Small Bites

 Editor's note: Periodically we will publish capsule reviews like those below in addition to our weekly full reviews. Contributors to this installment include Lee Klein, Pamela Robin Brandt, Bill Citara, Greg Baker, and Karen Figueiredo. More than 450 capsule reviews of local restaurants can be found at www.miaminewtimes.com.


13823 N Kendall Dr, South Miami-Dade; 305-408-5554. Open Sunday through Thursday 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Craving some great ceviche? Then stop by Aromas del Perú. This rustic 43-seat restaurant in Kendall has several varieties: fish, octopus, shrimp, and mixed. The original fish ceviche is expertly prepared, particularly the spicy version. Chicharrón de pescado is also excellent: lightly battered corvina, perfectly crisp on the outside and delicately moist on the inside, served with lime-seasoned onion sauce. If you prefer chicken, try the aji de gallina, shredded chicken covered in a creamy sauce and served with potato and rice. Aromas also has several beef dishes, including Peruvian favorite lomo saltado. If you're lucky, they'll have suspiro de lúcuma available when you pass by. This exquisite dessert combines tropical lúcuma fruit with condensed milk for a rich, very sweet treat.

Location Info

Map

Aromas Del Peru

13823 N. Kendall Drive
Kendall, FL 33186

Category: Restaurant > International

Region: South Dade

Bonefish Grill

12520 SW 120th St.
Kendall, FL 33186

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: South Dade

The Brick

100 Southeast 4th St.
Miami, FL 33131

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Downtown/Overtown

Cacao

141 Giralda Ave.
Coral Gables, FL 33134

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Coral Gables/South Miami

Chanlowe Chinese Restaurant

78 Canal St.
Doral, FL 33166

Category: Restaurant > Cantonese

Region: Doral

Siam Oishi

3409 Main Highway
Miami, FL 33133-5915

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: Coconut Grove

Epicure Gourmet Market & Cafe

1656 Alton Road, Ste 300
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Category: Restaurant > Bakery

Region: South Beach

Frankie's Pizza

9118 Bird Road
Miami, FL 33165

Category: Restaurant > Pizza

Region: Central Dade

Fresco California Bistro

1744 SW 3rd Ave.
Miami, FL 33129

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Downtown/Overtown

Joe's Takeaway

11 Washington Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Category: Restaurant > Seafood

Region: South Beach

8080 SW 67th Ave, South Miami; 305-662-6855. Open Monday through Thursday 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., Friday 11:00 a.m. to midnight, Saturday noon to midnight, Sunday 4:00 to 10:00 p.m. A dedicated and efficient staff, along with piled-high plates of Italian classics at bargain rates, has made the Big Cheese one of the busiest and best of its genre. For two decades Bill Archer's fun, casual restaurant has matched top-grade ingredients with perfectly prepared recipes. Imported Italian pasta, flour made from the trump of the wheat, the best of California's pear tomatoes, and premium Wisconsin cheese are used in the traditional-style pizzas and the vast array of appetizers and dinners. The menu runs several pages and includes everything from Buffalo wings (although you're better off with the excellent Grandpa's Buffalo Mozzarella) to a fried-oyster caesar salad to subs to full meals (baked and sautéed pasta dishes, seafood, and plenty more). It's tough to resist ordering one of the primo old-school pizzas, especially when watching the pie makers and phone jockeys frantically trying to keep pace with demand qualifies as live entertainment. Expect crowds -- you will not find Italian food this good for lower prices anywhere.

12520 SW 120th St, South Miami-Dade; 786-293-5713. Open Monday through Thursday 4:00 to 10:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday 4:00 to 11:30 p.m., Sunday 4:00 to 10:00 p.m. Corporate food is like corporate journalism: It takes up space but it doesn't satisfy. Bonefish Grill hides its corporate parentage (one of 40 restaurants in seventeen states) pretty well, right up until the moment your food starts arriving. It'll almost fool you, though, with its clubby décor, personable staff, and menu that touts an array of freshly caught seafood. At its heart is the selection of fresh fish and shellfish, cooked on a wood-fired grill and served with your choice of sauce. They're generally pretty good, though just as generally overcooked. Crabcakes are first-rate; "Bang Bang" shrimp are upscale junk food. Most everything else is a mess. Salads are bad, side dishes worse, sauces worse than that. Desserts are forgettable. But you will leave full.

100 SE 4th St, Miami; 305-372-8991. Open Monday through Thursday 7:00 to 10:30 a.m., 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., 5:00 to 10:00 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 7:30 to 10:30 a.m., 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.; Sunday 7:00 to 10:30 a.m., 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. The Brick really isn't. It's not much to look at, to be sure -- a long, narrow, hugely unstylish space in back of a hotel stuck in the shadow of an I-95 flyover. But it does have a few tables butting up against the Miami River and food that's better than its lackluster ambiance suggests. Prices are reasonable and portions are big enough to feed you and your tapeworm. A birdbath-size bowl comes filled with plump, juicy mussels swimming in a wine-y, garlicky broth perfect for sopping up with bread. Salads are big and filling, pastas too. Rack of lamb arrives as a trio of double-cut chops with a tangy Dijon mustard-pesto crust. Solid, uncomplicated fare -- just like a brick.

141 Giralda Ave, Coral Gables; 305-445-1001. Open for lunch Monday through Friday 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., dinner Monday through Thursday 6:00 to 10:30 p.m., Thursday through Saturday 6:00 to 11:30 p.m. Ceviche bar open Monday through Saturday 6:00 to 11:00 p.m. Since Cacao first opened in 2002, inventive Venezuelan chef Edgar Leal has deftly toned down his generous but frustrating tendency to overload dishes with an overwhelming number of flavors. Now Leal's flair for stylish reinvention of traditional South American dishes shines as sleekly as the eatery's elegant minimalist décor in items like Yuca Stuffed with Brazilian Shrimp Bobo (an extremely labor-intensive Bahian dish featuring coconut milk, dende oil, and the holy trio of peppers, onion, and tomatoes) and Peruvian causas (napoleons) of chicken or octopus with authentic yellow potatoes, olives, and parsley oil. His version of Venezuelan reina pepiada (arepa chips with a salad of diced chicken and avocado, with rocotto sauce) remains wonderful. But the most welcome development, since Cacao's fresh fish is delivered daily, is a ceviche bar, where diners, for $7.50 per plate, can sample an extensive selection of marinated raw-fish creations: tuna with mango; snapper with tangerine; salmon with pink peppercorns; four-citrus sea scallops; Ecuadorian-style shrimp (with tomato); Peruvian black ceviche, and half a dozen more scrumptious -- yet for high-protein dieters sin-free -- small plates.

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