Teté has won no awards. Chef Caprice Tassinari possesses culinary talent, but is not Danko-decorated. There is no sommelier, no pastry chef, no professionally trained wait staff, no specialized tea service, no cheese cart wheeled out to the dining room. Teté is clearly not in the same league as the other aforementioned West Coast eateries. So why is it fair to compare? Because Teté, like so many fledgling South Florida dining establishments, charges about the same amount of money as these and other seriously refined restaurants in American cities. This occurs in part because the food mafia in this town, meaning those who control the flow of food and restaurant information to the public via writing, mass media, and public relations, continue to hype culinarily clueless places as legitimate emporiums of fine dining.
Maybe Miami's food flaks ignore overpricing because they never have to pay for their meals. Perhaps they believe Miami will become a great food city if they simply chant the mantra of its greatness often enough. Whatever their reasons for electing to praise the emperor's new clothes, it serves as a disincentive for restaurants to improve or rein in prices and does a disservice to the handful of legitimately talented local chefs who end up having to share the spotlight with those less deserving. Luckily, I suspect there's a good number of knowledgeable diners who are able to see the naked truth. The truth about Teté is that if it were to make its food more consistent, and cut prices just about in half, it could qualify as a pleasant neighborhood restaurant.