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Posts Tagged ‘Valet’

BOCCE BAR

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

3250 Northeast 1st Ave #107
(786) 245-6211
bocce-bar.com

Bocce Bar occupies the location vacated by Sustain, and just a few steps down from Sugarcane on NE 1st Avenue in Midtown.  This is convenient for Executive Chef, Timon Balloo who has been at the helm of the kitchen at Sugarcane Raw Bar and Grill for four years.  Balloo also now presides over this newest Italian addition to the Sushi Samba empire. As the name implies, diners are indeed invited to play out front on Miami’s first bocce court while enjoying dinner al fresco.

Inside, a hostess graciously welcomes those preferring to dine in the main dining room, and leads the way into a large space adjacent to a high energy bar and directly in front of an open kitchen equipped with a brick oven.

A rustic atmosphere prevails, where rickety vintage wooden chairs, tables and worn tiles underfoot, complement mismatched mirrors on the walls.  The staff is very friendly and sometimes, a bit too helpful. The current epidemic of small plates continues here.  Semolina dusted crispy artichokes with mustard seed aoli is a palate pleaser; as was a rich polenta further enhanced by a poached egg and served aside brocolini to balance the richness.

The fromaggi section of the menu offers three cheeses for $22 and includes a ricotta di bufala with English peas, mint and truffles, taleggio accompanied by walnuts, and parmigiano Reggiano with honey and grapes. While Salumi  arrives with a radicchio marmalade and giardiniera, a relish of pickled vegetables. In the pasta category, two homemade pastas appear, pappardelle with mushroom ragu and spaghetti with Key West shrimp, shaved baby artichokes and bottarga.  Handcrafted pasta makes all the difference, but orecchiette with duck and butternut squash, likewise is a good option.

Moving on to the main dishes, the Brasato de Manzo, or slow braised short ribs lacked the intense complex flavors and the melting texture one expects.  Try instead, the lamb shank honey roasted, potato and citrus grilled leeks, or the Murray farm chicken, brick oven roasted with olives, cherry tomatoes and a pan jus you could devour with a giant spoon  This is the real star of the Secondi, bursting with deep flavor and a truly complex character.

One dessert is a must here.  Honey crisp cannelloni served with warm stewed strawberries and 25 year-old balsamic and gelato is a champion recipe not to be missed.  Bocce makes it’s own Limoncello and Amaretto in house, and has a large selection of specialty drinks, many take off from the classic Negroni with Campari as the point of departure.

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

JOEY’S ITALIAN CAFÉ

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

2506 NW 2nd Avenue
305-438-0488
joeyswynwood.com

Hip eatery in the heart of the Wynnwood Art district (adjacent to the Design district.) with an open kitchen serving Italian specialties from the Veneto region. Chef Ivo Mazzone, churns out thin crusted pizzas and foccacia in his gigantic oven and crafts home-made pastas in the early morning hours to bring to you that day. You’ll find a side patio lined with trees and dressed with lights in the evening.  Local artists and gallerists frequent this noisy spot.  Many items are offered in half portions to accommodate a modest budget. Farmhouse fare includes oven-roasted Cornish hen, beef stew with polenta and cod with eggplant and tomatoes.

Monday – Friday: 11:30 am – 3:30 pm
Monday – Thursday: 6 pm – 10 pm
Friday – Saturday 6:00 pm – 11:30 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

MERCADITO

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

3252 NE 1st Avenue
786-369-0430
mercaditorestaurants.com

Southern Mexican style tapas in a handsome new space, continues to enliven the Midtown area.  A good place to start is the guacamole, either traditional or one of 4  alternative, inventive ways.  Jicama and mango or apple and tomatillo with almond and habanero add brightness and fire to this old standard.

There are 11 different tacos to choose from and three perfect ceviches to cleanse and cool the palate.  Save room for the main course,” platos fuertes,” where a chile relleno is stuffed with scallops and shrimp and drizzled with roasted tomato-arbol salsa. Don’t pass up the adobe marinated, organic chicken as too simple, it’s terrific-flavorful and moist. A nice lead-in to the mains are the “botanas,” or hot snacks of quesadillas, tostadas or flautas accompanied by tasty homemade corn  tortillas or lettuce wraps.  The service is friendly and able, so don’t be afraid to ask about the menu.

Monday – Wednesday and Sunday: 11:30 am – 12:00 am
Thursday: 11:30 am -  1:00 am

Friday and Saturday: 11:30 am – 2 :00 am

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

MICHY’S

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

CLOSED FOR RENOVATION
6927 Biscayne Boulevard
3
05-759-2001
michysmiami.com

Michy’s is the kind of restaurant where many of the dishes linger in your mind and keep you coming back over and over just to see if your memory played tricks. Michele Bernstein, a former ballerina and previously at Azul downtown, runs this serious eatery alongside her husband David who mans the reservation desk and expertly oversees the somewhat funky, floral dining room.

Trained in classical French cooking, Michele decided to offer innovative, beautifully presented plates in two sizes, more often referencing the New American style. On a recent visit, we noticed the number of dishes offered has dimmished. At the beginning, they took a risk opening this ambitious restaurant in an area of Biscayne bereft of fine dining. But word travels fast and bolstered by her reputation at Azul, Michy’s was an instant success. Now Michy’s only improves with age as she continues her quest for “luxurious comfort food.”

Signature dishes include the jamon serrano and blue cheese croquettas, Peruvian-style ceviche and seared foie gras “n” waffles for  starters.  Falling off the bone shortribs with parsnip potato mousseline or seared halibut with wild mushroom salsify or the pan-seared sole accompanied by sunchoke puree, baby artichokes, preserved lemon and olive nage are all dishes in the “transcendent” category.

For desserts I gravitate to the baked Alaska and Michey’s ethereal bread pudding which are killer endings to an evening at one of Miami’s best.

Tuesday – Thursday and Sunday: 6:00 pm – 10:30 pm
Friday and Saturday: 5:30 pm – 11:00 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

SUGARCANE RAW BAR GRILL

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

3250 NE 1st Avenue
786-369-0353

sugarcanerawbargrill.com

International flavors referencing Brazil, Peru, Japan and America are inventively prepared in a raw bar, tapas and grill format.  This large room vibrates with an attractive young crowd in a stunning modern setting.  Everything about this new addition to the Midtown dining experience is right. This recently established area has taken off and this restaurant is at the forefront.

Chinese, Trinidadian chef, Timon Balloo, formerly of Chef Allen, Azul and La Broche is leading the way. The snacks and tapas categories yield mouth watering bites like bacon wrapped dates, Kobe beef sliders with quail eggs, golden beets or Florida tomatoes and strawberries with burrata.  Instead of the ubiquitous chips, with one of the 30 rums and 40 beers, savor the shishito peppers. Fantastic!.  You’ll never reach for a chip again.  The robata grill, a Japanese invention fired up with bincho-tan charcoal, is used for everything from asparagus to Korean-style short ribs.  Crudos of Atlantic salmon, fluke or yellowtail are seldom found in Miami and provide a fresh, light course.  It takes several visits to sample all the categories on this extensive menu unless you share with a group of friends.  Sushi, sashimi and specialty rolls also deserve your attention

Sunday – Wednesday: 11:30 am – 12:00 am
Thursday: 11:30 am – 1:00 am
Friday and Saturday: 11:30 am – 2:00 am

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