We might give Kobe Bryant a happy ending but this other Kobe, the Kobe Club Miami is getting nothing from us.Â The new Kobe Club Miami restaurant is located at 404 Washington Avenue and harps on the current trend where New York City takes over South Beach. Yes, both cities are inhabited by extreme wealth, social hierarchy and everything fabulous but the similarities sort of end there. We like a touch of Manhattan in Miami Beach periodicly but a full fledge, replicated restaurant is a faux pas.
Restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow and his partner Charlie Walk tried to bring their premiere New York, Kobe Club steakhouse to South Beach, the key word here is tried. We get that the NYC dig is fabulous, we've been there and we know that Chodorow is the success behind other Miami hotspots, like Blue Door, China Grill and Tuscan Steak. Since the the initial media buzz wore off the restaurant is desserted, so what went so wrong? For starters Kobe Club Miami is just a smaller, less cool version of the original Kobe Club New York. When you can just jet to New York for the real deal, no sane person is going to settle for less. There is nothing intimate about the "intimate" 52 seat space designed by Chris Kofitas, nor anything remotely avante garde or Miami-ish. It's almost as if the original Kobe Club New York defecated something sallow on the Miami Beach sidewalk, so gross.Â Â
Walking into 2,000 swinging Samurai swords wasn't exactly a heart-warming welcome and a few secluded booths with heavy leather curtains didn't exactly put us in the mood.Â Overall the room was freakishly dark, heavy and drab; we know the dark brooding thing gets New Yorkers off but this is Miami Beach. The service at Kobe Club Miami was horrendous and although it's hard to shock us these days in SoBe, the fact that the help didn't speak English or Spanish left us speechless. The menu created by Corporate Chef Luke Rinaman, New York Regional Chef Scott Ubert of China Grill Management and Executive Chef Russell Titland of Kobe Club New York was just a replica of the New York Restaurant. Dishes like Kobe beef tartareÂ ($34) and 10 oz. Japanese Wagyu rib-eye ($240) where decent but we've all been there and done that. There was nothing exceptional we would ever go back to Kobe Club Miami for, especially when NoBu @ the Shoreclub Hotel kills it. Nobu made the City to City move gracefully, bringing a rich atmosphere, high quality service and food we now live for (including awesome Kobe Beef). The place got more popular in Miami Beach and to this day is celeb packed (Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z, Maroon 5, Anna Kournikova, Renee Zellweger, and on) and scene-y. Just proof that the high-end chain thing does work if it's done by the right people.
On a daily basis Miami socialites are spoiled by beauty, impeccable service and refreshing cuisine, Kobe Club Miami missed every mark. It's a bit condescending that no part of the restaurant was customized to fit our layed back, Miami Beach lifestyle. Here's some advice, when something looks haggard in Miami we do reconstructive cosmetic surgery. Try a face lift and augmentation Kobe Club.