Talula, Baby

The main ingredient in Talula's terrific taste? Um, it's all good

But not hidden enough to preserve my secret identity as a restaurant reviewer, unfortunately; Curto, who concentrates on supervising kitchen operations while Randazzo works the front of the house, spotted and recognized me. For those who don't know, New Times, like all journalistically credible publications, reviews restaurants anonymously (which includes paying for our own meals -- no reviewing freebie dinners) to ensure that we experience exactly what the average diner does, rather than receiving special treatment. This involves taking certain precautions, like reserving under fake names (at one place, I reserved three times in one week, under the names of Superman's three girlfriends: Lois Lane, Lana Lang, and Lori Lemaris); this has always worked before for me, so I don't know what went wrong. Did my black veil slip? Perhaps the fake beard and moustache was overdoing it a bit?

Whatever, I was busted, so cannot absolutely guarantee that the reason why I thought Curto's new shrimp tamale appetizer one of the best things I've ever had in my mouth was not due to the chefs sneaking some of that special reviewer-receptivity mood enhancer, which they keep behind the counter for just such occasions, into my stuff. Since I could see all kitchen operations from my stool, though, I think it more likely that my swooning reaction to the tamale was due to perfectly grilled, huge sweet shrimp (no iodine taste whatsoever) and a masa filling so delicate -- more like panna cotta than normal grainy tamale stuffing -- it was hard to imagine it coming from cornmeal. This tamale should be its own Major Food Group.

Frank and Andrea have two babies -- one is for cooking, one is for coddling
Steve Satterwhite
Frank and Andrea have two babies -- one is for cooking, one is for coddling

Location Info

Map

Talula

210 23rd St.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Category: Music Venues

Region: South Beach

Details

Open Tuesday through Thursday 6:30 to 11:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday 6:30 to 11:30 p.m., Sunday 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. Call 305-672-0778.
210 23rd St, Miami Beach

The same special mood enhancer could have been responsible for my positive feelings about a much moister than usual pan-roasted chicken (with polenta, spicy bitter-sweet collards, and three bean ragout), and an amusingly marshmallow-topped layered sweet potato/custard crème brûlée that seemed to me should, by law, be made a mandatory substitute for all Thanksgiving sweet potato dishes. But after seeing scores of the same dishes go out into the dining room for nonreviewing civilians, I think Talula just plain does astonishingly good food.

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