By Zachary Fagenson
By Bill Citara
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Black Voodoo, or Cajun-style dolphin, was a simple but worthwhile option, too. The fillet was large enough for two and served atop a heap of electric-yellow rice with a few steamed veggies on the side. The fish was dusted with a mild seasoning, which didn't do much for its mellow flavor one way or the other. Not inspired but not bad, either.
During another, calmer visit at lunchtime, I tried the Satchmo burger. The plate was heavy with crisp thick fries and generous toppings (sautéed button mushrooms, melted cheddar cheese, and strips of rough-cut bacon) that spilled off the top of the sandwich. The ingredients, including a fresh kaiser roll with onions, were high quality and well handled.
Other down-home offerings include smoked pork chops, jambalaya, and gumbo. Daily lunch specials feature meat loaf on Mondays and stuffed cabbage on Thursdays. Surprisingly there are a fair number of vegetarian menu items as well, including a hearty pasta salad made with mushrooms, peppers, olives, garlic, and herbs; a veggie burger; and penne topped with stewed tomatoes, mozzarella, and garlic. The eclectic offerings are no doubt inspired by the owner, Harold Neuweg, who also owns the Mozart Stube café and is the force behind the yearly Oktoberfest in the Gables.
60 Merrick Way (just off Douglas Road and Miracle Mile), Coral Gables; 3057741883.
www.miamiblues.com. Open daily 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.
4 Grove Isle Drive
Coconut Grove, FL 33133
Region: Coconut Grove
278 Miracle Mile
Coral Gables, FL 33134
Region: South Dade
Satchmo burger $7.95
Blackened dolphin $11.95
Koko's Oriental chicken salad $9.95
Apple strudel $5.95
Another import from his popular Austrian-German eatery is the outrageous apple strudel. On this menu it's titled "The Jazz Session." Served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and real whipped cream, the warm pocket of flaky crust envelops a tartly sweet stash of dense apples dripping in a glossy syrup.
At lunch the blond oak tables are populated mostly with lawyers, bankers, and secretaries who sit beneath the glossy black-and-white jazz portraits. On weekends the same well-groomed professionals dress down and happily hand over the reasonable cover charge (usually five dollars) to hear live music starting at 9:00 p.m. The varied schedule of musicians includes Iko Iko, Midnight Johnny, Roomful of Blues, and Grady Champion.
But, especially on Friday nights, during happy hour (from 5:00 until 8:00) the place is a virtual mob scene. Dining then is unpleasant if not impossible. I recommend eating elsewhere and coming later for music and reasonably priced drinks. In the jazz world, they say playing with a bunch of guys who aren't in sync is like dancing with a refrigerator. As good as I think Satchmo can be at times, at others you better watch your toes.