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Hawa Fusion Lacks Cohesion

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Located in Coral Gables, Hawa Fusion is a potentially fascinating commingling of mostly Mediterranean and Japanese cuisine. Featuring glossy, unnecessary photos of the food, the menu doesn't excite at first glance, but the dining room has hints of moderate elegance in brown linen napkins (unfortunately stuffed in the water glass), abstract artwork on the walls, leather seats, and tasteful simplicity of neutral colors throughout.

The restaurant accepted an early, 6:30 reservation on a recent Saturday night, but it was clearly unnecessary. After sitting in the rather empty dining room, we realized the air conditioning wasn't on. Our server said it had been down all day and that they were working on it. Eventually, the fans began blowing, but the air clearly was not functioning properly.

We selected the pockets ($4 each) as appetizers. The crab, shrimp, and tuna are served cold. The Kobe is served hot -- or at least it's supposed to be. We waited nearly 30 minutes after ordering (wondering all the while why no bread, crackers, or anything else was served). All four were nearly room temperature. When I asked our server if the "Kobe" beef was actually Kobe beef, she said it's "American Kobe," or presumably Wagyu. Overall, the pockets were reasonably tasty, but it's up to the customer to decide whether they're tasty enough for $4.

The Lebanese platter ($16) consisted of one each of the falafel and kibbeh; tabbouleh with cucumber, tomato, and avocado; hummus; baba ghannouj; mini pita bread; spinach pie; meat pie; and a filet mignon that arrived medium, because (1) I was unaware the filet came with the platter because the menu doesn't have a description, and (2) the servers don't ask for doneness. Overall, the platter is filling for one but not quite enough to satisfy two. Nothing is subpar, but nothing stands out. It's run-of-the-mill Mediterranean.

The desserts ($6 each) change on a weekly basis. The "passion fruit souffle" ($7) came out looking more like a crêpe and was a surprisingly well-balanced dessert that boasted a bit of tartness, a little sweetness, and the soft consistency of a thick crêpe/thin pancake.

Just a few tidbits. No alcohol is served, but free wine glasses are provided if you BYOB. While the place is clean and simple, it isn't glamorous. Napkins were used as table wedges, and the menu was posted on the door. Service is sloppy and slow; extra settings were left on the table for the duration of dinner, and no one refilled our beverages.

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