Cast Your Line with Downtown Miami's Area 31

You're sure to snag something great.

Most entrées are in the upper $20 range, with only dorade, lobster, and veal milanese topping $30. Courses don't come with much in the way of vegetable or starch, so an à la carte side or two is recommended. Crisp cubes of roast potatoes were pooled in light, concassé-like tomato purée, but bright green rapini lacked advertised garlic and needed some salt.

Service is surprisingly polished for such a new venue. Waiters are well trained, well mannered, well informed, and, well, just very impressive. So is the wine list assembled by master sommelier Emily Wines (from San Francisco's Michelin-rated Fifth Floor restaurant), whose esoteric inventory is invested in vintages and small production wines from around the globe. Some two dozen half-bottles are thoughtfully offered, as is a wide array of wines by the glass — ranging from $8 to $17. Specialty beers include Lindeman's Pêche from Belgium and Ayinger Bräu-Weisse from Germany. And Area 31 has netted "master mixologist" Jacques Bezuidenhout to orchestrate the provision of professionally prepared, cutting-edge cocktails ­— the hottest of Miami restaurant trends. Try the Hot Crush, a mesmerizing mix of Square One Cucumber vodka, vanilla liqueur, jalapeño, and the juice of cucumbers and lime (even more mesmerizing after the second round).

Desserts are no less creative. A key lime tart delivered dabs of tart citrus mousse between two thin, crisp rounds of bright white meringue, the sandwich itself sandwiched with a sweet swirl of carrot purée below and a capping quenelle of cardamom ice cream. If your post-dinner tastes trend more toward traditional, the nightly trio of cheeses might bring Boucheron de chèvre, Gorgonzola Valdeón, and Romao, a chewy Spanish sheep's milk with a rosemary rind.

Joe Rocco

Location Info

Map

Area 31

270 Biscayne Blvd. Way, 16th Floor
Miami, FL 33132

Category: Restaurant > Greek

Region: Downtown/Overtown

Details

Epic Hotel, 270 Biscayne Boulevard Way, 16th floor, Miami; 305-424-5234. Breakfast daily 7 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Dinner Monday through Saturday 5 to 11 p.m., Sunday 5 to 10 p.m.

The next time you seek a great seafood dinner, there's no need to go fishing about for options. Cast your line with Area 31 and you're sure to catch something to brag about.

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