Opening With A Bang

But perhaps the most self-indulgent and ambitious aspect of BANG is its beverage list. Red and white wines are featured from eleven different countries; beer represents twenty. This United Nations of refreshments would be commendable if they were all in stock. However, on a recent visit, three consecutive selections of beer were unavailable. And rather than asking us for another choice, our waiter would simply gift us with a beer he thought we'd appreciate. Most of the time -- a Presidente for an Amstel Light, for instance -- he wasn't even close.

Still, the juxtaposition of excess and restraint is an ideal one for South Beach, and an attitude that is highly reminiscent of the New York social scene. True, some difficulties have arrived along with the migration of the herd: New York prices have been introduced to South Florida budgets, an irreconcilable discrepancy. Another potential problem is a result of BANG's tasteful nuances: The nameplate that adorns the restaurant's entrance is not visible from the street, and may cause consternation in those seeking the eclectic establishment. But an evening with the Hong Kong-style wok stir fried lobster with a black bean chili sauce ($19.50) and the Puerto Rican chicken adobo with roasted mashed tomatoes, black beans, and rice ($15.00), two outstanding preparations, is more than worth the trouble of locating BANG. This is cuisine sure to convince you that a world (or island) view of food isn't restricted to a single city any more than a restaurant belongs to a specialized crowd. In a couple of months, when the novelty has worn away, natural selection will ensure that BANG, and its talented chef who has done our traveling for us, enjoys continuous cosmopolitan success.

BANG 1518 Washington Ave; 531-2361. Open for dinner nightly from 6:00 to midnight. Bar is open to 4:00 a.m.

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