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Tiki Central Forums General Tiki Dallas' "Tiki Bob's" gets RIPPED
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Dallas' "Tiki Bob's" gets RIPPED
kahukini
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 28, 2002
Posts: 555
From: Saint Louis
Posted: 2003-05-13 3:54 pm   Permalink

& deservedly so. The author of this review clearly saw that throwing up a bunch of tiki masks & bamboo alone does NOT make you a tiki bar.

"Tiki Bob's is a piece of faux island culture with the aura of a Polynesian paraphernalia warehouse club equipped with a concrete dance floor, red strobe lights, a DJ, lots of lighted beer signs, awnings composed of bamboo poles and corrugated steel, and large gray plastic commercial garbage cans positioned just off the row of booths in the dining area."

hilarious!

Dallas Observer
April 24, 2003 Thursday
Tiki Tacky
Tiki Bob's is hanging on by a vine

By Mark Stuertz

Authenticity is hard to acquire. The acquisition is especially difficult when the object of desire is a series of lush tropical volcanic bumps and coral atolls pimpling the South Pacific and you're landlocked on a stretch of concrete and bricks near an overpass on the North Texas prairie. But never underestimate the resourcefulness of the Dallas restaurateur.Tiki Bob's is a piece of faux island culture with the aura of a Polynesian paraphernalia warehouse club equipped with a concrete dance floor, red strobe lights, a DJ, lots of lighted beer signs, awnings composed of bamboo poles and corrugated steel, and large gray plastic commercial garbage cans positioned just off the row of booths in the dining area. Individual television screens in wooden cases are positioned at each table. We watched an incessantly recurring rerun of a motorcycle racing accident with one rider tearing the racer off of another bike with his front wheel on some maximum/extreme sports channel; this before our drinks even arrived.

Located in the West End opposite Hooter's (itself a piece of Polynesian culture if Gauguin's paintings are to be believed) in the space formerly occupied by Bar Dallas, Tiki Bob's motto is "grab the nearest vine and swing on into Tiki Bob's."

Bob's is sort of a quasi-revival of Tiki culture, which sunk roots in America in 1936 when the peg-legged Victor Bergeron transformed his Oakland, California-based pub Hinky Dink's into Trader Vic's, a pseudo-Polynesian restaurant serving Tahiti-Chinese cuisine and rum drinks. Wrested from Polynesian mythology (Tiki was either the first man on earth, or the sexual organ of the god Tane, depending on how much rum you've had), Tiki paraphernalia gripped American pop culture when GIs returned from the Pacific theater at the close of World War II. Leis, mai tais, backyard luaus, likenesses of the Tiki god reminiscent of those 80-ton Easter Island heads of stone--even a Bali Hai trailer court--marched across the landscape through the 1950s and '60s before waning and petering out in the '70s.

Trader Vic's, with its drinks such as the scorpion and the zombie, and menu entrants such as crab Rangoon and bongo bongo soup (made with strained baby food spinach), even slipped into Dallas in the Hilton hotel at Mockingbird Lane and Central Expressway before shutting down more than a decade ago. Today there are five or so Trader Vic's restaurants left in the United States out of more than a dozen that were scattered across the nation, although they continue to flourish internationally, especially in the Middle East.

There was a sort of Tiki culture revival in the late 1990s, and maybe the vestige of this is what Tiki Bob's is feeding on, though it's hard to tell exactly. Tiki masks with eyes that blink on and off are parked behind the bar next to fanned rows of Miller Lite, Bud Light and Smirnoff Ice bottles.

It's hard to find any signature rum drinks, though, at least any that we could see. But there is a Tiki Bob's signature sip known as the Tiki ball, a large glass coconut vessel filled with bright red fluid pierced with 10 long yellow straws that rise out of the glass like umbrellas with the canopies stripped off. The ball tasted like very weak, artificially sweetened Kool-Aid, which in fact it was, spiked with Everclear. The pity was that the buzz didn't kick in before the flavor wore down your resolve.

Amazingly, Tiki Bob's has a wine list, too, for those who fear eye injury from an errant yellow straw: chardonnay, merlot and white zinfandel. We ordered the chardonnay, and when it was delivered, our server explained there was only a little bit left in the bottle--the only bottle of wine the place had. It was divided among three plastic tumblers, and it was horrid dreck.

Yet what sort of idiot orders wine in a Tiki bar, especially when you could no doubt have requested Bud Light in one of those Tiki ball vessels with a straw and probably gotten it delivered?

Food was another matter entirely. Or was it? Our server was a fetching blonde in a dinky pink bikini, a grass skirt and flip-flops. A sparkly thingamajig dangled from her navel, nearly down to the elastic upper edge of her bikini bottom. At various times she returned with a roll of bills inserted in her cleavage, a roll of bills peeking out of her bikini bottom and a bill roll in each nook at the same time. Was there a fire pole somewhere off in the corner?

Her grasp of the menu was tenuous, or maybe we were just struck with daffiness from the artificial sweetener. We couldn't get sides with appetizers, she explained, or sides if we ordered appetizers, or entrees if we ordered sides with appetizers--or something like that (entrees come with a choice of one side dish and a pickle spear). A manager must have noticed the dazed looks on our mugs because he stopped by to explain that our server was in effect a beached flounder on the dining room floor since her natural habitat was behind the bar, although curiously she couldn't tell us what went into the Tiki ball. He comped prodigiously.

We sampled three Tiki appetizers: Cheezy fries, volcanic shrimp and spinach dip. The shrimp were never delivered, no doubt an appetizer/side vortex casualty. The "homemade dip straight from Bob's kitchen!" was actually pretty good, smooth and balanced, but the accompanying "home-fried tricolor" chips were greasy. Cheezy fries were by far the best. The hefty heap of thick potato planks was relatively grease-free and glued together with just the right amount of cheese and flecked with a flurry of crunchy bacon bits. But the plastic ramekin of ranch dressing contained enough dip to cover the tips of maybe half a dozen fries.

The odd thing about Tiki Bob's menu is that it doesn't even attempt to breach the pseudo-Polynesian cuisine beachhead. There are no coriander, coconut milk or kiwi fruit treatments anywhere (Trader Vic's was the first non-ethnic restaurant to employ kiwi fruit, which makes it both famous and infamous). But the kitchen does make use of the Tiki roll, a hoagie-like torpedo perhaps blessed by the Tiki god or soaked in Everclear.

The 100 percent Black Angus Tiki burger on a Tiki roll was bone dry, yet it had rich flavor, perhaps on account of the "Tiki spices."

Tiki wraps, a salvageable chicken breast topped with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, onions and ranch dressing was served on a "sun-dried tomato tortilla" that differed little in texture from pounded linoleum. Tiki roasted turkey with provolone cheese consisted of turkey slices that seemed shaved from one of those processed turkey breast loafs. (The menu said this was served on the ubiquitous Tiki roll, yet ours, as best as we could tell, came on a smashed croissant, perhaps a salute to French Polynesia.) The side of black beans (the side dish/appetizer puzzle was partially conquered) was pasty and sour. Grilled portobello sandwich, marinated flats of mushroom grilled and with pesto dressing, showed no signs of pesto and was laced with over-assertive sourness, perhaps from an overbearing marinade.

To conclude this Tiki toot, Tiki Bob's offers just one dessert: a vanilla ice cream, fudge brownie, chocolate syrup and whipped cream concoction called "death by Tiki's." Bob must be irony proof, too.

2020 N. Lamar St., 214-871-2877. Open 5 p.m.-2 a.m., Wednesday-Saturday; dinner 5 p.m.-10 p.m. $

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Rain
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 27, 2002
Posts: 431
From: Providence, RI
Posted: 2003-05-13 4:56 pm   Permalink

that sounds awful! just goes to show you what happens when sports bar owners try to steal someone else's schtick.

 
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kahukini
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 28, 2002
Posts: 555
From: Saint Louis
Posted: 2003-05-13 5:12 pm   Permalink

it's the ultimate in crass "tikisploitation":
Tiki wraps
Tiki roll
Tiki burger
Tiki spices
Tiki ball
... reminds me the retarded muppet on "Crank Yankers" that just says "Hoooray!" It's like Tiki is the only god-damned word they know. Somebody at that place deserved a tiki-punch, and they got one with this review in their local paper.
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Traitor Vic
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 02, 2003
Posts: 428
From: Greenville, SC
Posted: 2003-05-13 6:47 pm   Permalink

Glad to see other people are finding out about this junk! When the Tiki Bob's Cantina opened here in Greenville, SC, I went online searching for info. The chain apparently has no WebSite. Newspapers, however, Do Have Websites and have posted reviews of different TBCs in several different cities. Most of the reviews I've read are even less complimentary than the one you just posted from Dallas. Leads me to believe that most people, or at least most people that work for Newspapers, have enough sense to avoid such nastiness as the Tiki Nut (the Greenville club's "Signature Cocktail" consists of Hawaiian Punch and Grain Alchohol and is served in a Clear Plastic Coconut - BLECH!!!).

[ This Message was edited by: Traitor Vic on 2003-05-13 18:56 ]


 
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TikiMaxton
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 557
From: Portland, OR
Posted: 2003-05-13 9:49 pm   Permalink

Wow, sounds almost as good as Banana Joe's, which I reviewed in another post. To paraphrase my review, "It sucks!". Actually, that was the whole review.

Banana Joe's lasted less than a year. They're closed now, ostensibly due to liquor law violations, but also because the vacuous clones that frequented it inevitably got bored and moved on. This will happen to Tiki Bob's, too. Maybe we should start a pool to see who can guess when, exactly, this place will either close or turn into a sports bar...


 
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Rain
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 27, 2002
Posts: 431
From: Providence, RI
Posted: 2003-05-14 12:06 am   Permalink

this is one place i won't mourn if it does become a sports bar. hell, it sounds like sports bar already.
i feel like we have a good subculture here and i hate when "mainstream" frat people invade subcultures - not only do they ruin the fun, they do it badly.


 
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Formikahini
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 1502
From: Houston, Texotica
Posted: 2003-05-14 09:49 am   Permalink

Quote:
Dallas Observer
April 24, 2003 Thursday
Tiki Tacky
Tiki Bob's is hanging on by a vine
By Mark Stuertz

Tiki wraps...was served on a "sun-dried tomato tortilla" that differed little in texture from pounded linoleum.

(The menu said this was served on the ubiquitous Tiki roll, yet ours, as best as we could tell, came on a smashed croissant, perhaps a salute to French Polynesia.)

To conclude this Tiki toot, Tiki Bob's offers just one dessert:... "death by Tiki's." Bob must be irony proof, too.


I personally am glad of Tiki Bob's existance, because this review had me LOL. I wnat to hang out with this Mark Steurtz guy! Hey, Dallas tiki folk: do y'all know him? He sounded pretty darned knowledgeable for an "outsider"!


 
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tikimug
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 01, 2002
Posts: 752
From: 1217 mi. North of the Mai Kai
Posted: 2003-05-14 10:24 am   Permalink

I Tiki loved the Tiki article it made me Tiki laugh my Tiki socks off. I almost spewed Tiki milk out of my Tiki nose!

I totally agree with you Formakahini, it sounds like Tiki Mark has our interests nailed.

Make mine a TIKI Bud Light


 
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tikibars
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 11, 2002
Posts: 2024
From: Aku Hall, Chicago
Posted: 2003-05-14 2:44 pm   Permalink

...and I thought some of MY Tiki bar reviews were, let's say, less than glowing.

This guy ups the ante on how hard you can slam a Tiki-poseur bar!




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TikiMikey
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 24, 2002
Posts: 179
From: Dallas, TX
Posted: 2003-05-17 12:05 am   Permalink

Well, dammit! I missed that week's edition of the Dallas Observer and the Grand Opening (if there WAS one) of Tiki Bobs! Sounds like I haven't missed much else, though. The place must not have much of an advertising budget, because I haven't seen any print ads or heard anything on the radio. The West End District here is for (as a good friend of mine puts it) "tourists and ne'er-do-wells."

I may go down there & take a quick peek around, although I'm sure it's as hideous as the eloquent reviewer stated. I'll be sure to follow up with a post here. The location it is in has been home to 4-5 establishments in the last 4-5 years, each one *sure* they would make it. I'll bet its not around by Christmas....heck, I'll live on the edge... make that Thanksgiving!

The really sad thing is that some of the folks in this town will go away thinking that Tiki Bob's is true tiki....and that's the saddest thing of all.


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kahukini
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 28, 2002
Posts: 555
From: Saint Louis
Posted: 2003-05-17 01:24 am   Permalink

Well all of us new members of the Mark Stuertz Fan Club have company. I googled him and it turns out he's won a 2003 James Beard Foundation Award: http://www.jamesbeard.org

for this article:
http://www.dallasobserver.com/issues/2002-12-05/feature.html

And the FEMALE member(s) of his Fan Club who have publically announced they would like a date may be interested to know Mr. Stuertz is published in the Erotica compilation THE BEST AMERICAN EROTICA 1997 with a piece entitled "Lunch," which, according to a review "offers an ingenious, pungent variation on voyeurism."

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[ This Message was edited by: kahukini on 2003-05-17 01:27 ]


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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11265
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2003-05-17 1:46 pm   Permalink

A truly sad effect of the BOT, ending up giving Tiki a bad name. Where else could somebody as ignorant as that proprietor have come up with that name? If Bob Bryant knew of the crimes commited under his monniker!
Tiki Bob is a classic in Tiki History and his name should not be soiled by such cheapo exploitation!


 
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RevBambooBen
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 12, 2002
Posts: 7479
From: Huntikington Beach
Posted: 2003-05-17 9:51 pm   Permalink

BIG BRO!!!!! How's Germany???? You missed a wing dinger this Oasis!! Feel sorry for you bro!!! Enjoy the good beer!!

 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11265
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2003-05-18 11:50 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2003-05-17 21:51, RevBambooBen wrote:
BIG BRO!!!!! How's Germany???? You missed a wing dinger this Oasis!! Feel sorry for you bro!!!

Well, I heard I was there, but not so many folks hung out to see me...



>Enjoy the good beer!!

Did too much already, can't close my jeans now, uh oh.
Cologne by the way has an incredible number of good cocktail bars.

This AOL line problem is frustrating, I make it this far only one in ten times....


 
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Unkle John
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 22, 2003
Posts: 1217
From: Middle-of-the-Ocean, TX
Posted: 2004-06-04 9:27 pm   Permalink



 
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