Miami According to Brooklyn

"Miami According to Brooklyn" appears occasionally here in print and every Wednesday on CrossFade, New Times' South Florida music blog. To read past installments, click

This week I want to talk about Ecco Lounge, the brand-new restaurant/lounge put together by Aramis Lorie and Brian Basti (of Poplife and PS14, respectively). It's at 168 SE First St. in downtown Miami, and it's opening this month.

Disclaimer: I am involved in the project and I will be working there, but the thing about this place is that it's a place I would go to regardless. The food is great, the people are amazing, and the atmosphere is incredible.

This project is something they've been working on for two years, and the place is gorgeous. The food is amazing and delicious and beautiful-looking.

Walking in here, you feel like you're at home. It's very warm-feeling and comfortable, a very cool lounge. The look is very Miami, with a lot of bright colors, but with a touch of Italy in it as well. It's huge too — two floors. The upstairs is a club that's going to be open Friday and Saturday nights, and the downstairs is the restaurant. 

The food is Italian — they actually went to Italy to get the chef, Fabio Bruno, to design the menu. He's a world-champion pizza-maker. Everyone has a God-given talent, and making food is this man's God-given talent. Everything this man has touched is outstanding.

A lot of people have tried similar concepts, but this is going to be the place that brings back this part of downtown Miami. Right now, it's like there are tumbleweeds going by at night, but people are going to want to be at this spot. The reason I say that is because of the people involved; it's such a labor of love. There are no egos involved here. 

And the prices are based on not breaking your wallet. The most expensive thing on the menu is a pasta dish for $14, the most expensive salad is $11, and panini range from $7 to $9. You and your significant other can go out for a nice meal and have a couple of drinks for about $30, maybe even less than that, to be totally honest. But the food is so delicious that, as inexpensive as it is, you'll feel like you're robbing them.

Five albums I'm listening to this week: (1) Avail, One Wrench; (2) Bad Brains, Quickness; (3) Pantera, Cowboys from Hell; (4) Evergreen Terrace, Writer's Block; (5) The Police, Synchronicity.

Instead of a quote, I'd like to say this: Thanks to Brian Basti, Aramis Lorie, and John Hood for being real stand-up guys and putting their necks out there for me and believing in me.

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Brooklyn, as told to Arielle Castillo