Rotisserie Chic

A roast of the day is always available and always varied. Duck, lamb, and pork are among the basic meats -- what goes on top is left to the discretion of Executive Chef Alex La Bouwit, formerly of the Colony Bistro. Though Tufvesson is responsible for the original menu of such rotisserie foods, as well as the pastas and grilled meats, La Bouwit shows his hand with a lovely international influence that often enhances fish. For example, a grilled tuna appetizer arrived rare and juicy, slathered with enoki mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and capers on butter lettuce with a light dash of lemon juice and olive oil. The thick fillet was large enough for an entree and expertly cooked.

Fish can also be cooked in the rotisserie, as was the fresh salmon. Like the tuna starter, a salmon entree exhibited enoki mushrooms in addition to tomatoes, haricot verte (green beans), and a lively sauce of black beans, shallots, and chives; like the tuna, the salmon also was wonderful, roasted to an exquisite tenderness. Though the fillet was slightly fishy, the intense flavor of the sauce more than compensated for that.

A fish of the day entree, Alaskan halibut with an orange glaze, failed to achieve the same quality the other two had. The fillet was firmly fleshed but too dry, and I found the orange flavor bitter and distracting. This meal was grilled as opposed to rotisseried, which could account for its more arid taste. A grilled shrimp appetizer, however, seasoned with an orange flavor in the form of salsa cruda, was moist and sweet. Chipotle pepper cream laced the plate, a pretty but empty gesture, as the cream lacked snap and seemed unnecessary.

A third appetizer, spicy fried calamari with three peppers, ginger, and coriander, had been dipped in a heavy batter and deep-fried. The calamari seemed lost under soggy breading, and the combination of flavors was decidedly odd. La Bouwit tends to combine Asian, Italian, and Southwestern spices, sometimes to great effect. This time it wasn't, the fried squid not receptive to the flowery ginger and fresh, zippy coriander.

Desserts were average. Key lime pie with a raspberry compote tasted more like cheesecake, dense and rich. Seasonal berries with cream and berry puree was a beautiful martini glass of fruit, but the fruit was sour. Of course this was hardly SoBe's fault, but it did give us something to think about -- an "in season" restaurant serving "out of season" fruit. Is that a bad omen for the restaurant's future chicdom? Not likely. What Tufvesson has said about South Beach also relates to the South Beach Rotisserie -- it will "continue to bloom.

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