By David Minsky
By Jen Mangham
By Bill Wisser
By Laine Doss
By Bill Wisser
By Dana De Greff
By Laine Doss
By Zachary Fagenson
The eclectic selection of craft beers is more affordable: Eight of ten brews are $6 to $8 (including Well's Banana Bread Beer from England and Shiner Ruby Redbird, with red grapefruit and ginger notes, from Texas).
The house-made boerewors is a South African farmers' sausage (in Afrikaans, boer means "farmer"; wors is "sausage"). Here the beef-and-pork sausage arrives slathered with sweet tomato chutney that seems too cloying and clumpy a foil; it cloaks the allspice-coriander seasonings (the chutney is a spin on tomato-onion relish served atop the traditional hot-dog-like "boerewors roll"). Fried eggs are laced over the top of the sausage as well; the menu reads "local chicken or duck eggs," which I took to mean whatever the kitchen had at the time. In fact, it's the diner's choice, which should be mentioned by the only waiter, Jeremiah Sutherland, who fills out the Nemesis team trio. He did a solid job otherwise, but when the room fills, the one-man system can lead to service stalls.
Main courses are less playful than the precursors. A gigantic 16-ounce bone-in rib eye was served to a patron nearby, and it looked like what you'd get at a standard steak house — in other words, incredibly tempting. It's $38, but all other mains are $12 to $27.
1035 N. Miami Ave.
Miami, FL 33136
A trio of huge, meaty scallops was grilled perfectly, the interiors resembling translucent pearls. The seafood is stocked with a saffron-steeped tomato sauce studded with currants and ground chorizo. This assemblage might be relatively conservative for Nemesis, but it still features taste notes rarely encountered.
The ratatouille "renovation" is different too. Softly braised rounds of eggplant are piled with thin, crisp, al dente slices of zucchini. A sherry-spiked tomato sauce and teeny fried capers round out the gratifying vegetarian course.
Rooibos (pronounced ROY-boss) is a legume from South Africa, where it's used mostly in the making of herbal tea. The sweet, fruity, herbal taste is not only touted in a tomato oil here, but also flavors the ice cream atop malva pudding — an Afrikaner treat that's more spongy than custardy. Amarula sauce and piri piri caramel caress the cake; the former is made from a sweet caramel-tasting cream liqueur, and piri piri is a chili pepper.
If the dining experience here doesn't rise to the level of great art, it certainly is handcrafted. In fact, I suggest that the lettering on the front door of Nemesis might instead be changed to the kind of disclaimer found on the labels of leather goods and organic items:
"Any imperfections you might encounter are a distinctive byproduct of the natural, handmade process involved in putting together this restaurant. These flaws only ensure that your experience here will be genuine and uniquely one-of-a-kind."