A couple friends invited us to Bootsy's on a whim and we took them up on the offer - they were celebrating, we were commiserating, it was a good combo. I had heard good things but never been, and Sarah went just after it opened and was happy. Unfortunately, this did not turn out to be a particularly good Bootsy's experience.
Then we chose appetizers - calamari, ropa vieja, and shrimp corn dogs. The server said the calamari was that "by which all other calamaris are judged." As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm skeptical of calamari. But, this was very good, tender, not all rubbery, and had a squid ink mayo that was a nice touch. Not the best ever (my number 1 was from a place in Leamington, Ontario of all places), but very good. The ropa vieja was flavorful, but that's pretty much a given once you braise short ribs. It was sitting on top of an arepa, and the overall dish was solid but nothing to write home about. When the server was telling us about the tapas option (a fixed price for several courses) he mentioned corn dogs. I stopped him and asked him to repeat - it sounded out of place. Well, we tried them, and they were sort of out of place - no attempt at interesting presentation, and as we attended to all the other options on our table they seemed to get mushier over time.
Finally, our table's vegetarian ordered rice and beans and the Spanish beer and cheese soup. This is as good a time as any to say that this is not a good menu for vegetarians - very few options. The beans were heavy and lackluster, lacking flavor. The beans and rice were lacking rice. On top of that, people must not order them much because they need hot sauce, or some kind of kick, badly. I only had a quick bite of the soup, so can't really speak to it. I didn't want to take away the few meatless bites that were available.
The Ingredients: Two items on the menu had information that could help one trace provenance - the Kentucky ham and the Amish chicken breast. That's a start, but with entrees this pricey, it'd be nice to know where our food was coming from.
The Story, Setting, & Service: Bootsy's is impressive as you walk in. It's got a lot of flare, just as you'd expect from this P-Funk all star. I guess neither he or Jeff Ruby was messing around on this partnership. There are pieces of memorabilia throughout the joint, and many different kinds of seating options - including the secluded booth with curtains where we were put. Too bad the food didn't sparkle as much as the millions of sequins in the decor.
The service was a bummer. It felt like the server wasn't taking us seriously - maybe because we weren't dressed up nice enough, or looked too young. It wasn't overwhelming, but the air of condescension always rubs us the wrong way. We had to ask a couple times for a couple things. Also, we ordered sushi, tapas, and sides, and everything was surprisingly brought at once. It was overwhelming and there was hardly enough room for us to maneuver, trade plates, etc. A couple things got cold by the time I got to them, and we had to ask for the vegetarian dishes to be brought - at least if they were going to bring everything at one time, it would have been nice if the vegetarian at the table could have joined us. On the plus side, a busboy did escort one of our party to the bathroom in a very courteous way, putting out his arm for her to take.
Overall, nothing to rave about at Bootsy's. Lots of potential, not enough of it realized. We're unlikely to go back at this price point.