The Rebel House in Boca Raton Is Open: Patience Pays Off
|All photos, Tricia Woolfenden|
|No bread basket on the table. But don't worry -- you can still get plenty of carbs.|
The pair observed that although they would've liked (in theory) to have been up and running earlier in the year, they weren't going to open the doors until they were absolutely certain the space, staff, and menu were ready for public consumption. It's a pragmatic and safe approach to operating a business in a climate in which restaurants come and go like city buses, but at the same time, I thought; Gah; Just open already. If the opening weekend's performance was an accurate indication, Saperstein, David, and crew made the right decision.
In an age of Yelp, Foursquare, and countless internet critics, a weak "soft" opening can dog an otherwise decent restaurant long after the initial kinks have been ironed out. A bad first impression is difficult to shake (though, not impossible; see Tap 42, winner of the 2012 Best New Broward County Restaurant for reference). This is why newspapers typically wait six weeks or so after a restaurant opens to come out with a full-fledged review.
By taking a methodical (some might say slow) approach, the folks behind the Rebel House were able to provide diners with an opening-weekend experience that didn't play out like amateur hour. On Sunday night, service was breezy and accommodating, with nary a look of uncertainty from the servers or a misstep from the kitchen, and it only seems fair to point this out, even if the restaurant is quite early in its career.
|Edna; I don't think we're in Boca anymore.|
The meal felt more like hanging out on the periphery of a cool dinner party thrown at an artsy friend's loft rather than "dinner out on the town." The warehouse art gallery atmosphere comes via exposed wooden ceiling beams, an open floor plan, and cheeky, one-of-a-kind art covering nearly every surface. If this sounds like a hipster magnet, that's because it will be. Between the refurbished/reclaimed chairs and edgy tabletops and a menu sprinkled with pork belly and craft cocktails, there's much to attract a young, on-trend crowd. The food, however, speaks for itself. The work coming out of the kitchen should appeal to a cross section of ages and styles, uniting those with varying interest levels in ironic facial hair in one common bond.