On April Fool's Day, Lobster Bar Sea Grille opened at 404 Washington Ave. in the former China Grill space. The upscale seafood emporium has a sister restaurant in Fort Lauderdale and is one of 13 eateries owned by Atlanta-based Buckhead Life Restaurant Group. The award-winning company also owns Chops Lobster Bar and City Fish Market in Boca Raton.
“We are delighted to bring Lobster Bar Sea Grille to Miami Beach, especially in this iconic location,” says Buckhead Life's founder and CEO, I. Pano Karatassos. “From the atmosphere to the menu and service, this restaurant will be extraordinary with the energy and culture of Miami Beach.”
Lobster Bar Sea Grille sources fresh fish from around the world and displays the day's offerings on a bed of ice at the front of the restaurant. The waiters proudly inform diners that their seafood arrives from the ocean to the table in 48 hours or less and that nothing is ever frozen. True to the eatery's name, lobster is a speciality and is offered in various preparations. It's sourced from the deep, icy waters of Nova Scotia, Canada. There's also a variety of whole fish, as well as ceviches, tartares, salads, and USDA Prime steaks.
The spacious dining room is truly gorgeous and designed to look like the famous oyster bar in New York's Grand Central Station. The walls and arched ceilings are covered in white herringbone subway tiles, while massive crystal chandeliers were custom-made to resemble lighthouse lenses. There's an expansive bar by the front and a designated area for private events. The design of the restaurant was created by award-winning Johnson Studio at Cooper Carry and Oliver Carter & Associates, both based in Atlanta.
As for the kitchen, the group's corporate chef is Pano I. Karatassos, the son of the owner. Meanwhile, the executive chef is Arturo Paz, who helmed the kitchen at Cleo in South Beach before joining the Lobster Bar team. New Times was invited to sample some of the new restaurant's dishes. Below are some highlights.
The Mediterranean octopus ($19) is char-grilled and prepared with pickled red onion, extra-virgin olive oil, capers, and Greek olives. The light and well-seasoned mollusk boasts a crisp exterior and a tender interior.
Nova Scotia lobster morsels ($29) are lightly fried and arranged atop a Greek honey-mustard aioli. Fried food always pairs well with a little honey, and this aioli/fried lobster combo is right on point. (This starter comes with four morsels, but a dining companion snapped one up before the above photo was taken.)
A two-pound live Nova Scotia lobster ($70) is steamed, cracked, and served with the requisite lemon and drawn butter. It's a pricey dish, but the crustacean's meat is incredibly flavorful and juicy, making this main a real treat.
You can order the surf 'n' turf entrée or a lobster and a steak separately to make your own version. Pictured above is an eight-ounce USDA Prime filet mignon ($42), a side of creamless corn mash, and hashed potato tots with a truffle/blue-cheese aioli (both $11). The creamless corn mash has the texture of creamed corn but without the heaviness, which is a plus because it doesn't overpower the delicious meat.
For dessert, try the classic apple pie served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream ($12). At the moment, Lobster Bar is open only for dinner, but lunch service is slated to begin by mid-April.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.