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Archive for the ‘Design District’ Category

BUENA VISTA CAFE

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010


4582 NE 2nd Avenue
305-456-5909

www.buenavistabistro.com

It’s French comfort food served in a 24 seat neighborhood bistro at bohemian prices.  The owner, Claude Postel, is a 7th generation chef and patissier.  The menu and daily specials are listed on a blackboard and  the bistro remains open everyday like true Paris bistros.  Standouts include the market fresh grouper, snapper, and when Claude can find it, the escolar.  Gloria Estefan calls ahead to find out if it’s on the menu that day.  Other favorites include the steak and hand-cut French fries and the tuna tartar for entrees.  Rustic pate (rillette) and crusty baguette, as well as endive and blue cheese salad to start are favorites of the locals. Sundays, a brunch of eggs benedict, French toast or the amazing pastries, all baked next door in the Deli/Bakery, will make you wonder why you haven’t done this before.

Monday: 5 pm – 12 am; Tuesday – Sunday: 11:30 am – 12 am

BUENA VISTA DELI AND BAKERY

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

4590 NE 2nd Avenue
305-576-3945
www.buenavistadeli.com

This unassuming storefront might cause you to drive by, however, don’t make that mistake.  Claude Postel’s exquisite croissant, pain au chocolate, palmiers and other confections such as the meringues will transport the visitor to the streets of Paris.  This shop opens at 7AM for the early morning crowd.  You’ll come for the croissant and return for the sandwiches, quiche and paninis.  Be sure to take note of Claude’s collection of  antique pastry molds.

Open Everyday: 7 am – 9 pm

CRUMB ON PARCHMENT

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

3930 NE 2nd Ave
(305) 572-9444

Crumb on Parchment, a Michele Bernstein bakery and café, located in the atrium of the Melin building on NE 2nd Avenue that houses cutting edge furniture showrooms.  Early mornings, you’ll find interior designers dining on steel-cut oatmeal and homemade granola.  Other favorites are the French toast baguettes piled high with bananas, candied pecans and maple syrup, and the Croque Madame of melting cheese, Serrano ham, fried egg and béchamel.

You will want to return for the soup, salad and sandwich offerings at lunchtime.  Pulled rotisserie chicken with carmelized onions and apples, seared Ahi Tuna accompanied by kimchi aioli and grilled portobello mushroom with onion and kale, round out the “Hot and Messy” category.  Classic home-style sandwiches include a comprehensive list of chicken salad, turkey, homemade roast beef, “BLATs”, (add avocado to the traditional BLT), tuna salad and gooey grilled cheese. Fresh salads include a rustic Greek salad, Caesar, “Green Goddess” chicken, and a Greek style tuna salad.

Pastries and desserts are all lovingly made in- house. In any cookie competition, their chocolate chip takes first place. Mischy’s “Mama B” coconut cake with cream cheese icing will leave you dreaming about your next piece.

Monday – Friday: 8:30 am – 5:00 pm

EGG & DART

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

4029 North Miami Avenue
(786) 431-1022
www.egganddartmiami.com

Brought up in the family restaurant business, with establishments in Coral Gables and Mykonos, co-owners, Costa Grillas and Niko Theodorou, have created a white hued urban environment in which to showcase their rustic Greek cuisine.  The essence of which is simply prepared and perfectly fresh ingredients.  Always on the menu, the grilled fish of the day incorporates nothing more than a drizzle of olive oil, lemon and oregano.  The marinated, grilled octopus, served on a bed of tomatoes, and a half chicken, roasted with lemon and herbs are signature dishes.  Classic dishes that delight, include Spanakopita, homemade spinach pie, and Papoutsaki, baked eggplant, and ground beef topped with a creamy béchamel and sweet tomato sauce.

Mezze, or small plates provide a quick luncheon bite or a sampling to be shared with friends before the main course.  We bestow our stamp of approval on the pikilia, a plate of tzatziki, hummus, and taramosalata, a Greek-style caviar spread made from delicate codfish roe.

An array of sweets to round out the meal should include creamy Greek yogurt with honey, or the crowd pleasing, puffed pastry drizzled with honey and sprinkled with walnuts and cinnamon.

Monday – Thursday: 11:30 am–3:30 pm, 5:00 – 11:00 pm
Friday: 11:30am–3:30pm, 5:00 pm – 12:00 am
Saturday: 5:00 pm – 12:00 am; Sunday: 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm

HARRY’S PIZZERIA

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

3918 N Miami Ave
(786) 275-4963
harryspizzeria.com

Michael Schwartz of Michael’s Genuine in the Design District has recently taken over a defunct pizza parlor and proven, once again, that he knows how to do it better.  The polenta fries are reason enough to frequent this pizzeria. Homemade tomato catsup gives them just the right amount of sweet and spice, and a four-beer flight at lunch is the perfect match. Share an order with friends before continuing to one of the many unusual thin crust pizza combinations.  On one evening, the Florida rock shrimp pizza was a hit as well as a leek and potato pizza with béchamel and mozzarella.  Michael’s mouthwatering rendition of pulled pork, with fig and grilled onions atop a sizzling hot pie, has been a consistent hit at his namesake restaurant ever since he opened, and is a faultless choice here, as well.

Soups at lunch change daily and have deeply satisfying combinations, such as short rib and Poulet Rouge chicken soup with fennel, tomato, orzo and basil.  On another occasion, a white bean and ham soup garnished with crispy shallots and parsley was a hearty meal in itself. Michael invites visiting chefs to prepare pre-fixe dinners based upon a menu of their own design.  Make sure you’re on his email list to be notified of these special nights!


Monday – Thursday: 12:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Friday – Saturday:  12:00 pm – 12:00 am
Sunday: 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm

LA PIZZERIA DI LEMONI

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

4600 NE 2nd Ave
(305) 576-7444

Melodies like  “Just One of Those Things” and “Ain’t Misbehavin,” are playing as you enter this new neighborhood offering from the same proprietors as Limoni, just two doors away.  Both spaces look remarkably similar, but the pizzeria continues it’s nostalgic feel with a collection of rusty utensils from grandma’s kitchen randomly scattered about the walls.

Thirty pizzas in 12” and 16” sizes offer something for everyone.  “Merci,” a white pie of ricotta, goat and Mozzarella cheese with sundried tomatoes and herbs is a crowd pleaser. The crust arrived perfectly crisp and oozing with cheese.  This unassuming spot offers a full compliment of tasty appetizers including an antipasti plate, spicy shrimp scampi and a tomato, eggplant bruschetta, infused with truffle oil.

Baked pastas such as manicotti, beef lasagna and a baked ziti with ricotta are well-executed classics.  Extra toppings, at $1.00-$3.00, permit the fussiest of diners to ad lib and customize a bit on the pizzas, calzones and stromboli.  All the food arrives piping hot.

LEMONI CAFÉ

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

4600 NE 2nd Avenue
305-571-5080
www.mylemonicafe.com

It’s tempting to overlook this tiny bistro in the ever- expanding Buena Vista /Mandolin neighborhood just north of the Design District, but, you just might be missing the best panini in Miami. All the paninis are served on fresh ciabatta. While the cooking isn’t tricky, you can enjoy a frothy smoothy, a 3 bean salad and a pesto, goat cheese and juicy chunks of chicken panini, in this cozy, hole in a wall, sidewalk café.

The two accommodating, female, chef/owners draw from their Argentine and Moroccan heritage. The décor is strictly Bohemian and friendly. There’s free wireless internet and diners are encouraged to slow down, bring a book or check your Facebook page. There’s a daily special on a blackboard and the portions are generous.

Monday – Saturday: 10:30 am – 9:30 pm

MANDOLIN AEGEAN BISTRO

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

4312 2nd Avenue
305-576-6066
www.mandolinmiami.com

An authentic Aegean bistro, this family owned neighborhood restaurant is a great casual find.  Decompress in the garden in the back under a sprawling tree where mezes, either the Turkish or Greek sampler are a great way to begin.  Enjoy generous sized portions of lemony fava bean puree, smoked eggplant, tzatziki, hummus with the sesame-flecked Turkish flatbread served hot from the oven.  The staff is friendly, the prices are reasonable and the classic dishes couldn’t be better. There’s Turkish chorizo, grilled octopus, fried calamari and a great zucchini fritter.  Fresh whole fish simply grilled is offered daily.  Try some of the traditional dishes such as  tasty spanokopita (spinach and feta pie) and kefte (beef and lamb meatballs.)  The seafood, tiny mussels in a classic white wine and garlic sauce deserve a repeat visit.

Just beyond the garden, a new indoor dining room has been added to accommodate the overflow Mandolin’s great popularity creates.

This charming 1940’s blue and white house reminded me of a seaside tavern on the Aegean Coast.   The lantern- laden back garden makes you forget the undistinguished neighborhood.   The friendly service brings you back.

Monday – Saturday: 12 pm – 11 pm

MC KITCHEN

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

4141 NE 2nd Ave #101
(305) 456 – 9948
mckitchenmiami.com

MC Kitchen in the Design District, has the makings of a great Modern Italian restaurant. Dina Marino began cooking in her childhood home where her mother and grandmother manned the kitchen, turning out homemade pastas, sausages and creative pizzas. She honed her culinary skills at the Culinary Institute of America. Marino then worked under the tutelage of Michael Chiarello in his celebrated Tra Vigne in Napa Valley, followed by years as a chef of three of Aspen, Colorado’s top restaurants. Upon her arrival in Miami, Dina and partner, Brandy Coletta, wasted no time giving the interior of what was formerly Fratelli Lyon, a smart new look.  White orchids on crisp tablecloths and butterflies that flutter on a Brazilian wood wall soften the main room.  The ambiance is at once sophisticated and calm; where diners can share an intimate dinner and a conversation, even when all 145 seats are occupied.

Several remarkable antipasti spearhead the menu. I was most captivated by the artichoke heart bruschetta, which is exquisitely posed below a farm poached egg and shaved black truffles, and finished with a creamy Parmigiano fonduta. On a rather quiet evening, it appeared that the artichokes had run low and one heart was portioned among several plates. Nonetheless, the flavors sang out, and the combination was a triumph.  On a lighter note, halibut crudo was perfectly dressed in hearts of palm, baby artichoke shavings and lemon oil. Chili, garlic, basil and orange zest enlivened oven roasted langoustines over polenta. Ten pastas, mostly homemade, are currently on the winter menu. This is an area of the menu where Marino excels. The garganelli Bolognese is a lusty standout of veal, venison, pork and porcini mushrooms. The pumpkin tortellini is flush with Florida rabbit ragu, Tuscan cabbage and house made ricotta.  Signature selections include the lamb sirloin, charred outside locking in the meaty juices, and served with braised lentils, apple butter, and a frisee salad.

Also deserving of your attention and a cause for real indulgence is the Gianduia chocolate mousse crowning a sea salt sugar nest.

Monday – Sunday: 11:00 am – 4:30 pm, 5:30 pm – 11:00 pm

MERCATO

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

4141 NE 2nd Avenue
786-332-3772
Mckitchenmiami.com

Dena Marino of Mc Kitchen has launched a charming, casual breakfast and lunch petite cafe on Second Avenue, adjacent to her fine-dining establishment. This fills a void in the Design District which had few options for high quality, quick takeout or very casual eat in restaurants.  The neighborhood business people are overjoyed. The menus is limited to sandwiches served on croissants or mulitgrain baguettes.  Fillers include roasted turkey, Swiss cheese with fruited mustard a and local arugula($10) or rosemary Cotta ham, provolone, local arugula and mustard seed aioli.($9)

“Pressatas,” (pressed sandwiches) such as the Cubano, with shaved porchetta, Cotto ham, melted Swiss and Brooklyn pickles for the carnivore, or marinated and grilled garden vegetables, raise the bar on grilled sandwiches.  Three salads are on the menu at $9-$11 and ask for the  soup of the day, if you call for takeout.  Cream of cauliflower, sampled recently, was an elegant rendition. All the salads are as fresh as spring after a light rain. Free Wi-Fi are available.

Luscious looking pastries and a Lazzaro coffee should fit the bill for the afternoon tea time.

Monday -Friday: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Saturday: 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

MICHAEL’S GENUINE FOOD & DRINK

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

130 NE 40th Street  Atlas Plaza
305-573-5550
www.michaelsgenuine.com

Chef/owner, Michael Schwartz has created an unpretentious American bistro rated one of the 10 best new restaurants in the United States in 2008 by the  “New York Times,” and it continues to live up to its initial reviews.

The menu is down to earth, classic and often features organic and regional ingredients. Dishes from the wood-burning oven are a highlight and the Berkshire pork and fig pizza is an awesome combination.  For a snack ,the deviled eggs and homemade potato chips with onion dip will satisfy your longing to return to your youth, only, they’re better.  The house-made cherry rosemary soda is a smash.  The restaurant is all about wines at a reasonable price, A light lunch might include the heirloom tomatoes and burrata or one of their reasonably priced salads.

Don’t pass on desserts, the pastry chef,Hedy Goldsmith, has fun with an exquisite list of mouthwatering, playful desserts that include popcorn and peanuts, or a tangerine cream-sickle pot de crème.

Monday – Thursday: 11:30 am – 11 pm; Friday – Saturday: 11:30 am – 12:00 am
Sunday: 11:30 am – 10:00 pm

OAK TAVERN

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

35 Northeast 40th St
(786) 391-1818
Oaktavernmiami.com

Oak Tavern is a comfy rustic new entry in the heart of the Design District.  A brick archway opens onto a pleasant garden with a namesake oak tree springing from the center courtyard.  Taverns of Yore were seldom known for serving creative, or high quality fare. The weary traveler was more focused on the bar and beds. Such is not the case here, at David Bracha’s modern day version, where the food is surprisingly tasty. Bracha’s River Seafood and Oyster Bar has been a staple on Brickell for more than 10 years, and he knows his way with a crustacean.  Oysters and stone crabs head up the list, “Jewels from the Sea,” but the scallop and snapper crudos are equally well presented and pristinely fresh from the sea.

A long list of small plates to satisfy everyone provides a strong supporting cast.  Bistro fare such as deviled eggs, rabbit pâté, and crispy pigs ears with kale compete for your attention. Try a perfect offering of beets with whipped goat cheese, arugula and pistachio vinaigrette, along with an heirloom tomato salad with sheep’s milk feta. Bracha’s has been one of Miami’s earliest chefs to embrace buying his produce from the area farmers. Pizzas are a standout; my pick for the best is duck confit, mushrooms, oozing Fontina, and a bit of truffle, on a crisp and thin crust.

On one visit, the tavern’s wood grill yielded a perfectly grilled Cobia topped with a medley of peas in a light lemon olive oil, and it was a triumph. Whole branzino at $34 is in keeping with their moderate prices.  The charcuterie offerings are crafted in-house, and the restaurant is justly proud of  this area of the menu.  Each is accompanied by marinated olives, mustard pickled fruit and country bread. The emphasis at this gastropub is craft beers, so enjoy one of the twenty microbrews and 10 draft beers on tap. Their Happy Hour should not be missed.

Monday – Thursday: 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm, 6:00 pm – 10:30 pm
Friday – Saturday: 6:00 pm – 12:00 pm
Sunday: 11:00 am – 2:30 pm, 6:00 pm – 10:30 pm

ORANGE CAFE = ART

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

2 NE 40th Street
305-571-4070
www.orangecafemiami.com

All the sandwiches are named after famous artists, such as the roast beef and avocado called the” Renoir.”  You don’t want to miss the daily special which includes a half sandwich, soup, small salad and a cookie for $8.00.   This is a good place for an early morning cup of java and a fresh baked croissant.  There is curbside dining and a small second floor dining room in this two-storied, all glass space  Take out is lightning fast, and free wireless is available to update your facebook page.  A smiling staff that’s enthusiastic about the menu is ready to explain the daily specials.  Heads up, Orange is not open on weekends.

Monday – Friday: 9 am – 5 pm

THE CYPRESS ROOM

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

3620 Northeast 2nd Ave
(305) 520-5197
thecypressroom.com

This compact, recent opening from Michael Schwartz hits every comforting note on your palate by extolling the virtues of local, focusing on fresh, simple ingredients.  Located on a less populated area of Second Avenue in the Design District, the room sports a clubby atmosphere; at once cozy and congenial, while a bit retro.  Matching deer heads line one wall facing a bar on the other.  Toile de jouy wall covering festooned with animals is further embellished with old Florida photos and mismatched china of grandma’s era sits atop starched napery. The decor is offbeat in every sense of the word.   The hostess is warm and accommodating and the service on several occasions was perfect.

Starters are all excellent but don’t miss the delicate slivers of royal red Cape Canaveral shrimp, commingling with coconut milk, lime and puffed rice added for a bit of crackle and a touch of humor. The heirloom beet assortment, smoked, raw and roasted, makes a stunning presentation when sharing the plate with ribiola and pistachios. Marrow bones, frogs legs and classic onion soup round out the retro feel and were equally well prepared.

The Pre-Theatre menu ($49 until 7 pm) is an excellent way to sample Chef de Cuisine, Roel Alcudia’s risotto with lump crab and stinging nettle pesto which was offered on one occasion. The full tasting menu offers five courses at $95 with selected wine pourings at $155. On the a la carte, rack of lamb perfectly crisped at the edges was mouthwatering and every bit a taste sensation. Bean ragout and eggplant caviar served as perfect accompaniments.
A vegetarian dish of wild mushrooms, asparagus and a napoleon of chevre are also included on the menu.

The wine list is extensive with a well balanced list of wines by the glass.  Not to be outdone in the resurgence of house made specialty cocktails, the “Nicknack” with Death’s Door gin, Ardbeg scotch, damson plum, and herbs, or a “Calle Ocho”, a mix of Rum, JM Agricole, hibiscus, lime, tonic ,egg white and coconut water are standouts. The neighborhood is changing for the best thanks to the rapid expansion of the District, but, prices are high here even though the customers don’t seem to mind.

Closed Sunday
Monday – Friday:  12:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Monday – Thursday: 5:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Saturday: 5;30 pm – 12:00 am