After sunset, the beautiful vista outside fades into a black abyss; the hotel does not keep the lights on around the pool at night, and you'll just have to accept on faith that the ocean is out there. Even sunny days can't compete with a large, charcoal-gray structural pole, which entirely blocked our window view on one occasion.

The staff is certainly well trained, but while the service was attentive and friendly, the sentiment was fairly robotic. A young woman arrived at our table to greet us one evening and said, "Hello, the Elliotts?" My girlfriend and I, perplexed, looked at each other and then back at the woman. My first thought was that gay marriage (sadly) isn't legal in Florida. I explained that my female companion didn't share the same last name. Another evening brought a gentleman who repeated my last name so often that I heard "Mrs. Elliott" more during the meal than throughout the course of my marriage. It's worth noting that not every woman carries her husband's last name. Perhaps Mrs. Vongerichten is simply thrilled to be so termed, but not all of us embrace such formality in 2012.

The wine list is comprehensive, but by-the-glass options allow for an excellent pairing experience. The 2010 La Craie Sancerre is a good midpriced option at $14 per glass, and although we found an Argentine Cabernet to be on the sweet side, the Belle Glos Meiomi Pinot Noir from Sonoma possessed just the right amount of peppery goodness (and the price was right at $13). There's also an extensive list of rums and tequilas, ranging from $12 for the basics to $58 for a taste of the superhero of aged rum, Pyrat Cask 1623. J&G makes its own sodas in-house, including sour orange and spicy passionfruit concoctions that can be mixed into cocktails.

Sautéed Florida pink shrimp with key lime yogurt and red radish.
Sautéed Florida pink shrimp with key lime yogurt and red radish.

Location Info

Map

St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort

9703 Bal Harbour Blvd.
Miami Beach, FL 33154

Category: Hotels and Resorts

Region: North Dade

Details

J&G Grill

305-993-3333
jggrillmiami.com

Lunch Monday through Friday noon to 3:30 p.m.; dinner daily 6 to 11 p.m.; brunch Saturday and Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; bar menu available from 5 p.m.

Sautéed Florida pink shrimp $18
Salmon sashimi $14
Spring pea soup $10
Milk-fed veal chop $46
Soy-glazed short ribs $28
Parmesan-crusted Ashley Farms chicken $24

The passionate love that is a passionfruit soufflé should not be denied, so save room for dessert. The spike of acidity makes this fruit an unusual choice for a soufflé, but for those who desire a little savory in their sweet, it's the perfect ending. Ginger ice cream, rich with the essence of a spicy assertiveness, paired tremendously well with the tangy fruit. For the kid inside, Vongerichten brought his "salted caramel ice cream sundae" from New York's ABC Kitchen (although Miami gets a price break; it's $12 at ABC and only $9 at J&G). Topped with candied peanuts, caramel popcorn, and thick chocolate sauce, this sundae beats anything you can get at Dairy Queen.

Valet parking is complimentary, and if you stop by the hostess stand on your way out, she will call ahead to reduce the wait time.

With so many celebrated national chefs entering the Miami market lately, it's difficult to rank where these vaunted transplants fall on an increasingly star-studded local culinary landscape. But Vongerichten and Gras surely have a hit with J&G Grill, one of the best new fine-dining establishments to join the Magic City pack.

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1 comments
kramer
kramer

great article. I like the culinary observations. I do not however agree with the overly formal service, or the 'over-usage of last names' comments. This is Miami afterall--great consistent service is mia in MIA. I think using someones last name in an effort to make a guest feel 'known and welcome' is not a problem with 99% of guests that frequent chef forward restaurants. I do not think this restaurant is trying to be a formal fine dining experience (hence the word "grille" in the name)....but rather, excellent fine dining food in a highly trained, warm, sophisticated but not stuffy environment :).

As for the unlit pool, and dark view after the sun goes down, (something I myself could not help but notice too), I was told that they are respecting the area turtles natural habitat.

 
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