17. Flash Marinated Snapper Ceviche at The Villa by Barton G
New Times' Best of Miami 2012 issue is coming June 14. Until then, Short Order will serve up 100 of our favorite dishes in the 305. If you have any nominations of your own, please send them to email@example.com.
Those fortunate enough to stay at or dine in The Villa by Barton G are paraded through a piece of Miami history. A decade and a half ago, the opulent oasis on the corner of 11th of Ocean Drive was the home of Miami's most famous resident, who would sadly also become it's most tragic. Gianni Versace may have been killed on the steps of what is now The Villa, but, as its executive chef Jeff O'Neill would attest, his opulence and style lives on in its courses and service.
The flash marinated snapper ceviche ($26) is representative of the restaurant's flair and its chef's attention to detail. Unlike traditional ceviche, which is usually marinated for hours and even days in lemon and lime, the snapper at The Villa sees citrus for all but four minutes from the time it is prepared to the time it hits your lips.
O'Neill, formerly of the famous Le Bernardin in New York City, starts with the freshest local snapper -- whether it be yellowtail, red, mutton, etc. -- diced in perfect cubes and arranged in a circle on the plate. Atop the finely diced raw fish goes a myriad of toppings -- garlic flower, coriander, basil, lemon balm, radish to name a few -- that alternate over the snapper to provide different accented flavors with every bite. Also served with the snapper is a slightly pickled shrimp that is prepared prior by being doused in a mixture of simple syrup and rice vinegar. Around the preparation goes a blend of tangelo and key lime juice, spotted with Thai basil oil and spiced tomato oil.
Despite a plethora of flavors, none quite overpower the other. The resulting taste and attention to detail is what you pay for with anything Barton G puts his hands on.
"With Barton, you are forced to think on a different wavelength," O'Neill said about the hospitality master. "You have to show him something he's never seen before."
100 Favorite Dishes
43. Ackee Empanadas at Vegetarian Restaurant by Hakin
44. Seafood Orgy at CVI.CHE 105
45. Rio Acai Bowl at Apple A Day
46. Aji Amarillo Ceviche at My Ceviche
47. Lunch Boat Special at Benihana
48. Victoria Station at The News Lounge
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