Ah, isn't it refreshing when you dine at a restaurant and leave thinking, "that was worth every penny and pound and I'd do it again in a heartbeat"? Such was the case at Edge Steak & Bar. The amount of praise I have for this beacon of gastronomic hope in Miami is, really, quite nauseating. I'll try my best to seem un-obsessed. (Although you'd really be asking a lot of me.)
We went for lunch. Situated on the seventh floor of The Four Seasons Miami in Brickell, Edge has somewhat a pretentious, intimidating home -- nevertheless, we pranced in like we owned the place (even dawning fake British accents as we moseyed through the lobbies to make ourselves seem more Four Seasons-y).
Greeted with all smiles, the two of us were seated at a table booth right next to the kitchen - my favorite! Executive chef Aaron Brooks came out to say hello (more of an ellow... he's Australian...) and after a brief introduction he was off to work to send out pre-appetizers: anticucho (prime beef skewers a la plancha, gem potatoes, panca chili sauce, $10) and east coast oysters ($3 each).
The oysters were juicy and delightful -- perfectly oceanic without going overboard, so to speak. The skewers were out of this world. Bursting with flavor, these tender-on-the-inside-crunchy-on-the-outside babies seemed to be smothered in a sauce from heaven. You know, the kind that only immortals are permitted to eat? Chef Brooks eventually told me it was a Peruvian inspired dish (of their small bites bar menu), and with fresh cilantro and lime juice, it seemed more a party of Peruvian flavors in my mouth than just a skewer dish.
We then moved on to beef tartare with traditional garnish, pickled mustard seeds and warm kettle chips ($12) and beet and speck salad with salt roasted beets, La Quercia speck, goat cheese, and watercress ($10). Both were scrumptious.
I think the pickled mustard seeds is what made the tartare stand out - it was an intense flavor but by no means unwelcome. A nifty addition, toasted croutons gave the raw meat dish a great but subtle crunch every other bite.
The beet and speck was a recommendation by our waiter, Carlos. He insisted on the salad. Given the roll that we were on, we weren't going to ignore his opinion... and oh, how thankful we were that we didn't.
To be honest, I can't really describe this dish without simply repeating the ingredients as an example of its flavors. That would be redundant. It was authentic in every sense - each element (the root, the meat, and the cheese) was so on point by themselves, putting them together in a salad really seemed like the next logical step. Am I even making sense? Likely not, but chef Brooks must be.
The tomato salad with heirloom varieties, Pompano Burrata and almond pesto ($11) was another recommendation by Carlos (note the photo is of a tasting size). Mind you, this was after we'd consumed two protein-laden courses - you can imagine the limited space we had left for our actual main dish. But no, Carlos wouldn't take no for an answer. And so we were, yet again, blown away.
Now, in all fairness, slicing vine ripened tomatoes and adding them to a plate of EVOO drizzled burrata is by no means a challenge. One might even say, as long as there's quality, you can't go wrong. That's true.
So why the fuss over this one from Edge? It's a simple dish - and that's what's so perfect about it. Edge made no effort to doctor up a perfect set of ingredients that shine all on their own as nature intended. Simplicity is completely underrated in Miami.
Nearly on the verge of tipping over like dense lumber, our main courses were placed before us. Oh, but they smelled and looked so good... a few bites wouldn't hurt. Besides, we came equipped with stretchy pants, we could make it work.
I ordered the steak sandwich (strip steak, Walla Walla onion, $18). Served next to a mountain of leafy greens, the sammie was an all out winner. Toasted Italian sub, tender strips, an ocean of caramelized onion (floaties not required), and a refreshing lemon aioli.... man oh, man, this 'wich meant business. Lucky for me, the tamarind BBQ sauce came on the side which was a huge plus. I found it to be a little too sweet for me, so I was thrilled it wasn't already on the sandwich.
For the record, I was able to get about half of this one down. I wasn't bothered, though, that I had the leftovers for an evening snack... not bothered at all.
Like marathon runners reaching their final sprint (or gorging eaters reaching their final course(s)) we were asked about dessert. In reality, we really weren't asked... it was more of a 'so, we know you're about to pass out but why not pass out with sweets in your mouth? It's the finest way to go'.
On came the chef's choice, a cheese and honey platter (off menu at the moment but do ask). Way to make a girl happy - give her some white cheddar and goat cheese and a little honey and she's good to go.
Cheesecake lollipops ($4) were delish -- my favorite was dark chocolate with peanuts and chocolate cheesecake inside.
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SHOW ME HOW
I will say I'm not a particular fan of molecular gastronomy. To me, the thought of manipulating food to look like a science project somewhat defeats the purpose of enjoying food for the sake of its flavors. However, there is room for everyone in this world and this was, in fact, neat -- mango 'ravioli' in passion fruit consomme ($4). I was instructed to sip the consomme first until the ravioli was by itself, then to push my tongue up towards my palate to burst the ravioli. It resulted in, quite literally, a burst of mango flavor. A must try.
Despite my praise for the bovine lover's paradise, I did have one huge complaint and disappointment which I have every intention in taking up with all persons in charge: it isn't closer to my office.