VODBOX AT NICíS IN
Nicís restaurant in
would be good enough to stand on the merits of the food, service and
atmosphere, but since the addition of ďThe Vodbox,íí business
has really picked up. This has been created by owner/entrepreneur and
sometime chef Larry Nicola, who is the perfect host at a restaurant in the
same location as La Familia, watering hole of none other than Dean Martin.
Modern day celebrities are here all the time, and recent sightings have
included Demi Moore, Lindsay Lohan, Peter Falk, Kevin Costner, Bruce
Willis, Matthew Broderick and Paul Gasol. The ambience is very colorful
with two main dining areas, and the owner likes to think that the
atmosphere conjures up a ďclassic, 1957 El Dorado Cadillac cruising the
Boulevards of Miamiís
There are 30 shelves in
the Vodbox that are all sold to the best vodka producers and consumers.
These companies and individuals are provided with fur coats and hats
before entering the Vodbox (which is kept at a chilly 28 degrees), with
the Vodka expert giving a 15 minute presentation. The costs range from a
low of $21 per person for a series of flights up to bottle service at the
table starting at $250. I had the good fortune of trying the Russian Vodka
called Kauffman, probably the purest ion the world. Made out of grain,
this goodie is distilled up to 14 times, and shots can be as much as $150
each. The Vodkart is an opulent bar on wheels displaying and serving
opulent vodkaís, for those that prefer not to visit the Vodbox. The
vodkaís are chilled on ice, and the selection rotates every two weeks.
Dinner at Nicís can be
quite varied depending on the seasons, but certain staples should be
tried. Start out with the appetizer
of oysters on sautťed spinach
with walnuts and garlic, very popular I am told. Another interesting
choice that I tried is the grilled
octopus with feta, tomato, lemon
and basil. For the main course I selected the crispy lavender infused
duck with pomegranate sauce, accompanied by bok choy and smoked bacon
hash. The two Chefís de cuisine at Nicís are Miguel Ayala and Brendon
Mica, and they seem to be having a good time in the kitchen since business
is good, and the owner gives them pretty much a free hand in the kitchen.
Some of the combinations are really creative such as the pan-seared
monkfish with Indian black lentils and spinach pesto, or grilled
Scottish salmon with a waldorf modern ( figs,
apples, walnuts and yogurt).
A new pastry chef, Zack
Means, has brought a tremendous boost to the dessert menu, highlighted by
the delectable chocolate caramel
tart with mocha chip gelato.
All the desserts at Nicís are top class, and if I was to sum up the
whole experience, then Nicís is one helluva place to go and party or get
down with some serious drinking.
453 N.Canon Drive
and Street Parking