Because metropolitan Miami is so awesome, we often neglect traveling to the suburbs, especially when we're hungry and impatient. But with the recent opening of Devon Seafood & Steak, we just had to make the trip. Situated in the Palms at Town & Country mall in Kendall, Devon is a neighbor of Cadillac Ranch, Blue Martini, Carmine's, and Outback. The big, flashy Disney-like signs ensure that no one drives by without noticing their presence. Devon sits on the mall's corner, lake-side, with no overhead sign. One would easily miss it if it weren't for the number of people walking in and out of the place.
It was 8 p.m. on a recent weekend when we stopped by, and the seafood-and-steak restaurant was crazy busy. Tables were being flipped faster than steaks. The space is huge. Upon walking in, you find the hostess stand and behind it a gargantuan glass wine cooler that extends into the bar/lounge area. The bar area blends seamlessly with the outside, becoming almost one space. Tables outside allow for a nice dinner by the water, or couches in front of the fire for cocktails and romance. Through the bar's glass shelves, you can see some of the dining room's action.
Our large booth in the main dining room was slightly elevated. It provided a clear view of the almost-open kitchen, which is concealed by beads of some sort. The décor is contemporary American, with colorful abstract art placed across the dining room's light wooden walls. Servers walked around with large trays of freshly baked biscuits and homemade honey butter that had a hint of OJ in it. Music played in the background but was unidentifiable because of the room's volume of conversation, which is a good thing.
Our server approached our table with a complete understanding of the menu and the restaurant's strong suit, which she explained is seafood. As as steak-and-seafood boutique restaurant, Devon purchases fish daily from locals. Executive chef Scott Barrows has more flexibility than he did in downtown Chicago, where he used to work.
Asked why Devon decided on this precise location, manager Jeff Merritt told us the restaurant group looks to establish itself where demand exists. "After doing our research, we realized a demand existed in the growing Kendall area for fresh and good-tasting seafood that clients can trust," he said. "We're very central, in between midtown and Homestead, and can target a large scope of people here that after driving an hour in traffic from work, don't want to have to drive all the way back to midtown to get a decent meal."
Though Devon is not open for lunch yet, the unexpected demand is calling for opening sooner rather than later. Brunch service launched recently. And, get this, kids under age 4 get complimentary brunch. Ah, the perks of being a child. You'll have no problem getting your toddler to eat an unlimited number of made-to-order Belgian waffles and cinnamon fritter desserts. The kids might be less excited about the cold seafood display, which includes assorted smoked fish, oysters on the half-shell, and cocktail shrimp, but you won't. Adults will also enjoy the carving station as well as the sushi and sashimi, all offered for just $27 per person. Wonder if the $5 cocktails and champagne glasses are free for the kids as well. The hardest thing here is choosing from all the selections.
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And they don't make it any easier with dinner. With an extensive menu that contains soups, salads, appetizers, chilled shellfish, crab, lobster, USDA Prime steaks, seafood entrées aside from the fresh fish of the day, and sides, you'll need to knock a few cocktails back to select just an appetizer. Cocktails are all priced at $10, while food ranges from a low $2.50 for oysters to a high $45 for a 16-ounce Kansas City strip. Because we didn't want to do any thinking -- just eating -- we let our savvy server guide us in our tasting of the menu.
Homemade biscuits and honey butter
Blackberry lemonade martini: Grey Goose vodka, Chambord, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, pure cane syrup, prosecco float ($10). Lemon basil Manhattan: Maker's Mark bourbon, fresh-squeezed lemon, pure cane syrup, basil, lemon zest ($10) Just wanted a taste of the Maine lobster bisque (full serving $9).Jumbo lump crab cakes: Creole rémoulade, mango tartar sauce ($16).Shrimp and white cheddar grits: tomatoes, bacon, corn nuts, cilantro ($10).Cucumber dill martini: Hendrick's gin, freshly juiced cucumber, fresh dill ($10). And Pink Pops martini: X-Rated Fusion Liqueur (premiun French vodka, rich blood oranges, and Brazilian passionfruit), Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut ($10).Strawberry basil mojito: 10 Cane rum, muddled strawberries, sweet basil, pure cane syrup, fresh-squeezed lime juice ($10).Char-crusted Hawaiian ahi tuna: Parmesan-herb roasted potatoes, asparagus, foyot sauce ($34).Pretzel-crusted trout: frisée, green beans, Parmesan-herb roasted potatoes, bacon, whole-grain mustard vinaigrette ($27).Assorted flavors of ice cream are made in house daily. Hazelnut, strawberry, and cinnamon ($5).
Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha