It wasn't until I arrived home that I noticed, written on the menu: "Ask your server about this evening's Mosaic dinner." Must've been a "don't ask, don't tell" policy; I didn't ask, they didn't tell. The waitstaff -- and I use that term loosely to describe various semitrained people who performed the necessary tasks of service without injuring anyone -- asked if we wanted coffee, but neglected to offer dessert. I asked; they brought dessert menus.
We chose the "black skillet chocolate bourbon cake" ($6.50) and "biscuit and gravy," the latter characterized as "hard to describe, but very good." Inside the little black skillet, which was hot from the oven and served on a large white plate decorated with purely-for-show fruit purées, was a moist, mini chocolate cake with a scoop of generic chocolate ice cream melting on top. The biscuit and gravy were pretty much the same thing, but without the skillet and with the addition of crunchy banana fritters, which a waiter later confided were the "biscuits." The "gravy," we resolved on our own, was the melted ice cream, but we never did ascertain what a garnish of wispy white threads of rice noodles were supposed to be.
At Mosaic it's best to keep focused on the view
Open daily for breakfast 6:00 to11:00 a.m.; lunch 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.; and dinner 6:00 to 11:00 p.m.
1677 Collins Ave (in the National Hotel), Miami Beach; 305-532-2311.
There is such a thing as being unlucky, but more often than not, luck is the residue of design. Not visual design of course (you couldn't create a more elegant restaurant setting than this, and the food is quite pretty, too), but like many a South Beach spot, Café Mosaic continues to stick with a game plan of style and hype (at no small price) over substance. Which means if you come to the National Hotel with a design on fine dining, you're out of luck.