In parts one and two of this series, we introduced our mission statement so to speak: To separate those Miami Spice deals that are worth taking advantage of, and those that are not. We decide between the two by asking: Should a $50-plus dinner, in this specific restaurant, be considered a bargain?
Only things that need repeating:
*We estimate a Miami Spice dinner, after tax, tip, and nonalcoholic beverage, to come to about $50.
*And that most working class folks consider $50, or $100 per couple, to be a considerable sum of money to spend on dinner. They have a right to expect more than a no-frills meal.
Not all of the Spice menus have yet been released, but if you want to see those that have been, go to ilovemiamispice, click ilovemiamispice.com/participants, then click the restaurant you're interested in.
Yesterday's Asian edition featured just one restaurant -- Hakkasan -- that made the grade. That's because when paying $50 for Chinese food, it's gotta be really really special to be considered a bargain. Today's steakhouses should prove the opposite, as these establishment are normally so expensive that the Spice price almost always implies a big savings in money. But is the meal you get worth it? Read on...
This one is pretty straightforward: You get the same salad bar, same
endless cuts of meat sliced at your table, same side dishes, and
selection of any one of the restaurant's desserts -- but instead of
paying $46.50 before tax and tip, you pay $35. Plus Fogo de Chao is one
of our better churrascarias.
Start with heirloom tomato salad, yellow fin tuna tartar, or summer
corn-jumbo lump crab risotto. Trio of main course picks entails grilled
hanger steak with fingerling potatoes, roasted shallots and béarnaise
sauce, miso-marinated black cod with Asian vegetables and sticky rice,
or Berkshire pork ribs with BBQ habanero sauce and corn bread. Desserts
are passion fruit mousse with coconut sorbet, tiramisú brownie with
espresso gelato, or milk chocolate candy bar with salted caramel
sorbet. Offered every night but Saturday. It's a thoughtful, appealing
selection of dishes -- would have been nice to get a steak cut above
hanger, but Gotham gives enough to make it a deal.
Red The Steakhouse - We gave Red a big thumbs up in part one.
The choice duo of starters is beefsteak tomato & gorgonzola salad
or lobster bisque. Main courses come with family style vegetables, and
includes a 12-ounce N.Y. strip steak; 12 oz. prime ribs of beef;
herb-grilled chicken breast or pan-seared mahi mahi. Dessert is choice
of chocolate molten lava cake, Key lime pie, or créme brulée. Lobster
bisque, nice size steak, and a classic dessert is a deal -- any night
of the week.
Let's see, should you start with a Morton's salad, or a Caesar salad?
Should you finish with chocolate mousse or créme brulée? Those are the
picks of courses one and three. In between you select among a "single
cut" filet mignon, broiled salmon, or chicken with garlic beurre blanc.
Plus either a vegetable or potato. Offered every night, but still, this
is what you call a grudging Spice menu.
Rumor has it that this menu was composed by a descendant of the great
Charles Dickens. His name is Scrooge. Diners can begin with either
iceberg or butterleaf lettuce salads, or tiger prawn "krispies" in
shrimp bisque. Entrees are yellowtail snapper with ponzu, organic
chicken with butternut squash, salsify, and mushrooms, or beef short
rib with carrot butterscotch, celery, and cipollini onions. Kiddie
desserts include choice of cheese cake lollipops, mini ice cream cones,
or cotton candy of the day. The important thing to note is that this
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steakhouse is not offering any type of steak in the deal. Not proffered
Fridays or Saturdays.
The Grill on the Alley - We considered it a no-deal in part one.
BLT Steak, Meat Market, Smith & Wollensky, and Texas de Brazil have yet to release menus. We'll catch up with them later.