Dog Day Chronicles

A term synonymous with the heat and stagnation that defines Miami in August

There promise to be more good eats at Christabelle's Quarter, a Big Easy-style restaurant from Alex and Marcia Patout set to open in Coconut Grove. Sadly the Patouts were blown out of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina, along with their well-known Patout's Louisiana Restaurant. N'awlins' loss is Miami's gain, because Mr. Patout has garnered nationwide accolades for his mesmerizing marriage of authentic Cajun and creole cuisines. Expect the menu to also highlight signature grain-fed steaks from Allen Brothers of Chicago.

Bouley, Blais, Duff, Armstrong, and Patout constitute quite an impressive group of imports, but one of the most anticipated openings will be from locally renowned Michael Schwartz, the well-traveled, well-respected chef of Nemo and Afterglo fame. Schwartz will finally have the chance to do things his way with Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, a casual bistro readying to swing open its Design District doors in late fall. His way is to emphasize, when possible, products sourced from local growers and small farmers, and to divide the bill of modern American fare into small, medium, large, and extra-large plates. Fresh, homemade dishes will encompass selections such as plump Vidalia onion roasted in a wood oven with a stuffing of grass-fed lamb and apricots; homemade Jerusalem artichoke ravioli; and pan-roasted yellow jack with sweet corn cake, yellow curry sauce, and vegetable stir-fry.

Two other familiar names will be back in the news: A second Chispa, under the direction of the original branches' executive chef Adam Votaw, will spark Doral's dining scene. And the owners of Karu & Y, the spacious dining/club complex near Wynwood that seems to have been imminently opening since 1993, have announced it will definitely premiere in the fall. Rather tellingly, they did not indicate the year.

JOE ROCCO

Location Info

Map

Chispa

225 Altara Ave.
Coral Gables, FL 33146-1422

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Coral Gables/South Miami

Christabelle's Quarter

3157 Commodore Plaza
Miami, FL 33133

Category: Restaurant >

Region: Coconut Grove

Michael's Genuine Food & Drink

130 NE 40th St.
Miami, FL 33137

Category: Restaurant > Contemporary

Region: Central Dade

Table 8

1458 Ocean Drive
Miami Beach, FL 33139-4162

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: South Beach

Chispa, 11500 NW 41st St, Doral; 305-591-7166
Christabelle’s Quarter, 3157 Commodore Plz, Coconut Grove; 786-517-5299
David Bouley Evolution, 1669 Collins Ave, Miami Beach
Karu & Y, 71 NW 14th St, Miami; 305-403-7850
Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, 130 NE 40th St, Miami; 305-573-5550
Restaurant Brana, 276 Alhambra Cir, Coral Gables; 305-444-4595
Soli Organic Ice Cream, 7209 SW 59th Ave, South Miami; 305-663-9399
Table 8, 1501 Collins Ave, Miami Beach; 305-695-4114

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Struggling restaurants really feel the summer heat, the weakest tending to melt down well before the snowbirds return. This season's dog day demises include the long-running South Beach bistro L'Entrecôte de Paris and another SoBe old-timer, Tutti's Café. Mosaico, the cutting-edge multiple winner of New Times's Best Spanish Restaurant, has gone belly up as well — but Salero, the downstairs tapas bar, is still going strong. Toodles, too, to O-R-O, the posh South Beach waterfront spot that opened in the middle of last season with a big splash but just wasn't prepared for the instant deluge of business.

Before this year's deluge hits, we have a number of long, hot dog days ahead of us, which are ideal, incidentally, for taking a relaxing and replenishing afternoon nap. Please make sure to wake me when season hits — it looks like this might be the year when Miami's fine-dining scene finally grows up.

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