Kris Wessel's Oolite Opens in South Beach (Photos)
Oolite opens June 19.
All photos by Laine Doss
Kris Wessel's new South Beach restaurant, Oolite, is open and we stopped in for a peek and a cocktail.
Large signs outside the restaurant, located in the former Cooper Avenue space just off Lincoln Road, give a June 19 opening date, but the bar is open now at 6 p.m. (Earlier if there's a World Cup game.)
Oolite, named after the limestone and coral foundation that South Florida sits on, is a fitting name for this restaurant that continues the James Beard-nominated chef's love affair with Florida's culinary roots.
Dishes on the bar menu read like a Miami travelogue. Smoked yellow jack with salty Key lime zucchini ($12); oxtail ($18); Florida white water clams with lentil roti and safflower aioli ($16); and dry rub, hot smoke, slow-braised ribs with guanabana ($14/$26). Fans of chef Wessel will be pleased to note that his signature BBQ shrimp is on the menu ($14), as are tostones with avocado and lime ($8), a perfect foil for the World Cup-inspired cocktails featuring cachaca.
The cocktails, by the way, are interesting and potent and the bar is stocked with all manner of interesting craft spirits and a small, but nicely curated, selection of draft beers including Funky Buddha Crusher IPA ($7); Sculpin Indian Pale Ale ($7); and Smutty Nose Brown Ae ($8).
We tried a Tranquilo y Tropical ($8). Made with Avna cachaca; Amburana; Amara Nonino; Luxardo Maraschino, and chocolate bitters, it was a full-bodied and complex cocktail that was a little sweet, a little spicy, with a hint of tobacco and smoke.
Though the restaurant doesn't go into full swing until tomorrow, this was a taste of good things to come. Oolite will be open for dinner daily from 6:30 to 11 p.m. (except Sundays).
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