Bonnie Schwartzer wrote in to let us know about Le Banyan, a new Thai restaurant. I haven't yet been, but Bonnie has, and really likes it. Here, with her permission, is what she had to say:
"I would like to recommend a restaurant called Le Banyan, located at 7300 Ocean Terrace, Miami Beach (305-397-8261). It is a gourmet Thai restaurant. The chef is from Thailand and the owners have a sister restaurant in Paris -- so it is a really nice mix of Thai food and French influence. NOTE: It is not like any of those run-of-the-mill, Miami-style Thai restaurants that are located all around town.
I have been there twice and I think it is the best Thai food that I have ever experienced -- and I am talking about Thai food outside of Miami. The owners remodeled the restaurant -- it was last occupied by those Romans who skipped town (you wrote a review on that restaurant) -- and it is a truly elegant experience. Also, it is costly (although the quality and freshness of the food is exceptional) and in the wrong neighborhood.
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Menu items that I've had that I think are great are the spicy shrimp salad appetizer, beef dish, steamed fish (last night it was branzino with lemongrass), pad Thai and the chocolate dumpling-like dessert -- dark chocolate from France...we always end up getting 2 orders as the first one is so great it never feels like enough. (I would compare the chocolate to the chocolate in the dessert bento box that used to be served at Nobu's when it first opened).
I am bringing this restaurant to your attention as it is so far off the beaten track -- with no famous chef or marketing professional. I think that for even a person like yourself, it would be hard to know this restaurant existed. (I live in the neighborhood.) Le Banyan needs to be brought to the attention of real gourmet Miami diners in order for it to be successful enough to survive this town -- and I want it to, as the food is just wonderful."