Mickey’s Downtown Bistro starts with family. Chef-owner Mickey Josephs works in the kitchen with his brother, while his wife works front-of-house. Four other employees, he says, worked at his previous establishment in Connecticut and moved down to join the new venture. “We treat them like family,” he says. “Everybody works in harmony; it’s not a corporate environment.”
That new venture, which opened not quite a year ago, is something new to Fort Lauderdale – a dueling pianos bar with a high-end sit-down food menu.
“We’re marrying them in the same space,” Josephs says. “It attracts people from all over. The level of fun is unreal. People have the time of their life, participating, singing, dancing. It’s a very unique form of entertainment.”
Josephs understands that when people hear “dueling pianos bar,” they don’t necessarily think “high-end menu.” Probably more like bar food. Snacks.
But that’s not what he’s serving up. His menu includes a NY strip, salmon, mezze and antipasto plates and in general, more the sort of experience you’d expect from a quality night out at a restaurant.
“You can have an awesome meal (and) an awesome time at the same time,” he says. It’s a full sit-down dinner experience, not just finger foods. ”We find it sometimes confounds expectations on both sides. If people who enjoy high-energy piano bars don’t expect the menu, people who hear “piano bar with quality menu” don’t necessarily expect the high-energy piano side of things. Josephs says that typically if you go to a nice single piano bar, the music’s there in the background. Maybe there’s a singer. But that’s not the Mickey’s vibe.
“In here it’s like a high energy craziness going on, but you can have a filet mignon, or a rack of lamb,” he says.
So far, the formula’s working. Weekend shows sell out. There are now shows Wednesday through Sunday; on Friday and Saturday, there are two shows, a 6 to 8pm and a 9 to 11:30. He finds lots of early show attendees that want to stay. He hates to tell people they have to leave, but they need to turn those tables. So they try to keep the party going in the bar.
“It’s more than just dinner,” he says. “Myself, I dine out a lot when I have time. Two-and-a-half hours, three hours, and you just get up and go. Here they have dinner and let the fun begin. They stay around for four or five hours.”
The pianists come from a New York-based group called Flying Ivories; the artists themselves are a diverse bunch.
“We get players from all across the entire country,” Josephs says. “Each player has his own personality. You don’t want people getting tired of it.”
The Dish: Chocolate Souffle
Ingredients: (yield 8 servings)
- 6 whole eggs
- 7oz unsalted butter
- 6 oz granulated sugar
- 10 oz dark chocolate chips/blocks (If using blocks crush into small pieces)
- 41⁄2 oz all-purpose flour
Pre-heat oven to 375. Over medium heat, melt butter in saucepan; when melted, turn off flame. Add chopped chocolate and whisk until completely melted. Combine sugar and whole eggs in mixer. Mix until it increases in volume 4 x – should be very creamy. Add sugar and egg mixture to chocolate. Fold and mix well. Sift 41⁄2 oz of flour while folding into chocolate mix. Pour into pregreased 6oz ramekin. Bake for 8 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve immediately and enjoy a little taste of heaven.