North Miami isn't exactly a hotbed of cuisine, but a short ride up the Biscayne corridor does yield a couple of gems:
North One 10
Cream-colored brick walls conspire with blond woods, amber-colored glass, a very low ceiling, and little else to form a refreshingly unpretentious ambiance. Anyone acquainted with great cooking will cheer the fresh, innovative contemporary American fare of chef/owner Dewey LoSasso. No dull tomato-mozzarella plate here, but rather ripe red wheels of the fruit sweetly sparked with an actual glazed brûlée of aged goat cheese. Local, seasonal ingredients are consistently blended with acumen and verve, resulting in knockout dishes such as foie gras nestled in a doughnut peach; mahogany-skinned duck with figs, Gorgonzola, and orange-lavender sauce; and grilled branzino fish with tomato butter and leek fondue. The menu changes all the time, but there's always something alluring to try. The user-friendly wine list is categorized by flavor characteristics, and many offerings of unique boutique vintners are available by the glass. Dewey's wife Dale runs the front of the house with aplomb; her waitstaff is smart and smooth. It's a wonderful day in the neighborhood: North One 10 is North Miami's first great contemporary restaurant.
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North One 10
North One 10: 11052 Biscayne Blvd.; 305-893-4211; $35+ per person, excluding tip and alcohol. Scorch Grill House: 13750 Biscayne Blvd.; 305-949-5588; $15 to $25 per person, excluding tip and alcohol.
Scorch Grill House
This quaint, burger-bistro-type joint serves steaks, burgers, and seafood fresh off the grill at affordable prices. The wine list is stocked with bargains too. Toss in extremely friendly service and you have all the makings of a good neighborhood restaurant, which is just what Scorch is. "Scorch steak," a shorter, thicker type of skirt cut, boasts a toothsome texture and robustly fatty flavor, and goes for just $14.95; like all entrées, it is accompanied by either the vegetable of the day or one of sundry starches: the fries are thin and crisp, and skin-on mashed potatoes are creamily delicious. Jumbo 10-ounce burgers, passable pastas, and a juicy roast half-chicken ($13.45) are other popular plates. A fairly extensive list of appetizers encompasses the usual multiethnic mishmash of crowd pleasers — gazpacho, bruschetta, fried calamari, and crabcakes. Caramel-fudge pecan pie is the most interesting of the desserts, although not really a pecan pie but a dense dark-chocolate pie with gooey nut topping. Scorch might not be the best restaurant you'll ever eat at, but rest assured you won't get burned.