Ariete Brings Hearty Fare to Coconut Grove

Ariete opened only a month ago, and already it's creating a buzz. South Beach Wine & Food Festival founder Lee Brian Schrager is a fan — he asked the fledgling restaurant to participate in the festival's signature event Best of the Best alongside established hits such as Zuma, Scarpetta, and Michael Mina 74. 

In fact, Schrager tweeted about the restaurant, saying, "So lucky to have Jason Odio in Coconut Grove at this new gem." 

Odio and partner Michael Beltran have created a warm space in the former La Bottega Enoteca space at 3540 Main Hwy. It's homey enough for locals looking for a new favorite spot, yet it makes a good dining destination for people wanting a good meal in a relaxed setting.

At first, Odio and Beltran had plans to open Ariete in Little Havana. When that space there fell through, they chose Coconut Grove. It's a wise choice, given the fact that the Grove is having a culinary renaissance. Panther Coffee and Harry's Pizzeria opened outposts in the tree-lined neighborhood, and Giorgio Rapicavoli is poised to open Glass & Vine in the next few weeks.

Ariete's menu is heartier and much more meat-forward than those of most Coconut Grove eateries. Offerings include venison tartare ($16), a Painted Hills rib eye for two (market price), and foie gras with roasted plantains and cocoa nibs ($24/$36). If you ask for a suggestion, Chef Beltran isn't much help. "I recommend everything." Pressed to choose one dish, Beltran offers a dinner menu of tuna conserva followed by the half chicken ($22). 
Literally preserved, the tuna conserva ($13) is anything but a usual tuna salad. Fresh tuna is poached and seasoned before being stored in a jar of olive oil. Served with grilled bread, the tuna is slightly spicy thanks to Calabrian chilies. 
Grilled oysters in bone marrow butter ($4.50 each) temper the oyster's briny qualities with the richness of the beef marrow.
Beltran seasons his chicken only with salt. The chef says he doesn't brine the bird, choosing let the natural flavors of it shine through ($22).
A pastrami cured short rib ($25) was a tad salty. The dish takes six days to prepare, resulting in an extremely tender piece of meat.
Pastry chef Dallas Wynne, who once worked alongside Hedy Goldsmith, provides the sweet ending to a rich meal. Try her pie, which changes daily ($8). Her guava coconut pie is a wonderful homage to the Grove's heritage.
Doughnut holes are filled with sour-orange cream and accompanied by wood-grilled pineapple marmalade ($10).

Though the new kid in town, Ariete was busy on a recent weeknight, with every seat filled at 9 p.m. The restaurant is a welcome addition to Coconut Grove's resurgence and could help the picturesque neighborhood take its place as a dining destination for hungry Miamians. 

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