Corporate Expansion: Grille 401
The Boca Raton-based Rainmaker Restaurant Group has taken a huge gamble, leasing out the prime corner where Rare and Bova Prime once stood on Las Olas Boulevard. In place of the high-priced steakhouses that made gauche attempts to be fashionable, the group led by Kevin Blair and Jeffrey Anderson has added oversized banquettes and shifted the color palette to welcoming earth tones.
Yet the high prices remain, as do the intense marketing strategies, only in a different form. The company's leadership has a long history in corporate dining ranging form California Pizza Kitchen to Mexican chain Chi-Chi's. They plastered words like 'local' and 'locally sourced' all over Grille 401's website. The strategy is capitalizing on an growing locavore movement, where diners are willing shell out big bucks for proteins and produce raised near where it's prepared and consumed. Grille 401's menu had only one item described as 'local' and it didn't impress.
A lengthy menu has some high and low points. A pulled chicken salad was so bland and uninspired we suspect it's this kind of bowl of greens that make dieting so difficult for many of us. At the same time a cedar plank salmon dish came perfectly cooked, juicy and fresh tasting, covered in a robust whole-grain mustard and butter sauce.
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