Locally some restaurants and hotels like the Delano are showcasing American cuisine on special party nights; a recent buffet there included "Old Glory Libations," carrot-raisin salad, jumbo hot dogs, burgers, ribs, and apple gobbler (sorry, make that cobbler). Smith & Wollensky just debuted an "American Dim Sum" brunch, a reinterpretation of the traditional Chinese feast with waiters rolling around carts that feature, instead of spring rolls and lotus-seed balls, items such as miniature beef Wellingtons and tartlets filled with scrambled eggs and bacon (not to mention bottomless bloody marys). Though dim sum creator and corporate executive chef David Burke tells me this idea had actually been in the works for six years, now seems an unduly good, if coincidental, time to unveil it.
In fact the Smith & Wollensky brunch-on-wheels, one of the more pleasant experiences I've had lately (until, of course, I started to cry, but hey, blame the unlimited champagne), appears to me the ideal way to combine a healthy rather than ethnocentric dose of Americana with culinary invention. In this week's editorial column, Nation's Restaurant News executive editor Ellen Koteff writes that when it comes to the dining industry, "September 11 marked a sea change the world over, particularly in the United States, where character is back in vogue and substance now surpasses style." The American dim sum brunch at Smith & Wollensky is a great example of how we actually don't have to abandon one for the other (style for substance) and how Miami -- which, according to Mayor Alex Penelas, is the city affected fifth in the nation financially by the tragedy -- could be the one to lead the way.