Doug Rodriguez Is Back

New Latin cuisine moves to the Beach.

Entrées are a little less brashly inventive. Raspado de pato — featuring lean slices of the teeniest, most tender duck breast imaginable — is served with a hefty hot pot of rice stir-fried with raisins, pine nuts, edamame, and confit shreds of nonbreast meat. A potently marinated tenderloin of beef, cut and grilled churrasco-style with a thin spread of tangy, parsley-based chimichurri, is sumptuously smothered in creamy chipotle sauce plumped with pearly lumps of crab meat. There was nothing crisp about "crispy pork," but the soft, slow-cooked meat was tastefully spiked with culantro mojo.

Some combos work better than others. The main components of a deconstructed causa — seared slabs of dark-purplish tuna crusted with adobo spicing, a smooth purée of blue potatoes, and a row of green conch escabeche — were plated like stripes on the flag of a color-blind nation, probably just moments before serving. This robs the traditional Peruvian dish of its greatest virtue: the overnight melding of flavors. The acidic escabeche also overwhelmed the mild potato and fish.

I thought differently about the dessert menu's "deconstructed key lime pie" when I last tried it at The Savoy; the whole was as good as the sum of its parts — in this case key lime custard, toasted meringue, walnut tuile, and a graham-cracker-coated quenelle of vanilla ice cream. This time, though, I went with yet another Rodriguez signature, a "cigar" made with almond chocolate cake encased in semisweet chocolate mousse and rolled in cocoa and cinnamon. Looks just like a stogie, label and all, served on a plate that mimics an ashtray — along with a dab of coffee ice cream and a matchbox made of candy. Take away the clever presentation and you're left with a devilishly rich treat.

Joe Rocco

Location Info


OLA at Sanctuary Hotel

1745 James Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Category: Restaurant > Contemporary

Region: South Beach


OLA at Sanctuary: James Ave., Miami Beach; 305-695-9125. Open for dinner daily 6:30 to 11 p.m.

Take away the novelty and newness from Rodriguez's now not-so-Nuevo Latino fare and you are still left with a singular updating of Hispanic cuisine — which means OLA remains as relevant as any restaurant in South Florida.

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