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Vesper Has Pussy Galore and Killer Alaskan King Crab

Incredibly meaty king crab leg.
Incredibly meaty king crab leg.
John Zur

Owner Keith Menin dumped $20 million into the Shelborne

Hotel's comeback, which debuted for Art Basel. Among the new features of the

boutique hotel is the swanky, James Bond-themed restaurant Vesper, which has references to Ian Fleming's 1953 novel Casino

Royale.



Guests make a trek down a red carpet, through the lobby. Through

a double set of doors you go, toward the pool, and voila! You're at the pool-side hostess podium. Though you

can enjoy Vesper from the outside, it's so much cooler if you dine indoors.

Granville, the doorman, whisks you toward a service door and discloses you'll be

entering through the kitchen. Past the cooks you go while following the black

mats.

You emerge into a classy space that is a converted pathway. It includes elegant wooden floors, crisp linen, leather banquettes,

and dramatic lighting. You're transported to a secret basement, a yacht, or

anywhere else you'd like to imagine you're eating.

Plenty O'Toole on the left. The seductive Pussy Galore on the right.
Plenty O'Toole on the left. The seductive Pussy Galore on the right.
John Zur

The cocktails ($13 each) are named for 007 villains and

vixens. We tried Pussy Galore (Goldfinger) with Maker's Mark, sour cherry jam,

apple and lemon juices, and rhubarb bitters. Plenty O'Toole (Diamonds Are

Forever) is made with Flor de Caña 7-year, blueberry purée, lime juice, and lavender

water. There's a definite artist at work creating these drinks, which are

well-balanced and make good use of the ingredients while being solidly grounded

by the liquor.

The mixed field green salad.
The mixed field green salad.
John Zur

While the list of appetizers was underwhelming, we elected

to begin with an add-on of Alaskan king crab ($25) and the mixed field green

salad ($12). Best decision. The Alaskan king crab leg is huge, steamed, pre-cut

down the middle, full of tender meat, and served with a gooseneck of warm drawn

butter, lemon and lime wedge. Making a meal out of these could easily be done. The

salad consisted of mixed field greens, crumbled stilton, candied pecans, and a

little too much citrus vinaigrette.

The Chilean sea bass in yuzu sauce.
The Chilean sea bass in yuzu sauce.
John Zur

The Chilean sea bass ($30) is set in a yuzu-based sauce with

a side of baby bok choy. The dish is stunningly executed. Perfected was my

request for a "Pittsburgh" style 12 oz. filet mignon ($36). Charred on the

outside, rare on the inside, the kitchen proved they can produce a steak as

great as any steakhouse on the Beach. It was served with my choice of black

truffle butter ($3). The sides of grilled asparagus ($9) and scalloped potatoes

($9) were plentiful, with the weakest link of the meal being the scalloped

potatoes broiled to a crisp on top and soggy on the bottom.

Vesper's filet mignon.
Vesper's filet mignon.
John Zur

Desserts included vanilla crème brulee ($9) and an order of

dulce de leche gelato ($8).

Vesper is definitely a sexy scene with superior steakhouse

classics. The prices are appropriate, especially considering the quantity and

quality of the portions. The wine list is extensive, with a diverse selection

of low to high-end wines by the bottle and glass.

All we can say is money well spent, Mister Menin.

A side of grilled asparagus.
A side of grilled asparagus.
John Zur
A side of scalloped potatoes.
A side of scalloped potatoes.
John Zur
Vanilla creme brulee.
Vanilla creme brulee.
John Zur
Three scoops of dulce de leche gelato.
Three scoops of dulce de leche gelato.
John Zur

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miles
Vesper at The Shelborne - Closed

1801 Collins Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

305-531-1271

www.meninhotels.comeat


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