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At Moyé, Sardinia's Team Serves Chow From the Heel of Italy's Boot

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Restaurateur Tony Gallo and chef Pietro Vardeu have drawn crowds to Sardinia Enoteca in Sunset Harbour since 2006. Now the pair offers cuisine from another part of Italy. Apulia is a region in the southeast, the heel of the boot. It's somewhat poorer and flatter than much of the country, but it's jam-packed with history and a love of food. In fact, it's the nation's top producer of olive oil and the birthplace of burrata.

"There is no Apulian cuisine in Miami," Gallo says. "And we like to specialize in regional cuisine."

See also: Pinocchio Italian Deli & Caffe is Authentically Italian

At Moyé, their 2-month-old restaurant in Brickell's Chase building, a section of the menu is dedicated to the orbs of mozzarella filled with creamy shreds of the cheese. Alone, these shreds are called stracciatella. Here, you can try them with a side of baby artichokes sautéed with a hint of mint and garlic ($12). The luscious cheese is made in house and is fresh enough to require no olive oil.

Another appetizer is zucchini parm ($12), made with thin slices of baby zucchini, tomato sauce, mozzarella, and basil. Decidedly tasty and comforting, it exemplifies the home-cooking style of Apulian cuisine.

The region's number one pasta is orecchiette ("little ear"), which is frequently accompanied by bitter greens. At Moyé, the dome-shaped noodle is paired with broccoli rabe ($14) sautéed with garlic, anchovies, and fresh ground pepper. The dish is meant to be bitter, but this version is bland -- the relationship between sauce and pasta is akin to that of estranged lovers.

Service here is solid. A knowledgeable waiter offered credit on the bill for an uneaten dish. The manager came to the table to inquire.

A recommended dish is the hearty beef ragú with stracciatella penne. Moyé's portions are surprisingly generous considering the fair prices. What's more, the elegant, white-washed space reflects Apulia's trulli -- traditional white stone huts with conical roofs.

With sibling restaurants in Milan and Florence, Moyé is a well-established brand, and Gallo and Vardeu are industry veterans who know how to run a smooth operation. And because Brickell lacks plentiful gourmet options, the restaurant is a welcome addition. No, Moyé isn't gush-worthy, but almost everything here is good, and bottom line: It's about time Miami met Apulian cuisine.

  • Warm baby artichokes with stracciatella cheese $12
  • Zucchini parm $12
  • Orecchiette with broccoli rabe $14
  • Penne with beef ragú $16

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