Kaspia at the Webster: Try it Saturday


in the Webster Hotel on 12th and Collins has a bizarre history. It's a branch of a Parisian restaurant opened by Russian emigres in 1926 that serves vodka, caviar, champagne and not much more. Yeah, they call that a restaurant. And you could spend $1,000 on a meal.

Bozhe moi!

Push seating, stylish and luxurious décor, and an attentive and knowledgable staff make it the perfect place to impress a date. It's off the main drag and parking can be tough if you don't like to valet. But hey, this is South Beach.


ample outdoor seating along Collins Avenue, but for a true

experience, sit in the aqua and dark brown indoor area. An

elegant menu offers an extensive selection of imported and domestic

caviars that are served straight up or on a baked potato.

The dinner

menu also includes a smoked fish selection with items such as Danish

eel ($18), halibut ($18), and black marlin ($17). In addition, they

offer traditional complementary dishes such as endive salad ($12) and

scrambled eggs with shaved truffles ($12). Entrées are decadent and

French-influenced. There's a salmon roulade ($22), duck in

shallot-sherry vinegar sauce with truffle potatoes ($29), and a

unique Balik salmon blini burger ($25). The Russian influence is

apparent in the bar menu as well, with a large champagne and vodka

selection to pair with every course.

We tried the Miami Spice dinner -- which included a tasty cold asparagus soup with caviar, a the duck entree mentioned above, and a pretty good strawberry dessert. All in all, a wonderful meal. And our partner's salad (pictured) was crisp and perfect.

There were some weak points. the bread -- brioche, they termed it -- was toasted but flavorless. And though the wine list include a Bordeaux haute medoc, it wasn't in stock, so we had to settle for a middle-of-the-road dinner drink. Finally, the other entree was a specialty of the house: a baked potato, cleaned out and restuffed with butter and cream, then topped by a huge mound of smoked salmon. The taste was okay, but the artistic quality gets no better than a 3.

Overall, Kaspari is more than worth it. And there's a bonus, a huge boutique that really is the centerpiece of this once classic hotel. Eating and shopping. What could be better?

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