V for vegan, G for gluten-free, P for Paleo, and U for under a certain amount of calories. Let's not forget farm-to-table claims too. The rise of health-conscious eating is hastily transforming traditional menu cards, but Brickell's Tamarina has another approach.
The swank eatery, which opened about a year and a half ago, concentrates on quality, not quantity. It features Italian- and Mediterranean-inspired eats, with a focus on freshly caught seafood and local produce. Every plate is prepared using classic Italian techniques, with a focus on balancing flavor with presentation. But what you won't find is much detail beyond a plate's name and a few of its key ingredients. If you're wondering why, the restaurant's vice president for business development Paul Radu says it's not necessary, at least not at Tamarina.
No, the restaurant isn't under lock and key. It's actually not secretive at all. Tamarina prides itself on trust, within the kitchen and between itself and its diners. Similar to eateries across Europe, particularly in Italy and Greece, there's an expectation that each dish incorporate the highest, healthiest, and most vibrant ingredients available. Tamarina follows those standards.
The restaurant recently debuted its spring and summer menu, and New Times sampled each dish. Though the paper menu, which documents each offering and its ingredients, is less detailed than most, every plate's presentation speaks for itself.
The menu begins with three new antipasti and crudos. Consider an order of salmon crudo paired with branzino carpaccio. The salmon features a smattering of caviar and is sprinkled with drops of a lemon cream sauce, while the branzino features a lighter and more flower-centric taste, with bell peppers, celery, and ginger throughout. Both boast a texture that nearly melts in the mouth, delicate enough to be spread like creamed butter.
For a hot appetizer, consider the shrimp scampi crostone. Two warm, thick pieces of heavily toasted bread are finished with a hodgepodge of colorful ingredients such as roasted corn, peppers, onion, cilantro, and thick pieces of fresh shrimp.
A new pasta was also added to the menu. The cavatelli alla siciliana features a pile of small, doughy pasta shells that look similar to miniature hot-dog buns. They're engulfed in an airy red sauce and blended with roasted eggplant, mozzarella, and fresh basil.
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If you're still hungry, Tamarina offers one more new dish — cacciucco alla livornese. The plate, which can be thought of as an Italian-inspired fish stew, is native to the western coastal towns of Tuscany and Liguria. Think of it as a taste of the ocean. It features a mixture of clams, mussels, and squid submerged in tomato broth.
Tamarina's spring and summer menu is now available, with prices ranging from $15 to $40. The restaurant recently added an Italian bento box lunch program too, which features three courses for $19.50.