Very Ritzy Comfort Food

Not all is small here. A seared Niman Ranch pork chop was rather sizable, served in a bowl with navy beans, Swiss chard, hen-of-the-wood mushrooms, and fetchingly smoky bacon broth. All were right on target in terms of taste, but the beans were undercooked, as was the pork chop itself. Worse, it was tougher than Dick Cheney's rear end.

Salmon with smoked watercress sauce and "warm potato and haricot vert salad" sounded good on paper, but the sauce wasn't particularly smoky, and a bland potato-green bean medley was smothered in the bowl below the salmon and sauce. At least the fish was impressively pan-seared, moist and well-seasoned enough that you didn't need to use the beautiful stainless steel salt shaker. Good thing, because I couldn't help but notice a nearby diner frantically and futilely trying to get salt out of his. This led me to try our shaker, with the same saltless result (owing to clumping and small holes). Someone at my table commented that looks do count for something, but I think he was being sarcastic.

Desserts follow the Americana theme more closely than the rest of the menu, with twists on kiddy favorites like banana split (chocolate and banana spring roll with vanilla ice cream), Rice Krispie treats (rice tuile, coconut cream, and sorbet), and "s'mores" (warm, liquid-centered chocolate cake with graham cracker and toasted, port wine-sauced marshmallow). S'mores never taste right without a campfire, and this prissy rendition made the taste even less right.

Not your mother's tuna casserole: Chef Thomas Connell deconstructs old favorites
Jonathan Postal
Not your mother's tuna casserole: Chef Thomas Connell deconstructs old favorites

Location Info

Map

Americana

1 Lincoln Road
Miami Beach, FL 33139-2000

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: South Beach

Details

786-276-4000. Open for breakfast Monday through Saturday 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., brunch Sunday noon to 3:00 p.m.; lunch Monday through Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; dinner Sunday through Thursday 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday 5:00 p.m. to midnight.
Ritz-Carlton South Beach, 1 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach

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Coffee "tart" was more satisfying, once again graham cracker used as the base, this time capped with a square of coffee-and-cream flavored crme brùlée, and a quenelle of delicious whiskey ice cream. Also on the plate were two tasty mini beignets dotted inside with chocolate. At first I didn't know what beignets had to do with the tart, but later realized that they were meant to represent the "donuts" that we all know go so well with coffee. Clever.

Grasshopper pie jumped far ahead of the other sweets, a thin bottom crust of chocolate cake topped by soft mint cream alternating with crispy, wispy wafers of dark chocolate; a scoop of deep bittersweet chocolate sorbet on the side refreshed like a super Fudgsicle. This dessert was fantastic, which is the sort of adjective I'd have expected to use more frequently in describing the Ritz-Carlton's cuisine. I'm likewise surprised that service here can't be defined by any stronger words than "adept," "friendly," and "stylishly attired." The only thing really special about Americana is the supper-club aspect, this likely being the only place, and certainly the most elegant, at which to dine and dance to sultry standards. Otherwise, for all this restaurant's frills, there are very few thrills.

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