Let's skip the gobbledegook and talk turkey: A slew of restaurants are offering Thanksgiving Day specials, and we've sorted through them for you. This means a studious scrutiny of the menus as they relate to value and overall allure (listed prices do not include tax or tip).
We have no idea how these meals will actually taste, although there is some speculation involved based on each restaurant's track record on cuisine in general. Yesterday we highlighted the worst. Now that the worst is behind us, today we look at the best -- which comes down to an even half-dozen; really five plus a take-out, and one of those five is in Broward. Hey, it's not easy being the best. For instance, those we'll cover tomorrow -- the rest -- are all recommendable. But the following restaurants have seemingly gone the extra mile in offering either a brilliant selection of food or a darn good deal.
The Best (in alphabetical order):
1500° at Eden Roc Renaissance
The recently opened farm-to-table restaurant helmed by executive chef Paula DaSilva will celebrate buffet-style. Plus a twist: While parents continue to dine away, children will be free to go create their own customized caramel apples.
Roasted Butternut Squash with Crispy Pancetta
Caesar or Make Your Own Mixed greens, tomatoes, pumpkin seeds, dried fruits, goat cheese & pomegranate seeds
Artisan Meats and Cheese Display
Roasted Sablefish, Parsnip Puree & Thyme Sauce Local Vegetables Strudel Crispy Duck Breast, Anson Mills Polenta & Fig Molasses Braised Pork Belly & Country Style Creamed Corn
Roasted Bell & Evans Turkey with Gravy Herb Roasted Beef Tenderloin and Wild Mushroom Sauce
Honey Glazed Sweet Potato Casserole Whipped Mashed Potatoes Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Benton's Bacon Homemade Corn Bread Stuffing Cranberry Chutney Green Beans with Candied Chestnuts
Homemade Dessert Station
Pumpkin Pie, Baked Apple Tart, Pecan Pie, Apple Pie
Eden Roc Renaissance Miami Beach
4525 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-674-5594.
The buffet-style menu is priced at $45 for adults, $19.95 for children ages 5-12, and free for children under 5 (there is no additional charge for the caramel apple decorating). Dinner runs from 4 to 10 p.m.
Our Take: The offerings include both traditional and inventive compositions, the latter evident in the groovy assemblage of small plates. $45 price ain't bad at all for a sleek new restaurant with talked-about chef in the renovated Eden Roc. In fact, it's the best price out there among serious restaurants.
This one is located in the Hyatt Regency Bonaventure Conference Center and Spa in Weston. Yes, we know that's Broward, but stay with us and you'll see why this place made our list. The family-style meal features fresh roasted turkey paired with gravy and cranberry pear relish and carved ham accompanied with rum raisin sauce and fruit chutney. Sides include candied sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, and sage cherry stuffing. The hotel will also feature a special children's buffet that includes macaroni and cheese, mini pizzas, chicken nuggets, and so forth. Desserts include chocolate pecan pie, apple crumb pie, pumpkin pie, key lime pie and an assortment of mini pastries.
Hyatt Regency Bonaventure Conference Center & Spa
250 Racquet Club Rd., Weston; 954-616-1234, extension 7675.
The restaurant will host two holiday seatings: 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The meal is priced at $29 per adult, and $15 for children under the age of 12. Ages four and under eat free.
Our Take: We can't vouch for the Banyan Restaurant -- never been. Plus it's in Weston. But it's also in a respectable Hyatt, and seems to be offering more bang for the buck than any other place in town. We won't say that for $29 you can't go wrong - because one can go wrong at any price - but on paper this is a deal worth the drive (even truer if you've got lots of kiddies).
Thanksgiving In A Box: Take-out meal of maple brined hickory smoked turkey with giblet gravy; homemade cranberry sauce; cornbread-sage stuffing; sweet potato casserole with crispy marshmallow topping; smokey braised collard greens; apple strudel with warm caramel sauce.
15400 Biscayne Blvd., Sunny Isles Beach; 305-940-9655
$20 per person. All orders must be placed in advance by calling the number above.
Our Take: That's a nice meal for twenty bucks. And you get to eat it in the most comfortable dining room around: Your own. What time should I be over?
Quattro Gastronomia Italiana
Chef Nicola Carro applies some of the traditions of Northern Italy to Quattro's three-course prix fixe menu.
Antipasti (choice of)
Prataioli ripieni di porcini con pane profumato e Parmigiano Reggiano
Champignon mushrooms stuffed with porcini and parmigiano reggiano
Crema di zucca con mousse di ricotta
Pumpkin butter squash soup with ricotta cheese mousse
Main course (choice of)
Tacchino farcito con focaccia, cranberry e salsiccia Servito con la sua salsa e pure'
Oven roasted turkey breast stuffed with focaccia bread, cranberry & Italian sausage Served with mashed potatoes and gravy
Magatello di vitello al latte con spaghetti di zucca
Creamy veal eye round with spaghetti squash
Torta di noci pecan caramello e gelato alla vaniglia
Pecan pie with caramel sauce, whipped cream & vanilla gelato
Quattro Gastronomia Italiana
1014 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach
Dinner will run from 4:00 pm.to close. Reservations required. 305-531-4833. Priced at $55 per person, or offered separately at $15 for appetizers, $30 for entrées and $10 for the dessert. Regular a la carte menu is also available.
Our Take: Pumpkin-squash soup with ricotta cheese mousse? Damn that sounds good. So does pecan pie with vanilla gelato and everything in between. The $55 price for an upscale ambiance (or for dining on Lincoln Road) and fetching menu prepared by a talented chef is a deal relative to what's being charged at other fancy joints. Plus it sounds like you're getting twice as much food if you pronounce both the English and Italian translation.
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SHOW ME HOW
The Restaurant at The Setai
Choice of a four-course Asian Thanksgiving dinner or 4-course Classic American meal. Both menus include a glass of Taittinger Champagne upon arrival.
Kaw Thang Nha Tang:
Crispy Rice Cracker with Cooked Ham in Garlic and Coriander Coconut Dip SOUP (Choice of)
teamed double boiled pumpkin soup:
With Dried Chestnuts, Brussels Sprouts, Pumpkin and Gammon Ham
Thinga aur harival ka sharba:
Coconut & Shrimp Soup with Asofteida, Curry Leaves, Fennel, Pumpkin, Dried Chestnut and Black Peppercorn
Entree (Choice of)
Tandoori turkey tikka:
Marinated with Teadill & Indian Spice cooked in Tandoor Oven served with Cranberry Chutney and Red Cabbage, Raisin & Pineapple Salad
Pla kra pong:
Thai-style Steamed Chilean Seabass with Celery, Ginger and Chinese Plum with Pineapple Chestnut Fried Rice
Dessert (Choice of)
Warm five spice egg custard tart w/Gingered Pineapple Sorbet & Citrus Salsa
Five spice apple tart tatin w/Green Apple Sorbet
Pumpkin pecan pie
Steen's Molasses Ice Cream
Warm chocolate fondant cake
Spiced Chocolate Sauce & Cranberry Ice Cream
Lobster avocado salad
With Haricot Beans, Diced Tomato and Caviar
Oven Roasted Pumpkin Infused with Honey Garnish with Pumpkin seeds, Shaved Parmesan & Truffle Oil
Entree (Choice of)
Roasted turkey and Gammon ham with Sautéed Brussels Sprouts, Spice Sweet Potato, Chestnut Stuffing served with Cranberry Sauce and Pan Gravy
Roasted prime rib with Sautéed Brussels Sprouts, Fondant Potato, Roasted Shallots, Bone Marrow & Red Wine Jus
Dessert: Same choices as Asian menu.
The Restaurant at The Setai
2001 Collins Ave ., Miami Beach; 305-520-6400
From 6 to 11 p.m. and priced at $85 per person, with an additional $30 for paired wines.
Our Take: This is the most expensive meal of the group, but The Setai is about as stunning a setting as you could ask for on a holiday -- indoors and out. There are four courses that look sensational - on the American menu, choice of prime rib of beer or turkey and ham. And while the Indian menu with tandoori turkey may not be for everyone, daring diners could very well be talking about how distinctively great this holiday dinner was for years. Plus choice of six desserts is just the spirit we're looking for when compiling the best!
Solea at W South Beach
A four-course menu that "honors the tradition of the holiday and pays homage to the restaurant's Spanish roots".
Asian Apple, Beet & Candied Walnut Salad
Mesclun Greens and Cider-vinegar Dressing
Pumpkin and Andouille Sausage Soup
Praline Liquor, Cinnamon-lime Crème Fraiche
Free Range Turkey with Natural Gravy with Apple and Sausage Stuffing, Blue Cheese-buttermilk Biscuits and Cranberry Sauce with dried Apricots, Cardamom and Port wine
Seared Sea Scallops with Sage-Sweet Potato Risotto and Piquillo Pepper Coulis
Pumpkin Tart with Sweet Potato Sorbet and Cranberry Gastrique
Warm Caramel Apple and Brioche Pudding with Gingerbread Doughnut and Green Apple Sorbet
2201 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-938-3111.
Priced at $65 per person, $35 for children under 12. The Thanksgiving menu will be served during regular dinner hours.
Our Take: This reads as one of the smartest and most mouth-watering compilations - just about every Thanksgiving ingredient is involved, with a traditional bird surrounded by some wildly creative sides. $65 is not a steal, but the room is lovely and the menu, as we say, extremely promising.