More than Cool

Icebox is one of the Beach’s best restaurants

Pasta du jour was less suggestive of Italian cuisine than the sort of meal one might assemble from leftovers found in the fridge — hefty hunks of grilled chicken breast, diced ham, mushroom quarters, and skinny, crunchy snippets of asparagus spears, all tossed in a sea of creamy tomato sauce. Still, as sometimes happens with these happenstance concoctions, the flavors turned out fully gratifying — although the pasta was so oversauced that enough liquid lingered in the bottom of the bowl to serve as a sating cup of cream of tomato soup. The portion of pasta was generous too, which led me to pause halfway through: If I finish it all, I might not have room for dessert. That's insanity! I had the leftover pasta packed to go.

By the way, no need to fret over the prospect of predinner bread dampening your postdinner appetite, because none is served unless you order a warm, crusty square, with one of three toppings, for $5 or $6. If you wish to tempt fate, you can try the truffle-oil-and-Brie variation, which was mostly truffle oil and pretty darn lip-smacking good — although still pricey for bread. A simpler $3 baguette, the skinny sort that's shipped par-baked and finished off in the oven, is served with shallot-rosemary butter. I recommend demurring on the basis of a little-known axiom: Every ounce of butter eaten is an ounce of buttercream uneaten.

Icebox began as a bakery and still is one; many patrons traipse in just to take out a whole cake or pie. Oprah thought The Bomb was the bomb, a rich chocolate cake layered with bittersweet chocolate mousse, cheesecake brownie, and bittersweet chocolate ganache. She apparently also liked the cinnamon bundt cake with candied walnuts, but I prefer the classic German chocolate cake with brown sugar custard lustered with walnuts, coconut, and sizable chunks of Belgian chocolate. Carrot cake was a little on the dry side, but cappuccino ice-cream cake whet our cravings via layers of intensely flavored chocolate and espresso. One of my quibbles concerns consistency of portions. The ice-cream cake was a crookedly sliced, extremely slender sliver, but another time we were treated to a slab of chocolate mint ice-cream cake that was at least twice as fat.


Location Info


Icebox Cafe

1855 Purdy Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: South Beach


Open Monday through Thursday 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., Friday 11:00 a.m. to midnight, Saturday 10:00 a.m. to midnight, Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
1657 Michigan Ave, Miami Beach; 305-538-8448

Icebox also shines for breakfast and lunch, and dishes an exceptional weekend brunch with à la carte selections such as home-baked granola; steel-cut Irish oatmeal; creative variations on pancakes and French toast (sometimes too creative, as in the piña colada flapjacks); a whole mess of egg dishes (frittata, scrambled with cheese, and so on); freshly baked biscuits; and a shortlist of lunchtime comestibles (grilled skirt steak, pan-seared salmon, barbecue pork panini). The ambitious eatery also boasts a dozen types of teas, and coffee three ways — espresso-based, French press pot, and American brew served in a soup-bowl-size cup (but, take it from me, it's still not large enough for dunking a whole slice of chocolate cake). In short, Icebox is filled to the brim with good food, good drink, good desserts, good company, and good intentions. Very cool.

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