Best Restaurants to Bite the Dust - 2009
Mark's South Beach and Sheba Ethiopian
More than two dozen local restaurants didn't live to see 2009 — a high body count, for sure. Two of the losses that sting most are those of Mark's South Beach and Sheba Ethiopian. Larry LaValley was a longtime executive chef at the former, but it was the brilliant culinary combinations of namesake chef Mark Militello that garnered the acclaim (to wit: pan-seared arctic char over English pea with farro risotto and beurre rouge). Militello, after all, is a James Beard Award winner and earned a place on the top tier of South Florida chefs via his celebrated Las Olas, Mizner Park, City Place, and South Beach properties — all of which bit the dust during the past 12 months. We will miss Sheba too — it was one of very few Ethiopian restaurants, perhaps the sole outlet for doro wat (chicken legs and thighs in berbere sauce), kifto (spicy tenderloin tartar), and kik alicha (yellow split peas with green peppers and herbs). Plus it was cool to scoop up the food with that sour, spongy injera bread. Now the good news: Nearby Kafa Café filled the void and is serving Ethiopian fare. Sheba will soon rise from the ashes and debut up in Hollywood. And chef Militello is helming 1 Bleu Restaurant in the Regent Bal Harbour.