Dining at Rare makes us forget we’re living in lean times. The new Las Olas meat emporium is all about excess: big portions, big scene, big prices. The owners of the restaurant, which opened Nov. 13, also have big ambitions. The CentraArchy group, which includes New York Prime (Boca Raton, Atlanta) and Gulfstream Cafe (Jupiter), has signed a 10-year lease on the spot previously occupied by Bova Prime.

We’ve gotten so used to reduced prices and deals that it’s startling to dine in a place where the cheapest entree is a $29 chicken (no sides) and the tab can easily top $100 per person. But there are no signs of empty wallets here. On a Friday night, the 125-seat dining room was packed, and a bunch of swells huddled around the illuminated bar with its scantily clad female bartenders. (Lots of eye candy in the crowd, too.) We had to shout over loud recorded music to have a conversation. You might think we’re stodgy, but even the 20-somethings at our table thought it was too noisy. On a slow Sunday night, we enjoyed a quiet meal with softer music and more attentive service.

Ambience: The Rare team didn’t make major changes to the elegant interior with its black-and-white decor, dramatic 10-foot crystal chandelier and 20-foot ceilings. The loft is now a lounge with sleek couches, low tables, a bar and DJ booth. It’s giving nearby YOLO and its music lounge Vibe some competition as a see-and-be-seen destination.

What Worked

  • Delicious puff potatoes
  • A refreshing salad of ruby red beefsteak tomatoes and mozzarella
  • A moist, minimalist lump crab cake with a crisp exterior
  • USDA Prime steaks prepared Pittsburgh-style, with a crisp, charred exterior and red center (8oz-30oz)
  • An expertly seared and buttery tender 12-ounce New York strip with a pink interior bursting with juices
  • Chef Mark Keiser’s lobster Wellington, with big, succulent pieces of Maine lobster and spinach in puff pastry, encircled by a Boursin cream sauce
  • A roasted whole chicken – a 2 1/2-pound bird with wonderfully crisp skin
  • Asparagus in Hollandaise sauce
  • A signature loaded, smashed potato – twice-baked made with sour cream, bacon, butter, chives and American cheese
  • An extensive, expensive international wine list is the size of a book.
  • A gigantic slice of whipped cream-covered carrot cake
  • A cinnamony apple turnover with ice cream and whipped cream

What Didn’t Work

  • An overly charred 18-ounce, bone-in Kansas City strip and a 22-ounce rib-eye


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