We're at the halfway mark for Miami Spice, and it's probably safe to say you've probably muttered those two the words one too many times by now. But with over a 180 restaurants offering $23 lunch and $39 dinner deals through the end of September, it's hard to map out which restaurants are worth the trek before Spice ends, and which aren't.
Buried in the heart of downtown Miami between road blocks and construction detours is Downtown Bistro. What looks like a hole-in-the-wall from the outside, is actually a hidden gem for anyone looking for a quiet, quaint, and delicious locale to eat. They identify themselves as a French-fusion eatery, putting modern spins on old favorites.
This year, their Miami Spice menu is hard to beat. With four unique courses, all sporting three to four dish options in each, it's not easy to settle on just one plate. And with that, we say bring a few diners with you to nosh away with — that way you'll get a little taste of everything. And trust me, it's worth it.
Here are some of the dishes we tried that are must-haves if you find yourself at the Bistro for Spice.
For anyone who loves cheese, two words: Fried brie. The dish is offered during the first course, and mixes in cranberry, apricot, and almonds, with apple compote. Don't bother trying to share this dish, though. There's no question it'll ignite some tension between you and your guests on who gets the final bite.
A great option for vegetarians, their fried goat cheese medallion is served on butternut puree, with a side of arugula, and truffle oil as an option for the second course.
But for the meat lovers of the world, you can't go wrong with their signature steak tartare. The raw filet mignon is cut by hand and incorporates capers, anchovies, onions, tabasco, dijon mustard, and a quail egg.
If you've managed to beat a food coma before the third course, the short rib ravioli is a clear cut choice. Though the dish does fall on the heavier side, the mixture of the four-cheese sauce, poached shrimp, and asparagus is too good to pass up. But if you're looking for something light and airy, try the steamed mussels marinated in a light blue cheese sauce.
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Dinner would not be complete without a sampling of the eatery's finest desserts. And it wouldn't be a French restaurant without a traditional Creme Brûlée. But to spice things up, a fried Oreo atop vanilla ice cream, and a flowery, chocolate mousse with almonds were also added to the mix.
So if you find yourself downtown, or just looking for a great Spice night, this is some of the food that would be happy to find a new home in your tummy.
Follow Clarissa Buch on Twitter.