Balans restaurant, which has been an anchor on the west side of Lincoln Road Mall since 1997, five weeks ago opened its' second South Florida location in Mary Brickell Village (there are five London branches as well). The interior is modern and minimalist, with outdoor tables spread upon the VIllage patio. Anglo-Indian proprietor Prady Balan tells Short Order the new Balans menu is "pretty much the same" as the one in South Beach, although the downtown venue dictates that this one cater to the executive lunch crowd -- business lunch specials run weekdays from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Another distinguishing factor for the new Balans is that it hosts a late night lounge scene with DJ and full bill of fare until 5:00 a.m. every Thursday through Saturday. "At 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning, some people want breakfast, others want burgers, some want pasta." Still, the late night menu will get whittled down once they see how the public responds. As Prady puts it, "At the end of the day, the business is very much dictated by the customers."
Apparently customers have dictated that they want deals. Weekdays, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m, brings two-for-one cocktails, half-price beer and wine by the glass, and $2 off all entrees (price range:appetizers around $8, pastas $13 to $17, and most main courses $12 to $23).
A third local Balans will be opening "sometime in June" at Biscayne Boulevard and N.E. 67th Street. The moderately priced comfort food concept will remain the same, but Prady promises a decor that is "going to be completely different to what Brickell or Lincoln Road looks like"
-- Lee Klein