Luna Returns, Shing Wang Retreats, Maitardi Opens, Bancroft Stumbles

Luna Rises Again
"Back by Popular Demand" declares the banner across the re-rechristened Luna Cafe at 4770 Biscayne Boulevard. Short Order had reported in July that Luna had changed its name to L'artista Restaurant and tweaked the menu towards a more fine dining experience. We noted that it "Seems a curious move at this time," but expressed our faith in owner Tom Billante's business savvy. Sure enough, he was savvy enough to realize the mistake and bring back the moderately priced Luna Cafe.

Rumors of upheavals and general discombobulation at the Bancroft Club. And there's a new General Manager at Crazy Piano's, the dueling piano bar/restaurant in CocoWalk that opened only a few months ago.

Meating Us Half-Way
Shing Wang, Short Order's favorite vegetarian Chinese restaurant, has started introducing meat items. Although the place has received rave reviews from just about everybody for its flavorful soy-based dishes, business has been sluggish. Some might suggest that it is the off-the-beaten-track location, not the menu, that's to blame for lack of patrons. We shall see, but this is sad news regardless.

One Mona Lisa Extra Value Meal Please
The Louvre is the world's most visited museum. France is McDonald's top market outside the United States (over 1,000 outlets). And sooo...McDonald's is planning to open this December in the food court of the underground mall adjoining the Louvre museum. Some folks aren't happy about Ronald McDonald cavorting in the backyard of the Sun King. Who can blame them?

Maitardi Arrives On-Time
Maitardi opens today at the former Brosia site at 163 NE 39th St, in the Design District. It will be the entry establishment in this neighborhood for the team behind Lincoln Road's Spris, TiramisU, and Segafredo. Maitardi translates to "never late", which right off the bat puts a lot of pressure on the wait staff. Oak trees and the mosaic-tiled plaza remain, but a wood-burning brick pizza oven has been installed. That's right -- more Med, this menu slanted towards northern Italy but with "occasional Floribbean notes". Gee, haven't heard the term Floribbean in awhile. Sample items include sesame-crusted scallops with fennel-orange salad and passion fruit sauce; venison stewed with Amarone wine and juniper berry; cured meats  such as prosciutto di Parma, speck from the Alps, and wild boar coppa salami; pizzas; pastas; entrees like pan-roasted lamb rack with fig-port sauce. For reservations call 305-572-1400. Tell them the guy who hated Brosia sent you.

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.
Miami New Times' restaurant reviewer for the past decade, and the world's indisputable master of disguise.
Contact: Lee Klein