BEST WATERFRONT DINING (2005)
500 Brickell Key Drive
305-913-8251 Being a restaurant located directly beneath the nationally acclaimed kitchens of Azul is something like being Dolly Parton's shoes -- you get little recognition. Too bad, because few dining establishments boast as bedazzling a view of Biscayne Bay as Café Sambal, the waters practically slapping the seashell-studded terrazzo floor of the outdoor patio. Well, maybe there are a couple of other restaurants offering such vivacious vistas, but none features chef Paul Miller's splashy and inventive Asian dishes. Sushi selections are pretty and pristine, the five-spice honey-glazed spare ribs put the standard Chinese version to shame, and main courses like teriyaki seared salmon in green-tea butter sauce are as refreshing as ocean spray. Prices are shockingly sane -- the salmon entrée, for instance, is $21, which ain't bad for dining in stunning al fresco style at the Mandarin Oriental. Café Sambal offers this same soothing setting for breakfast and lunch too.
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