Bongos and Tatu at Hard Rock Offer Industry Nights

Calling all bartenders, servers,

bussers, managers, chefs, and cooks! Those "in the biz" are invited to enjoy the ambiance, and most

importantly, discounted food and beverage, at Bongos Cuban Cafe and

Tatu, two heavyweight restaurants at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in


Just a few weeks after launch, the restaurants hope draws the countless service industry employees in Broward and

Miami-Dade who are looking for a place to go on their nights off. As

restaurant event coordinator Halley Fitzsimmons put it, "On our

off days, we like to go out and get catered to after serving others

all week." So cb5 Restaurant Group is extending more generous

industry discounts than the vast majority of restaurants in South Florida. Oh yeah, and they're looking to increase business on their

slower days.

Bongos Cuban Cafe, with its casual Sky Lounge on the rooftop (never a cover charge), host an industry night on Sundays. The offer includes two-for-one drinks

and $100 bottles of Jack Daniels, Don Juilo Blanco, Grey Goose, and

Bacardi. Having opened in December, the restaurant is a beautiful,

classy space with sexy lighting and clean, white furniture. It puts

the Bongos at American Airlines Arena (and its tacky, touristy vibe)

to shame. An item on the menu worth checking out is the

ceviche mixto ($12) with shrimp, calamari, grouper, and octopus. It's prepared with an incredible coconut milk and lime marinade and

served in a young coconut for a spectacular presentation. The sticky

glazed spare ribs ($16) are falling-off-the-bone, slow-cooked baby

back costillitas glazed in guava-pepper. The bistec palomilla ($25)

is a Cuban style seared steak with garlic mojo and grilled onions, served

with a large side of rice. The steak is an enormous cut that can

easily feed two.

Tatu serves up Asian dishes with

Cantonese, Mandarin, Szechwan, Vietnamese, and Thai influences. the joint extends a 50% discount on all sushi rolls and 50% off select

sakes on Monday nights, from 9pm to midnight, to industry personnel. Featuring an extensive

sushi bar, private tatami rooms, and a two-level interior overlooking

Paradise Lake, Tatu can accommodate groups of almost any size with

ease. Their signature rolls include the marilyn monroll ($19) with

shrimp tempura, jumbo lump crab salad, fresh scallops, cucumber,

avocado, and spicy mayo, as well as tropical citrus salmon roll ($14)

with salmon, mango, avocado, tobiko, and lemon slices. A cocktail

worth snatching up from the roving bartender, preparing drinks

table-side, is the strawberry and Thai basil martini ($14), made with

Bombay Sapphire and cranberry juice. The green tea mojito ($12) was

an unfortunately sweet cocktail made with Charbay green tea vodka, basil

simple syrup, and crushed limes. The exotic presentations of both

food and beverage are splashes of color against the dark, trendy

atmosphere with a movie screen over the sushi bar playing Bruce Lee


Why Sundays and Mondays? "Because

those are the nights people in the biz usually have off,"

Fitzsimmons says. In order to claim the discount, anyone working in

the hospitality industry must bring a pay stub or business card as

proof of employment. Halley Fitzsimmons invites those in Miami, Fort

Lauderdale, and anywhere else one might be employed by a restaurant

or bar, to come check them out. No word on whether they're accepting resumes or not.

Bongos Cuban Café at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
5733 Seminole Way, Hollywood

Tatu Restaurant at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
5750 Seminole Way, Hollywood

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John Zur