Side Dish

Gossip for foodies

The ghost of Mayya continues to haunt us: The defunct restaurant recently was touted in Nation's Restaurant News' special "50 Cities that Sizzle" issue as one of many in Miami that have celebrity owners (Billy Bean). The same paragraph included info about other star-crossed -- er, star-owned -- joints such as Bambú (Cameron Diaz); Larios on the Beach (Gloria Estefan); and Cheeky Monkey (Merv Griffin). But no mention of Suva (Marisa Tomei). Local authorities Norman Van Aken of Norman's and Michelle Bernstein of Azul also were tapped to explain the culinary scene here, in addition to former Herald restaurant critic Geoffrey Tomb, who now works for the Mercury-News in San Jose, California -- and who, like Mayya, we assumed was gone from Miami consciousness forever.

•Perhaps to counteract the drubbing Tuscan Steak got in the New York Times, writer Rick Marin found comfort in Miami's B.E.D. last week. He concluded, "Of course B.E.D. works here. Brazilian models. Tropical carnality. We're practically in Rio." Whether or not the next installment of the supper club works in New York remains to be seen, he says, when it opens in Tribeca in May. But knowing at least some of the enthusiastic loungers in New York, my personal feeling is that B.E.D., particularly in the winter, will be made.

•In other media news, we can now conclude that Michelle Bernstein soon will be getting a dressing room of her own. The executive chef of Azul has been hired by the Food Network to cohost the Melting Pot, a show that is hosted by five different sets of chefs of varying heritage throughout the year. Bernstein, a native Miamian who has Argentine heritage, will share airtime with Priscila Satkoff, a Mexican chef. No doubt things will be hot, particularly when Bernstein tapes the next eight segments down here in the very sweaty month of June. The first set of shows already has been taped and will air in March on Fridays at 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

•Relais & Chateaux, a prestigious, select association of hotels and restaurants, has added Grove Isle Club & Resort, one of only six new members from North America this year. The association notes that to be considered for membership, a property must have been awarded four to five Mobil Stars or the equivalent in AAA Diamonds, and that application measures, which include anonymous inspections, are stringent. Furthermore Relais & Chateaux, which publishes a book about its members every year, values charm over luxury, which explains why the society has called Grove Isle "an oasis on the private island" that "combines old Europe with the tropics." Interestingly, however, the hotel restaurant, Robbin Haas's Baleen, did not receive the distinction of being named to the Relais Gourmands, a group within the association that is considered to be a collection of the world's best restaurants. Something to shoot for, then....

 
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