*La Boîte à Pizza, on Alton Road in South Beach. First U.S. branch of this French franchise, which is also expanding into China. And why not? After all, the word used to describe fajita pizza, or a pie topped with ground beef, tomato, and fried egg, is the same in all languages: Ecch!
*Red Light, at the Motel Blu on Biscayne Boulevard. Chef Kris Wessel wowed us years ago at his Liaison Restaurant on Española Way, but he and his clean, well-sourced cuisine were ahead of its’ time. We can’t wait for Red Light, except....the Motel Blu?
*Brosia, on NE 39th Street in the Design District. This is the first venue for DACRA’s new hospitality service business, and opening just in time for Art Basel. A 4,000 square-foot courtyard with mosaic walls and big old oak trees promise to make this one of the most visually stunning establishments around. We’ll have to wait and see if the Mediterranean cuisine can match up.
*Domo Japones is also new in the Design District, and likewise counting on a big opening boost from Basel. This contemporary Japanese bistro and lounge, located in the former post office building, is brought to you by Amir Ben-Zion of Miss Yip and Bond Street. Late night sushi will be the draw.
*Amoretto Ristorante, located next to the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami. The Italian eatery opened late September, with Marcello Florio serving as executive chef (he held the same position at New York’s renowned Harry Cipriani). Menu highlights include lasagna di pesce, stinco d’agnello, specialty risottos, and Sgroppino, a Venetian cocktail made with strawberries, lemon ice cream and prosecco.
*Bulldog BBQ in North Miami Beach. Howie Kleinberg will strike while his Top Chef iron is still hot with his own homestyle barbecue joint. If he really wants to exploit his 15 minutes of fame, he should name the place Top Pig.
*Bartolome Argentinean steakhouse will be coming to Purdy Avenue and 20th Street in South Beach. In a related story, the Miami City Council has announced that the lucky 1,000th person to open a steakhouse in the city will win free rent for their first year.
GONE AND PRETTY MUCH FORGOTTEN:
*8 1/2 Restaurant, in the Clinton Hotel on South Beach. Chef Jason McClain’s “creative global” cuisine was well-received, but evidently by not enough people.
*Fanucci’s, the family Italian joint on Lincoln Road west of Alton. Apparently the owner being friends with Mickey Rourke wasn’t enough to save the “meatballs that nonna used to make.”
*Moroccan Nights, on Harding Avenue in Surfside as well as the one on Ponce de Leon in Coral Gables. If anyone needs to hire a belly dancer, I imagine there are a good number currently looking for employment.
STILL WAITING FOR:
Por Fin, in Coral Gables, which first announced their pending opening when Eisenhower was president. --Lee Klein