That oyster stew, a sassy take on the traditional (and boring) shellfish-in-milk rendition, was awesome. Béarnaise (thinned by liquid from the oysters) replaces the milk, which is one big, rich improvement right there. The black trumpets add a nice, earthy textural element to the briny, barely simmered, juice-swelled Fanny Bays.

A main course of grilled pompano also shows Van Aken isn't just resting on his laurels. The delicious, full-flavored fish was crisp-skinned and adorned with hedgehog mushrooms, fresh palm hearts, cashews, and herbs in a scintillating caramelized Vietnamese fish sauce.

Chicken mofongo is a more Van Aken-esque medley of black beans, sweet-plantain fufu, and sugarcane moonshine chutney — a lively support for a juicy, tender Lake Meadow bird.

Tuyo's oyster pan stew. View more photos of Tuyo.
Tuyo's oyster pan stew. View more photos of Tuyo.

Location Info



415 NE 2nd Ave.
Miami, FL 33132

Category: Restaurant > Caribbean

Region: Downtown/Overtown




Dinner Tuesday through Saturday 6 to 10:30 p.m.

Fanny Bay oyster stew $18
Charred cobia ceviche $16
Grilled pompano $29
Rhum-and-pepper-painted golden tilefish $34
S'mores pumpkin cheesecake $10

View a slide show of Tuyo.

View a slide show of Tuyo.

Many diners in the crowded room seemed to be ordering another old signature: rhum-and-pepper-painted golden tilefish. (The clientele, incidentally, was mostly of the age group more likely to be seen at a Randy Newman concert than a Cee Lo show.) The moist, mild, grouper-like fillet came cooked just right and thickly glazed with sweet mango-habanero mojo — the sweetness echoed by a boniato/caramelized plantain mash stuffed into a poblano pepper. It was satisfying if a bit too sweet, and we yearned for another texture besides soft.

A veal chop ($44) brings another sweet glaze, this one a Mongolian barbecue glaze of lavender honey, hoisin, soy sauce, and cloves. Softly cooked skinny black Chinese eggplant leans on the chop, which was moist thanks to an abundance of fat in and around the meat. A molded disk of middling "Thai fried rice" likewise accompanies the veal — a presentation that's too China Grill-ish. Tuyo's trio of talented chefs should have come up with a more compelling combo.

"'Fallen' bittersweet chocolate soufflé" is a fraudulent if tasty little dessert composed of three small, flat squares of chocolate cake, each chilled and stuck onto an equally cold plate. A trio of creamy mousse-like chocolate crémeux and chocolate crostini are the best parts of the composition; white powdery puffs that look like clumps of confectioner's sugar are pellets of "olive oil dust" that add a salty touch. Presumably the moist, almost undercooked nature of the cake is what affords it the "soufflé" label, but this is like selling someone a "grounded plane" that turns out to be a car.

A disk of rich pumpkin cheesecake gets presented with graham streusel, cranberry compote, and a trio of "torched marshmallow" sticks that are supposed to lend a "s'mores" aspect but are cold and plastic-like. It's not a bad idea to invest in artisanal cheese selections, thoughtfully plated with whole-wheat fruit bread, candied pecans, muscadine jam, and membrillo.

The host who escorted us on the elevator ride up to the restaurant gave a very brief rundown on Tuyo, including the fact that the venue is located in a fine culinary school — but with a smiling assurance that professionals would be serving our meals. I would rather have taken my chances with students. A weeknight evening brought lackluster service. And a busy weekend dinner was marred by all manner of negligence: The serving and removing of plates took way too long, water glasses remained unfilled throughout, another group's dishes were mistakenly brought to our table, and amuse-bouches were inadvertently taken to diners after they'd finished dessert (or, as mentioned earlier, not brought to others at all).

The average cost of a starter is $17, and that of an entrée is $34; desserts are $10. That's too expensive for such shoddy service. And the pricing is also too high for there to be as many selections on the small menu that are "not as good" as Van Aken can be.

That said, he remains a local culinary icon. If you are one of the many longtime fans of his New World fusion or have never tried it, Tuyo is the only place to do so.

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Its amazing after all these years that Newtimes Miami can still employ someone who only gives an opinion,which is normally not worth the paper it,s printed on and inaccurate,to inform us consumers what,s happening at new eateries.His reviews are rarely even close to what he writes.And once again ,it,s only his opinion.Get over yourself and PLEASE!!!, Miami get over this self-proclaimed FOOD CRITIC?????


You are too impressed with Norman for being Norman.He is a good guy but his time has passed. He has had a bunch of failures of late and I think Tuyo will be one as well. The menu is too limited,especially the appetizers, and the atmosphere is way too stuffy. I felt like I needed a monacle and a pipe to eat there. The restaurant has potential but they need to come down to earth. The whole concept is sort of anti fun and pro stiff.


His time passed? Would you say that to the numerous chefs out there that have successful businesses decades old? You have not learned that success is failure turned inside out? It is called the power of persistence and Tuyo is just another business like any other business. If something happens in the future, it will only be a location fading away because true talent does not fade my friend and you have some extremely talented chefs in that kitchen, some that make other chefs ears burn when they hear they name, but THAT is a good thing in its own right. Too stuffy? No, it's called "class" something that apparently Miami has lost a lot of maybe because of spending too many nights eating at mediocre restaurants run by a bunch of duffuses sporting their muscles and goatees. Give me a break. Thank god you think its not for you, that should of been the concept all along, to weed out people like you who have NO IDEA what fine cuisine is.