was well-crisped on one side and topped with a finely diced pico de gallo. It came with one of the shrimp and quinoa rolls, which were woefully light on shrimp, and we were happy we hadn't ordered them as a sole appetizer. Inside, the quinoa, a grain native to Central America and similar in texture to barley, was perfectly cooked and well-seasoned with salt and pepper.
All of that quinoa made us philosophical: Why did we ever trade tuxedos, live music, dinner service, and manners for bottle service, electronic music, and club drugs? In the 1970s, disco took over and eventually led to the modern-day club scene, which now seems to be all about getting blindingly inebriated and hunting down someone to bed. Though it's true — in Copacabana's heyday, celebrity entertainers became famous not just for their performances but also for voracious appetites for women and alcohol.
Whether this Copacabana will become a nightlife mainstay or just a sideshow attraction depends upon whether it can keep people coming back after its novelty fades. On Fridays, the club is offering free salsa lessons from 5 to 8 p.m., and a free paella bar and half-priced drinks are an attempt to bring in the happy-hour crowd. But will the 40s-and-over crowd keep showing up every weekend? There were no college-aged or 20-somethings in sight.
Management must realize this fact, because as it neared midnight, the band disappeared, the middle-aged crowd started heading out, and a DJ set up and started playing techno.