Recession Pricing From the "Caribbean Cowboy"

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Chef Johnny Vinczencz earned the nickname "Caribbean Cowboy" for his inspired take on Caribbean, Southwestern, and Florida flavors, and his gastronomic ingenuity has made his flagship restaurant on Las Olas a favorite since it opened five years ago. The creative flavors at Johnny V Las Olas just got a whole lot more affordable with the introduction of a $35 summer dinner special offered every night (but only from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturdays).

The "summer stimulus" starts with an amuse bouche designed by the Caribbean Cowboy himself and includes an appetizer, entrée, and dessert. The menu choices will change regularly but recently featured a crab-potato cake with Cruzan rum sauce to start, pulled basil chicken on wild mushroom risotto as a main course, and peach shortcake with caramel mousse to finish.

Johnny V also has a new happy hour from 5 to 7 every night with a $5 tapas menu featuring hits such as beef tenderloin tips with grilled flour tortillas and potato croquettas with Serrano ham, mahon cheese, and sherry aioli. Beers, select wines, and cocktails are two-for-one.

If you want to start earlier, check out Johnny V's newer comfort-food-themed restaurant at the other end of Las Olas -- Smith & Jones Bar and Grill, where happy hour runs from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. daily with two-for-one drinks. The place regularly packs in the crowds for its live music three nights a week. Bands start playing at 9:30 p.m. Thursday and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. String Theory is slated to play July 18, and most weeks, you can catch Blue Fire Band on Thursdays and Fridays.

-- Jill Barton

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