The music is loud — nightclub loud, a deep and unrelenting thump that shakes the ice in my glass of tequila. Servers teeter past in sky-high stilettos and dresses that are equal parts short, tight and low-cut, making the outfits sartorially precarious for a person whose job it is to deliver cocktails and sushi to low tables. A massive screen showing a basketball game bathes the open main room in ever-changing light. Dos Jefes doesn't open until Thursday, June 2, but the Uptown crowd at a pre-opening party is sharply dressed.
Everything at Dos Jefes — from the decor to the patio to the pounding electronic music — bears little resemblance to the Nick & Sam's Grill that used to occupy this space, which is kind of the point, owner Joe Palladino says. This corner of Cedar Springs and Fairmont no longer houses a casual take on Nick & Sam's Steakhouse. Instead, it's a concept that blends several seemingly unrelated elements: Mexican food, sushi, tapas, an upscale tequila bar and brunch, all of it wrapped in a nightclub package.
"I used to have a very vibrant Saturday and Sunday brunch here," Palladino says. "I'm gonna bring back brunch here, but it's gonna be all Latin." He's hoping the new patio, which is fully climate-controlled and will soon feature a retractable roof, will help brunch take off.
The space is breezy, modern and obviously trendy, with an upstairs area that Palladino calls the 42 Room, named as such because the bar area will only serve Don Julio 1942. Why? Because Palladino likes it, that's why.
"I'm not much of a drinker but if I do drink, I like 42," he says.
If you decided to imbibe from the 42 Room, be prepared to throw down some cash — a pour of 1942 will set you back $25.
As for food, Dos Jefes is really more of a tapas spot during prime drinking hours, with a small menu that Palladino describes as "Latin with a little Asian influence to it." Think guacamole, ceviche and sushi rolls accented with mango and chipotle aioli. Prices are still being worked up on the food menu, but don't expect these rolls to come cheap.
Then again, this is Uptown, and cheap is definitely not the point. At Dos Jefes, it's more about high-end tequila and even higher heels — and image. When Dos Jefes officually opens June 2, we'll see if Uptown buys into that image.
Dos Jefes, 2816 Fairmount St.
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