Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 9:03 a.m.
The Place: Racks Downtown Eatery and Tavern, Mizner Park, 402 Plaza Real, Boca Raton
The Hours: Happy Hour, everyday, 4-7pm
The Deal: Racks, which opened in late June touts its happy hour as Mizner's best. The special is: half off beers, half off $9 glasses of wine (this is important -- if it ain't $9 you won't get half off, I learned this the hard way) and half-price well drinks. Food wise, you get half-off the 'Starters' and 'First Flavors' -- basically, the small plates. The restaurant is branded as a "Downtown Eatery and Tavern," and the food is basically chef-inspired comfort food that tries to please everyone -- the menu is part American, part Italian and part Asian. We tried the Tuna Tartare (fresh and tasty) but felt the Buffalo Calamari could be refined (it was heavily coated, fried and covered in hot sauce).
The Digs: This is yet another big Mizner Park space; its
stand-out feature is the light fittings that look like circus ropes
hanging from massive rain drops. The rest of the decor is exposed
brickwork, dark wood, red banquets and barmaids in bustiers -- it's
nice, but you've seen it all before. There is an open galley kitchen, a
raw bar and a big open pizza oven, again, there is something for
The Verdict: Whoever designed this bar really wants people to have fun -- so much that they practically forcing fun upon you. Wherever you look there are dictionary definitions of fun: pick up a glass and it will tell you to socialize; look at your drink mat and you'll be told to converse and mingle; look at your dinner mat and there are more rules for life and good times. I get it -- you are meant to have fun; you are meant to sit at the benches at the bar and start up a conversation with the Boca babe that is sitting on the bench beside you. It makes me think that it might be fun to sit in the corner and start crying, just to see how the staff would react. Ultimately, if you're into the Mizner Park bar and restaurant scene then you will be into Racks but if you are looking for something different or stand-out food, then you should look elsewhere.