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  • Article

    Porterhouse Profits

    When Andre's Steakhouse on Marco Island changed its name to Tara Steak & Lobster House last year, it was a strategic gesture in advance of a planned expansion to at least four other outlets in South Florida. The basic steak-house formula is simple en...

    by Lee Klein on February 10, 2005
  • Article

    Masterful Thai

    For lovers of authentic Southeast Asian cooking, discovering that Vatcharin Bhumichtir is chef at a neighborhood Thai restaurant in North Beach is akin to learning that Emeril Lagasse just opened a gumbo shack in Overtown. It's not the caliber of the...

    by Pamela Robin Brandt on February 10, 2005
  • Article

    Low Prices, Low Prospects

    The word tinello, according to Tinello Cucina Italiana's menu, translates as a "cozy dining room where friends and family get together." There might be some positive adjectives we can summon for this place, but "cozy" isn't one of them. The sparsely ...

    by Lee Klein on February 3, 2005
  • Article

    The Taste of Lebanon

    For people born toward the end of Twentieth Century, who are familiar with Lebanon mainly through horrific photographs of wartime Beirut's bombed-out rubble, it's difficult to imagine that not so much earlier (during a twenty-year French occupation b...

    by Pamela Robin Brandt on February 3, 2005
  • Article

    How to Love the French

    Cocopelli Caf is a curious name for a French bistro, not much better than calling your brasserie Vinnie's Diner. An outdoor deck leading to the caf is a concrete mess, with a few tables and some scraggly shrubs surrounding the periphery. The awning...

    by Lee Klein on January 27, 2005
  • Article

    Time Wasted

    Most restaurant reviews take no more than a couple of weeks to complete, even here at New Times, where the (responsible) policy is for critics to make at least two visits before making a judgment. This review has been in the works since last spring, ...

    by Pamela Robin Brandt on January 27, 2005
  • Article

    Costa Marred

    A deluge of rain cascaded over our car as we drove toward the Spanish restaurant Costa Mar. We were approaching Rascal House, which tempted me to pull over, grab some shelter and corned-beef sandwiches, and try Costa Mar another night. But we were ju...

    by Lee Klein on January 20, 2005
  • Article

    Vietnamese the Right Way

    Pho! Phabulous pho! Phinally! Okay, apologies for being cute, but true phans of pho (pronounced like the French feu) will understand. Mediocre versions of this addictive Vietnamese beef-noodle concoction are so much the rule here in the Americas th...

    by Pamela Robin Brandt on January 20, 2005
  • Article

    London Galling

    Concerning culinary schools, I've been on both sides of the lectern. The moment I remember most vividly as a student occurred at the Culinary Institute of America, when my teacher picked up a bowl of hollandaise sauce I had just finished making and h...

    by Lee Klein on January 13, 2005
  • Article

    Seafood Fresh, Not Fast

    Suggesting as it does that the place is a one-and-only sort of joint run by a guy named Joe, the name "Joey's Only Seafood Restaurant" is a little questionable for a chain eatery. And Joey's Only is indeed a chain. Unlike McD's, however, Joey's is a ...

    by Pamela Robin Brandt on January 13, 2005
  • Article

    Pleasingly Peru

    For those who love to dine out, strolling along Giralda Avenue in Coral Gables is like being a kid again and traipsing through the aisles of a candy store -- a global one at that, with alluringly packaged delights from Spain (La Dorada), Italy (La Ga...

    by Lee Klein on January 6, 2005
  • Article

    Nada but Empanadas

    There are strong similarities in many dishes originating in Latin America and the Caribbean, but there are also differences, however subtle. It is a source of frustration for people who like to taste-test food analytically that so many Miami ethnic e...

    by Pamela Robin Brandt on January 6, 2005
  • Article

    Somewhere Between Hope and Hopeless

    As we entered Chef Curtis's Village Caf in downtown Miami Shores, inattentiveness manifested itself immediately in terminal yellow roses on the tabletops, barely clinging to life in chintzy vases. A coffee-shop counter runs in an L-shape across one ...

    by Lee Klein on December 30, 2004
  • Article

    Crazy for Caviar

    It's traditional to eat certain foods at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve to ensure good luck in the coming year. This lucky food varies from country to country. Cubans eat twelve grapes. In Germany, Poland, and Scandinavia the first bite is ...

    by Pamela Robin Brandt on December 30, 2004
  • Article

    Style in Search of Substance

    Caramelo Restaurant has beautiful plateware: elongated rectangles of red and clear glass, white teardrops and triangles, bowls that look like miniature Morris Lapidus sculptures. Weighty silverware sparkles atop meticulously crisp white linens, as do...

    by Lee Klein on December 23, 2004
  • Article

    Kung Pao Christmas

    Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring -- except the delivery guy from the Chinese restaurant. Each country has its own age-old Xmas Eve culinary customs. In Italy it's a multicourse seafood feast for ...

    by Pamela Robin Brandt on December 23, 2004
  • Article

    Gaucho Meats Cowboy

    Texas and Brazil are both sizable, sun-drenched territories inhabited by cattle, cowboys, and proud, beef-eating people with hearty appetites. Makes sense, then, that the Texas de Brazil Churrascaria chain would post its first restaurant in the Lone ...

    by Lee Klein on December 16, 2004
  • Article

    Tenpins and Cocktails

    On the glam sports scale, bowling has always ranked right up there with croquet and badminton. That's not to badmouth bowling. In fact, it's probably bowling's nonglamorousness that makes it nonintimidating as a participatory sport, even for a desk p...

    by Pamela Robin Brandt on December 16, 2004
  • Article

    Kyung Ju Kicks

    "Axis of evil" status notwithstanding, North Korea, and South too, are actually very good when it comes to provoking a proliferation of potent flavors from their cuisine. This has been the case since the Sixteenth Century, when the Portuguese introdu...

    by Lee Klein on December 9, 2004
  • Article

    Lost but Found

    For ethnic food enthusiasts, there's no greater thrill than finding a very small, very hidden eatery -- and no greater compliment than to call it a "hole in the wall." Sushi Deli takes the compliment almost too far. Located on the bottom floor of a n...

    by Pamela Robin Brandt on December 9, 2004
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