What do you get when you take Browns -- a two-story building with seven-foot ceilings built in 1915 with the now-prohibited, nearly extinct first-growth Dade County pine -- lift it up four feet and move it back fifteen feet, and drop it on cinder blocks? A Myles Chefetz establishment, of course. Chefetz, founding proprietor of Nemo, Big Pink, and Shoji Sushi, is continuing his reign of culinary territoire by opening his fourth eatery in virtually the same block "by Thanksgiving," he estimates. Prime 112, named after its southwestern Ocean Drive address, "will be a more modern version of the traditional steak house, very atypical, that will appeal to women through décor, food selection, and even waiters' uniforms." And no, unfortunately that doesn't mean the servers will be mostly naked à la Kiss -- but hey, one can always dream on. Chefetz, who plans to place the restaurant on the first floor and nine hotel suites on the second, is excited about the project; it will be loyal to the integrity of the structure, the only wooden commercial one on South Beach, not to mention the region's oldest hotel. He enthuses: "It's like an old bed-and-breakfast -- very not South Beach. It looks like you pull your horse up to it." If the fare is anything close to what Mike Sabin is putting out at Nemo, where I recently had a whole pompano with chili sauce that was so delicious I embarrassed my husband by writing "wonderful" all over the questionnaire that we got with the bill, then yeehaw, baby.
Now that we (haven't but could have) mentioned it, SoFi isn't just a nauseating little nickname for the area south of Fifth Street anymore. According to sources, it's soon going to be the name of a restaurant, launched by former Casa Tua kitchen personnel. That's all I know at press time, but you can bet I'll be following up like any investigative gastronome worth her sea salt -- nose first.
Word on the street for October: Wine. So don't plan on being sober for the entire month. Or at least a week, considering the quaffing opps. Start on Monday at Ortanique on the Mile, where proprietors Cindy Hutson and Delius Shirley are offering a "reality dining experience" -- five "unscripted" courses served at the "Reality Chef's Table," matched with five different wines, for $75 per (reservations required for up to sixteen people). Have some hair of the dog on Tuesday, when Café Tu Tu Tango offers bottles for half-price all day long, and continue the binge on Wednesday at Tiramesu, where proprietor Graziano Sbroggio, in honor of his fifteenth successful year misspelling the popular dessert, is doing the same. This means, in case you missed the implications, that you can drink twice as much for half the price two days in a row. Top it off on Thursday with a meal in the Forge's previously exclusive, eight-room Wine Cellar, and tread where no nonceleb has before. For the first time in its 34-year history, the Wine Cellar is available to VIP-less Joe and Josephine Schmo, who can even create a wine-matched tasting menu with the consulting services of executive chef Andrew Marc Rothschild and the restaurant's two full-time sommeliers, Gino Santangelo and Jean Valentine. Just keep in mind that the weekends belong to festivals. From the 2nd through the 5th, the second annual Miami International Wine Fair (www.miamiwinefair.com) promises to be an extravaganza worthy of the most dedicated alcoholic -- I mean, aficionado -- featuring nearly 1000 wines from 18 countries. In fact there are so many different tasting, meal, and seminar opportunities -- the Grand Tasting alone offers a preview of Robbin Haas's Chispa -- I'm bringing my pillow.
Then, Wines from Spain presents Spanish Wine Week from the 13th to the 18th, whereupon participating restaurants, including the ever-effervescent Chef Allen's, Café Ibiza, and Chispa, will be presenting Spanish wines-by-the-glass as well as prix-fixe menus with wine pairs. I've actually been loaned a tentative menu for Spanish Wine Week's signature event, The Great Match (www.greatmatch.org). And all I can say is, just the thought of the Ecuadorian shrimp ceviche, prepared by Edgar Leal of Cacao, and the adobo-marinated pork tenderloin with sweet plantain, caramelized Vidalia onion, and pancetta croquette with sour orange mojo, presented by Carmen Gonzalez of Carmen the Restaurant, were begging me to open a bottle of crisp, citrusy Albariño. So I did. Which is why you, my friends, are now on your own, and I am a little dizzy.
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