Five Best Reviewed Restaurants of 2010

These five fine restaurants are the best I reviewed over the past year. While they do not necessarily comprise the best five overall, each would probably make my list of ten all-around favorites. What I'm saying is that I really like these places. In alphabetical order:

"Pricing is all about offering value to the customer. How else can one describe the proffering of fresh, quality, chef-driven food that starts at $3 a plate and tops out at $16? While the laws of mathematics dictate that it all adds up, a couple could ostensibly order every single one of Gigi's 20 menu items for less than $100 per person. Desserts start at $1. Add $2 for a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon or $3 for a cold draft of Sapporo or Stella Artois."
The full review.

Sakaya Kitchen
"Sakaya serves a concise menu of casual Asian/Southeast Asian fare such as Filipino egg rolls, Japanese miso soup, Vietnamese bao (steamed buns), and a predominance of Korean street foods such as kimchi, bulgogi wraps, and spicy chicken wings. Natural meat, poultry, and seafoods are used, along with organic dairy and produce, some of which comes from local farms. All menu items are made from scratch, including the curing of meats, pickling of vegetables, and preparation of ssams, ssamjangs, and such. As with many of today's "new" fast foods, the cooking process tends to be really slow."
The full review.

Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill
"Highlights included delicate little veal meatballs in sticky-rich, sherry-fueled demi-glace (an antidote for those wary of the meatloaf-size meatballs that land with a thud upon local restaurant tables); a New England lobster roll that foregoes the traditional mayonnaise approach but bursts with the crisp flavors of a shaved celery/fennel salad; five fried goat cheese croquettes composed of small, brittle-breaded spheres breaking way to hot, flowing chevre (mebrillo marmalade on the side is the ideal yang to the yin); and steamy white pork buns brightened with apple kimchi and cilantro."
The full review.

"To the right of the entrance is the epicurean epicenter: a large dining area fronted by a 12-stool tapas bar. The crowd's heady buzz provides a surging soundtrack to bumblebee-like flights of white porcelain plates held aloft by waiters as they weave through the room. Atop those plates: bright, colorful tapas."
The full review.

"Next we sampled sashimi via a "chef selection" trio of tuna, salmon, and yellowtail. Two half-inch-thick rectangles of each came propped on crushed ice, in a wood bowl, with a clear wedge of frozen water rising up like a jagged iceberg (presentations here are stunning and often involve wood, ice, edible flowers, and shiso leaves). At the table, the waiter grated fresh wasabi root, a generous addition to the peerlessly pristine fish."
The full review.

Honorable mention:

Fish Shack & Market
Osteria del Teatro
Prelude by Barton G.

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Miami New Times' restaurant reviewer for the past decade, and the world's indisputable master of disguise.
Contact: Lee Klein