Missed Mark

A main course of seared magret of duck breast was sliced into five thick, juicy wedges and fanned over a black pool of slightly reduced Modena vinegar. The waiter neglected to ask us about doneness, and the bird came rare -- okay by me, if not the person at the table who ordered it. An arzak potato accompanied the duck. Arzak is a French term for stacking shredded potatoes together into a tower shape and baking until it comes out as a beautifully delicate rendition of hash browns.

Sounding even more impressive than arzak was "71/2 hour gigot of lamb," but after a few bites of the tender but dreadfully dry meat it occurred to me that it may have stayed in the oven about six and a half hours too long. Astonishingly there was no discernible lamb flavor, the cylinder of meat tasting instead like a passable pot roast. Mashed potatoes, fried croutons, and a thin, dark Malbec wine sauce melded into a plate of pub food as brown and drab as Joyce's Dublin.

A splash of color came to the table via two sautéed fillets of red snapper stacked upon a bright "hash" consisting of diced potatoes, bits of bacalao, and sautéed strips of onion and red and green pepper. All of the components were fresh and balanced, but to say the flavors were subtle would be like describing Paris Hilton as someone who lacks substance.

If enchanting ambiance and great views were all that mattered, Mendoza would have the buzz it wants
Jonathan Postal
If enchanting ambiance and great views were all that mattered, Mendoza would have the buzz it wants

Location Info

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Mendoza Restaurant

1155 Brickell Bay Drive
Miami, FL 33131

Category: Restaurant > Mediterranean

Region: Downtown/Overtown

Details

305-377-4442. Open for lunch Monday through Friday noon to 3:00 p.m., dinner 6:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Saturday 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Closed Sundays.
Mark Building, 1155 Brickell Bay Dr, Miami;

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Buttery-crusted almond pear tart steered us back toward the sublime, as did chocolate "fondant," a more refined rendition of the same faux soufflé served elsewhere, but fresher, smaller, and better. Passion fruit sorbet in a tuile on the side possessed pure intensity of flavor -- the sort Mendoza's cuisine needs more of if, after a rocky start, the owners still hope to inspire spirited word-of-mouth. After all, if the foods don't speak with enthusiasm, chances are the customers won't either.

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