Coming Up Roses

Of course, no chef can extract fat from ingredients such as the mozzarella di bufala that filled the handmade raviolini. Nor should he try -- this main course was delightful, proving why Argentines make such good Italians. The velvety cheese leaked from a dozen half-moons of springy pasta, blending with the topping of fresh tomato sauce laced with shredded basil.

An appetizer of breaded Camembert was equally indulgent when it came to fat content. French poet Leon-Paul Fargue once described this much-loved cheese as "the feet of the Lord." Had he tried this dish, he might have upgraded Camembert to the hands of the Almighty. Four chunks of the rich, ripe cheese had been rolled in breadcrumbs and flash-fried. Pan-fried tomatoes, heightened by a slightly sweet tomato puree, garnished the squares.

A key lime cake could have used more fat and less gelatin; the wedge jiggled a little too much for my tastes. I was initially appalled at the price tag attached to an order of rice pudding: $9.50. I soon changed my mind. This sweet was more like a plate of desserts. The excellent rice pudding spilled from shortbread cookie layers that had been blasted with confectioners' sugar. A scoop of cinnamon ice cream and rectangles of chocolate marquise -- like flourless chocolate cake -- partnered the pudding.

Our server also brought two complimentary bowls of sorbets and ice creams, his way of apologizing for the uneven grilling of our meats. The staff in general is exceptionally well trained, refilling iced teas, for instance, with both ice and tea, and replacing silverware as needed. This attention to detail makes a meal at the Black Rose that much more rewarding, and is evidence of Magaldi's managerial abilities. He may be a mere 27 years old, but when you have his track record, you sure don't need insurance.

The Black Rose
9700 Collins Ave (in Bal Harbour Shops), Bal Harbour; 868-5902. Lunch and dinner daily from 11:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Sirloin empanada
$3.50

Breaded Camembert
$7.50

Chicken with avocado sauce
$14.95

Swordfish with endive sauce
$18.50

Lamb chops au jus
$23.95

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