If Miami Spice were a little-league team, certain restaurants would receive only participation awards. Sure, they're playing the game. They're offering three-course menus and presenting them as a deal. But stronger bonuses (such as featured cocktails) and fewer letdowns (such as tilapia ceviche) are keeping these restaurants off the field and on the bench.
As part of our Miami Spice coverage, we've checked out all the menus to find the good, the best, and the misses. What follows are the offerings, in our opinion, that come up short. Check back tomorrow for our picks for the best of the bunch.
See also: Miami Spice: The Good
Fine Dining - Lunch $19, Dinner $33
This Brickell newcomer should have known better than to charge $33 for a three-course dinner menu and then include a roasted chicken croquette as an appetizer. Yes, that's right -- una croquetica, one piece per person. The Spanish restaurant also includes first courses such as pork rinds, sangría-infused watermelon, and a salmon cone. Entrées feature crispy prawns, octopus, and marinated tomato tartar. So if you must dine at Perfecto during Miami Spice, skip the croqueta and marinated tomato tartare. Available for lunch and dinner daily, except Sunday.
Hey there, Soyka. We appreciate the gesture. We really do. But we rather not pay $33 for a dinner menu that features tilapia ceviche and tilapia almondine. Oh, and if you were wondering whether there is also skirt steak on the Spice menu, the answer is yes. Available for lunch Monday through Friday; dinner Sunday through Thursday.
I hope you love gazpacho. At Wynwood Kitchen & Bar, the Miami Spice menu begins with an automatic serving of the chilled soup. Patrons can then select from two appetizers (chicken skewers and Greek salad), two entrées (crispy pork and adobo-rubbed chicken), and two desserts (rice pudding and chocolate fan). The good news is this: if you hate gazpacho, you can order chicken twice. Available for lunch Monday through Saturday; dinner Monday through Thursday.
Fried oysters or meatballs with potato purée? Roasted chicken or salmon with vegetables? Chocolate mousse or s'mores? Those are the only choices available at Charles St., the Collins Avenue restaurant located at the Boulan South Beach hotel. Available for lunch and dinner daily.
Luxury Dining - Lunch $23, Dinner $39
Where are the scallop dumplings, the crispy shrimp, the crunchy rice cakes, and the lobster rolls? These dishes -- the most popular at Catch Miami -- are missing from the South Beach restaurant's Spice menu. Instead, diners can choose from items like beet salad, branzino, or mushroom spaghetti. Available for dinner only Sunday through Thursday.
Vegetables are affordable. Villa Azur's $95 16-ounce Wagyu gold beef dish is not. Which might explain why the restaurant's Miami Spice menu includes three vegetable appetizers (cucumber gazpacho, red beet carpaccio, and melon tartar), two uninspired entrées (branzino and veal medallion), and something called eclair choco-café. Available for dinner only, Monday through Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
This Bal Harbour restaurant proffers classic dinner options: caprese salad, pan-roasted salmon, chicken, grilled pork chop, and a selection of ice cream for dessert. A little more innovation wouldn't have hurt. Available for lunch Monday through Friday; dinner daily.
Well, this sure sounds familiar. Milos' Spice lunch is nearly identical to the restaurant's $24.07 menu which is available year-round. The restaurant's dinner features two appetizer platters, two entrées (Mediterranean seabass and lamb chop, both served with family-style Greek salad), and three desserts (Greek yogurt with honey, walnut cake, and seasonal fruit). A little more pristine seafood -- the stuff that gave Milos mad street cred -- would have been better. Open daily for lunch and dinner.
At the Forge, diners can choose from two appetizers (shrimp gazpacho and corn ravioli), three entrées (salmon, hanger steak, and chicken breast), and cheesecake. Yes, that's salmon, hanger steak, or chicken breast in a $39 menu. Available for dinner daily except Saturday.
You've got to be smart about 660's Miami Spice menu. If you order the black bean soup (usually $6), the rack of chicken (usually $19), and dessert, this dinner won't be much of a deal. Those who are looking to get their money's worth should opt for the scallop tiradito ceviche (usually $9) and 12-ounce Prime New York strip (usually $29) instead. Otherwise, nothing special here. Available for dinner only, Tuesday through Sunday.
BLT Steak's dinner menu isn't bad. It features two appetizers (grilled peach salad and chef's choice ceviche), three entrées (surf and turf sushi roll, Wagyu culotte steak, and seared grouper), and two desserts (peanut butter mousse and mango panna cotta). But it's lunch offers two poor entrées: burger or fish sandwich. (Wine pairing available at an additional $25 -- or more -- per person.) Available for lunch Monday through Friday; dinner Sunday through Thursday.
How would you like to pay $39 for an appetizer, chicken teriyaki, and donuts? We kid you not. Katsuya's Miami Spice bill of fare also lists yellowtail jalapeño (four pieces), yaki soba noodles, and a weekly changing specialty roll. Available for dinner only, Sunday through Thursday.
Gotham Steak's Miami Spice menu has a few things going for it. The restaurant proffers roasted chicken breast paired with sancocho broth -- which is always a winner. It lists braised short ribs with whipped potatoes. It also includes an heirloom tomato salad, tuna tartar, and pan-seared mahi mahi. It's alright, just not very thrilling. Available for dinner daily except Saturday.
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On its bill of fare, Mr. Chow features Mr. Chow spare ribs and Mr. Chow noodles. Mr. Chow's menu also lists drunken fish, pork with sweet potato, and squab with lettuce. Available dinner Sunday through Thursday.
Follow Emily on Twitter @EmilyCodik.