Kaspia at the Webster: Try it Saturday

Kaspia 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?

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.
Chuck Strouse is the former editor in chief of Miami New Times. He has shared two Pulitzer Prizes and won dozens of other awards. He is an honors graduate of Brown University and has worked at newspapers including the Miami Herald and Los Angeles Times.
Contact: Chuck Strouse