AQ by Acqualina: Dewey LoSasso's Whimsical Food in a Five-Star Hotel
Cocktails before dinner at the AQ Acqualina bar.
Photos by Laine Doss
Chef Dewey LoSasso is obviously proud of his new tenure at Acqualina Resort & Spa. And why not? The plush Sunny Isles hotel is beautiful. The design gives the resort a vibe that's less South Beach and more large Mediterranean villa. Driving up to the valet stand ($8 with restaurant validation), your Toyota might feel inadequate around all the Bentleys. Not to worry -- they'll play nicely together while you're dining.
Recently opened AQ by Acqualina features modern American cuisine from Chef LoSasso in a large dining room that feels like you're eating in the hotel's lobby. Soaring ceilings keep the music and conversation loud, as if you're inside a bell jar. Guests also can opt to sit outside and listen to the sounds of the surf just a few yards away, yielding a more pleasant experience if the weather plays nice.
LoSasso's menu at first might read like a list of safe crowd pleasers, but look further at the preparations. A roasted Bell & Evans chicken is served with charred bread soup, wheat berries, and lemon ($19/36); herb-crusted filet mignon is accompanied by Yorkshire porcini pudding and marrow toast ($38); and a chopped escarole salad gets topped with grouper cheeks, pistachio dust, and avocado oil powder ($11).
Short Order was invited to sample some of LoSasso's dishes -- some sophisticated, some playful. Here's what we experienced:
Twenty-hour charred octopus brought tender morsels served on crostini with roasted garlic spread and olives ($11).
"Spaghetti 'O' WIth a Kick" is the name of this dish. A childhood favorite gets an adult rework when pasta O's are paired with a nutty mushroom crema. For the "kick," bite into the charred serrano chiles or add them to your pasta ($10 small portion, $19 large portion).
Herb-seared yellowfin tuna "Marsala" is a welcome change from the usual chicken or veal ($30).
An assortment of desserts, including peanut butter and jelly cups, crème brûlée, and cheesecake mousse finish off the evening.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Miami dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.
More Food & Drink News
- World Famous Alinea Popping Up in Miami in Mid-February, Tickets on Sale Dec. 3
Tue., Jan. 19, 6:30pm
Wed., Jan. 20, 7:30pm
Fri., Jan. 22, 6:00pm
Sat., Jan. 23, 8:00pm
- Pisco y Nazca in West Kendall Brings Peruvian Passion
- Katsuya Executive Chef Says We're Eating Sushi Wrong, Talks Argentinian Influences