Masterpiece Feeder

Service was as outstanding as the pasta. No one hovered. But we had only to open our mouths and begin, "This gnocchi would be great with . . . " when our waiter would appear, finishing our sentence: " . . . some fresh ground pepper?" We put his omnipresence to the test when a less-expensive special that evening, a fillet of snapper topped with a lemony butter-caper sauce, appeared. The delicate sauce gracefully complemented the sweet-fleshed snapper, which had been pan-fried to the crisp finish only a very hot skillet can produce. But a promised dish of noodles didn't show up with it. We stopped a busboy. "We're missing . . . " The waiter materialized: " . . . a side of pasta? I have informed the chef," he said, and served the bowl of spaghetti with olive oil and slices of sauteed garlic a minute later. (Here, unfortunately, the garlic had been browned a bit too much, yielding a telltale bitterness.)

Presented on plates decorated with chocolate swirls, desserts were incomparable. A wedge of silky chocolate mousse cake was just barely edged out by a meringue cake, crumbly egg-white wafers napped with thick whipped cream. You should be wary, though, of the wobbly nature of the meringue -- as it was being delivered, a fragile wafer tumbled like Humpty Dumpty into the lap of one of my guests.

I've had a special fondness for Oggi since I first wrote about it three years ago. I've been pleased to watch the restaurant grow from a busy pasta-delivery service into an ultracasual -- and ultracrowded -- no-frills trattoria, and then into a full-fledged Italian restaurant with an expanded menu and linens on the tables. I've rooted for Eloy Roy's determined efforts to duplicate his brilliant accidental brainchild, even when I thought those attempts were misguided. And I'm delighted, finally, to see that Da Vinci doesn't merely equal Oggi, it's an evolutionary advancement: a roomier, more elegant dining room, an unhurried staff, even a policy to accept reservations! (The wait at Oggi is legendary.) For Roy and his partners, the third time isn't only charmed. It's charming.

Location Info

Map

Oggi Caffe

1666 79th St. Causeway, #102
Miami Beach, FL 33141

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Mid/North Beach

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