BEST ARGENTINE RESTAURANT Miami 2005 - The Knife
954-456-6822 "Best Argentine Restaurant" may as well be synonymous with "Best Argentine Steak House," because Argentine restaurants are almost always steak houses. And this year's pick is unquestionably a red-meat joint -- make no mistake about it. If you are a vegetarian, don't bother reading further. Certainly you wouldn't be interested in this: a large, festive restaurant decked out in warm woods and neutral tones, filled with the buzz of excited, intoxicated patrons chatting loudly and gesticulating wildly (the place is a hit among Argentines, no surprise there). Waiters bring bowls of hot French fries and baskets of fresh bread to the tables, while diners scurry away from the self-service, all-you-can-eat grill with metal plates displaying succulent sausages, ribs, steaks, and sweetbreads. In front of the grill, a cold salad bar teems with Russian salad, fresh mozzarella, ripe red tomatoes, greens, vegetables, nuts, and dressings. The waiter brings a bottle of Argentine wine for each diner. You gorge, then get up for more, then do it all over again. And again. Finally the waiter offers you coffee (which here means espresso, with steamed milk if you like) or dessert (chocolate mousse, flan, ricotta torte). You accept because, after all, you are too drunk to say no to anything at this point. Then he brings the bill. You hold your breath. The total: $25 per person. Can it be? Yes, it can. The Knife is a fixed-price, all-you-can-eat steak house, and the quality is fixed too -- at superb. And that's why, though we know there are plenty of good Argentine restaurants in Miami-Dade (Graziano's Parrilla Argentina, Zuperpollo, Rincon Argentino), we must give credit where credit is due, and that's just a bit north of the county line.