Miami Spice: The Good, the Best, and the Misses (Part 3)
If you love a restaurant, you'll probably love its Miami Spice menu too.
But certain places succeed for reasons beyond personal taste. These spots proffer great deals, extensive choices, or special items such as complimentary wine.
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, in our opinion, the best of the bunch.
Fine Dining - Lunch $19, Dinner $33
This Argentine restaurant includes a glass of wine (torrontés or malbec) at both lunch and dinner. During the day, patrons can select from dishes like Mediterranean mussels, empanada de morcilla, sirloin steak tagliata, and bread pudding. All that and a glass of wine for just $19. Dinner features sweet breads, lamb chops, and tagliatelle. Available for lunch and dinner daily, except all day Saturday and dinner Friday.
Biscayne Tavern succeeds for two reasons. First, its dinner menu includes beer (or a soft drink). Second, guests can choose from 12 appetizers, 7 entrées, and 5 desserts. Available for lunch and dinner daily.
It's surprising to see Tongue & Cheek in the fine-dining category. On its regular menu, main courses cost about $20 or $30. For Miami Spice, chef Jamie DeRosa offers bone marrow, chilled English pea soup, a Sardinian-style seafood paella, Rhode Island squid, and salted pretzel ice cream. The bill of fare lists a selection of more than 13 items for dinner. All good choices -- and at such a great price. Available for dinner daily.
Pubbelly's Miami Spice menu is all about sharing. The bill of fare features four courses -- one of which is dedicated to swine. Patrons pick three "start ups" (dates avec chorizo, croquetas, fried chicken, heirloom tomatoes, and local cobia crudo), two dumplings, two "pig out" items (ham-braised pork cheeks, pork belly, pork meatballs, and barbecued pork "wings"), and one vegetable (green beans, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli rabe). Desserts are selected off the chalkboard. Bonus points: The restaurant recently announced a Miami Spice pop-up dinner with chef Makoto Okuwa on August 27. Available for dinner Tuesday through Sunday.
Edge Steak & Bar offers a peanut butter and jelly dessert -- peanut butter mousse, strawberry gelée, and banana financier. There's also braised lamb, grilled mahi-mahi, chicken and truffle croquetas, and corvina chowder. Available for lunch Monday through Saturday; dinner daily.
Of the hundreds of restaurants participating in Miami Spice, Blue Collar is the only place serving Chanukah latkes. Add Long Island duck and butterscotch Heath bar bread pudding, and you've got a true Spice champ. Available for dinner daily.
Like its sibling Pubbelly, Macchialina wants you to share with friends. Select three first-course dishes (like swordfish carpaccio, local burrata, and escarole salad), three second-course plates (such as creamy polenta, arancini, and veal and pork meatballs), two third-course dishes (like hog snapper and slow-roasted porchetta), and one dessert (tiramisu or bread pudding). Macchialina offers a cocktail -- Cocchi vermouth, lemon, prosecco -- for an extra $8. Available for dinner Tuesday through Sunday.
Luxury Dining - Lunch $23, Dinner $39
At J&G Grill, Jean-Georges Vongerichten's restaurant in Bal Harbour, patrons can select from appetizers like swordfish tataki with yuzu-mustard vinaigrette or fresh calamari filled with lamb sausage. Entrées include smoked trout BLT for dinner and grilled sea scallops for lunch. Then it's time for executive pastry chef Antonio Bachour to shine. Bachour offers coconut whipped ganache with coconut snow and coconut dacquoise, as well as lemon cremeux with Greek yogurt and green apple sorbet. If it sounds fancy, it's because it is. Available for lunch Monday through Friday; dinner daily.
At The Bazaar by José Andrés, the menu focuses on small plates. For Miami Spice, patrons select one appetizer -- the bao con lechón or kueh pai ti are the most filling and best deals. They then follow with three petite entrées from a selection of about 18, which range from stuffed olives to sautéed shrimp. This is a great place, and a great opportunity to find out what the hell everyone is raving about. Available Sunday through Thursday; dinner only.
If you work near Brickell, check out Toscana Divino during lunch. The Tuscan restaurant serves hamachi tartar, roasted and puréed cauliflower with pancetta, pappardelle with pork shoulder ragu, roasted chicken, and organic honey pineapple panna cotta. Available for lunch Monday through Friday; dinner daily.
A nice dinner at the Cypress Room typically costs about $100 per person. For Miami Spice, guests can select from three appetizers (daily soup, royal red shrimp risotto and beef carpaccio), four entrées (daily rotisserie, grilled local fish, daube of beef and the Cypress burger), and two desserts (ice cream and sorbet and chocolate pot de creme). Go for the burger. It's one of the best in town. Available for lunch Monday through Friday; dinner Monday through Thursday.
Hakkasan's weekend lunch is a very popular Spice option. The restaurant located at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach serves a dim sum combo -- including steamed char siu buns, shrimp dumplings, and spinach beef shuimai -- as well as a barbecue combo with grilled lamb skewers and roasted spare ribs. The second course includes crispy sea bass and stir-fried bok choy. Available for lunch Saturday and Sunday; dinner daily except Saturday.
Kris Wessel knows how to make beef, chicken, and fish worth your money. At Florida Cookery, Wessel's dinner menu features two appetizers (conch chowder and hot broiled good cheese with tomatoes), three entrées (pollo a la brasa, braised oxtail, and snapper), and three desserts (Key lime pie, bourbon chocolate cake, and a sorbet assortment). Vegetarians, rejoice: For lunch, the restaurant offers a "veggie dream" burger on a whole grain bun. Available daily for lunch and dinner.
This downtown restaurant by powerhouse chef and restauranteur Daniel Boulud lists squab ballotine en croute, grilled corvina and shrimp skewers, lobster rolls, Berkshire pork chops, and coconut panna cotta with guava foam and jackfruit sorbet on its menu. Available for lunch Monday through Friday; dinner Monday through Saturday.
Oak Tavern's bill of fare features dishes you would probably order off their regular menu anyway. Chef and owner David Bracha offers deviled eggs with paddlefish caviar, octopus a la plancha (usually $12), suckling pig (usually $24), and cobia (usually $24). The lunch menu proffers Bracha's bacon marmalade toast. Available for lunch Monday through Friday; dinner daily.
Like Macchialina and Pubbelly, PB Steak offers a menu that's meant to be shared. Guests can choose from dishes like braised short ribs, pancetta-wrapped pork tenderloin, steak tartar sliders, and yellowtail tacos. Around lunchtime, PB Steak turns into TacoBelly. The bill of fare switches to include guacamole, three tacos, one side dish, and dessert. Available for lunch Monday through Friday; dinner Sunday through Thursday.
Andrew Carmellini's the Dutch proffers chicken liver paté with clarified bone marrow, crispy duck confit, BBQ smoked ribs, and warm pecan pie with cinnamon anglaise for dinner. This South Beach restaurant, located at the W, is not holding anything back. Available for lunch and dinner daily.
Sorry, guys. If you want to sample Scott Conant's famous spaghetti with basil and tomato, you're going to have to pay a $12 supplement. But don't fret. That doesn't mean this Miami Spice menu isn't great. The restaurant features lamb agnolotti, olive oil poached swordfish, and coconut panna cotta -- which, by the way, is a very popular Spice dessert. Available for dinner daily except Saturday.
Restaurant Michael Schwartz offers three entrées for dinner: pan-roasted local fish, grilled hanger steak, and pan-roasted half chicken. Desserts include corn and blueberry bread pudding and a brownie sundae with buttered popcorn gelato. The lunch menu is even better -- featuring fish stew, lobster salad, grass-fed beef carpaccio, and a veggie burger. Available for lunch Monday through Friday; dinner Sunday through Thursday.
At this Aventura restaurant, guests can pick from three appetizers (ahi tuna poke, sweet corn risotto and crispy duck confit salad), five entrées (seared sea scallops, Moroccan-spiced New York strip, organic chicken breast, Alaskan king crab béarnaise -- $10 supplement -- and 3-ounce Hudson Valley foie gras), and three desserts. Three ounces of foie is tiny, so it's best to go to Bourbon Steak for the rest. Available for dinner daily.
Follow Emily on Twitter @EmilyCodik.
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