After a Decade, Las Olas' Johnny V Is Still the Boss of the Boulevard
What does sell are the $39 New York strip steaks. On the patio looking onto Las Olas, two men lean into each other as they discuss the fate and fortune of nearby restaurants. They both order the hulking steak -- medium rare -- but complain to an affable server that their chosen glass of Malbec is "far too sweet." The server apologizes and rushes off to grab several glasses filled with small pours for the pair to taste before they select a bottle.
CandaceWest.com Black skillet-seared, center-cut New York Strip Steak: with Irish Cashel blue cheese butter, and a barbecue demi-glace.
Vinczencz relies on that kind of service. Servers are eager to place a napkin on your lap shortly after you sit. Specials are flawlessly committed to memory. And he relies on kitchen staff more than ever to ensure dishes go out as though he cooked them.
When he first opened ten years ago Vinczencz did the bulk of the work himself in a kitchen half the size of the one he runs today. He arrived at the restaurant at 9 a.m. or earlier to begin the day's prep work. He cooked throughout lunch and dinner "with light help," often calling it a day at 11 p.m.
These days, he comes in around noon to tinker with new menu options and decide on the day's specials. Then it's off to scheduling, ordering produce and protein, and sometimes preparing the family meal that staff eats before dinner begins. In the evening, he expedites dishes to the 200-seat dining room.
Although the success of Johnny V is tied to Las Olas Boulevard's and the demands of its diners, Vinczencz seems to walk his own path, with little interest in his neighbors.
"We do what we do," he says. "I quit long ago worrying about what everybody else is doing."
625 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL