Gastronomic simplicity is a mantra these days. You hear it over and over: Quality over quantity. Less is more. Keep it basic. Keep it healthy. Don't overload the plate. Let the natural flavors of the food come through.
For the most part, Miami restaurant dinner plates are cleaner and lighter than they were even a few years ago. But there are exceptions:
5. Zucchero: The insalata di spinaci brings a mound of baby spinach with fresh blueberries, sliced radish, passion fruit dressing, and almond-crusted goat cheese wrapped in toasted phyllo dough encased in an enigma ($9.95). Just kidding about the enigma, but two fruits, nuts, radish, goat cheese, and phyllo is an awful lot of stuff to pile onto delicate spinach leaves -- the key word here being awful.
4. Asia de Cuba: China Grill Management properties are known for piling plates high with numerous ingredients. Some work better than others, but this one doesn't look as though it would work at all: Chilean sea bass crusted with coconut and mustard seed, served with crab-and-corn flan, cilantro chimichurri, and jalapeño plum coulis ($54 for two). It's bad enough that Chilean sea bass is going extinct -- can't we allow the last of the species a bit of dignity?
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3. Symcha: We're tempted to list the Maine lobster here, which comes with an avalanche of ingredients and "lobster amaretto tarragon cream sauce" ($41), but Symcha's tuna tartare touts (besides the tuna) palm hearts, tomato, cucmber, avocado, tempura flakes, champagne vinegar reduction, cilantro aioli, and Spanish naccarii sturgeon caviar ($20). It may be overwrought, but at least it's overpriced to match.
2. La Perrada de Edgar: What list of over-the-top foods would be complete without the Edgar Special? This Colombian hot-dog joint flings out franks with all manner of outrageous toppings, but none comes close to the sausage adorned with mozzarella cheese, pineapple, blackberries, plums, and whipped cream ($4.99).
1. Nexxt Cafe: Nexxt is renowned for overloading plates with food. But "Hayla's exotic salad" ($15.95), self-billed as "fantastic global cuisine," features salad greens, chicken breast, avocado, snap peas, carrots, edamame, and tortilla chips (and let's face it -- how can a person eat tortilla chips without edamame?). The dressing is citrus-honey, and also peanut vinaigrette. What's that? It seems as though something is missing? Right you are: a fresh grapefruit garnish. I think I'm going to be sick.