To enter Bianca, the Delano Hotel restaurant that arrived at January's end, is to step back in time to South Beach during the heady '90s. In those days, fine-dining establishments could charge what they wanted for whatever fussed-up fusion cuisine they felt like serving. They could provide negligent service and give off the sort of pretentious, condescending attitude for which SoBe came to be known. Blue Door at the Delano was one such place, but to compare that Claude Troisgros conception to Bianca is unfair -- not just because the Las Vegas-based Light Group took over the Delano's eatery from China Grill Management last year, but also because Blue Door had great cuisine.
Somebody forgot to slip Bianca the news that dining in SoBe -- and the rest of Miami-Dade -- isn't the same as it used to be. We're over the overpricing, overhyping, and overbearing snootiness. We now have not only quality high-end establishments that care about locals, but also a stable of affordable neighborhood restaurants that dole out delectable chef-driven fare. In other words, we don't have to take it anymore.
At least Bianca's space is welcoming. The walk to the restaurant, through the updated but still sexily stylized Delano lobby, has always been an eye-opening treat. The lounge that buffers indoor and outdoor seating sections has been comfortably remodeled; the dining room interior, warmly dressed in cream and taupe, is likewise cozier. The outdoor veranda, generally the preferred seating area, remains as breezily inviting as ever.
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Bianca's executive chef is Brian Massie, but the menu appears to have been written by a focus group -- worse, a focus group of conservative diners who haven't been out of the house much lately. Starters are salmon carpaccio; burrata and prosciutto; "12 hour" meatballs; and grilled langoustine, octopus, or sardines. The last dish comes garnished with shaved fennel, apple, and Sicilian olives, one of the few creative matchups.
Read the full review of Bianca at the Delano here.
View photos of Bianca at the Delano here.