First Bites

Miami Spice 2015 at Fontainebleau: Scarpetta, Michael Mina 74, and Hakkasan's Weekend Dim Sum Feast

Miami Spice starts August 1, with around 200 of Miami's finest restaurants offering special three-course meals for $39 for dinner and $23 for lunch.

As always, the restaurants at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach have embraced Spice. Scarpetta, Hakkasan, Michael Mina 74, and StripSteak at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach will participate in the program, with all four of the resort's signature restaurants offering their own special reasons to dine at their establishments.

Though there are no real surprises on the menus, each restaurant offers their tried and true staples at good values that will leave you sated. Best of all, valet parking, normally an extravagant add-on to an evening at the Fontainebleau, is reduced to $12 for diners taking advantage of Miami Spice (just remember to have your ticket validated at the restaurant). Here's a run-down of each of the restaurants and what they're offering.

StripSteak by Michael Mina offers Miami Spice dinners Sunday — Thursday. Appetizers include a choice of spicy salmon tartare with avocado purée, pickled cucumber, and fresno chili; Lacinato kale with shaved parmesan, pickled tomato, and anchovy dressing; or ricotta cavatelli with English pea purée, sugar snap peas, basil, and ricotta salata. For entrees, there's no steak — not even a strip, which is disappointing, although there's a short rib for beef eaters. You'll choose from local Mahi Mahi from the plancha with house smoked bacon, snow peas, and brown butter jus; red wine braised short rib with mascarpone whipped potatoes, and bordelaise; or pan roasted chicken breast with chorizo, confit fingerling potatoes, and arugula pesto. For dessert, choose from chocolate orange cream cake or peach cobbler. 

If you're looking for a weekend dinner (or a steak), your better bet is Michael Mina 74. There, a Miami Spice dinner is offered daily (even on weekends) and includes Black Angus on the menu options. Start with your choice of summer crab roll made with Alaskan king crab, jumbo lump and snow crab, cilantro, and warm buttered ponzu; lamb meatballs with ricotta gnudi, date chutney, and onion yogurt; or tabouli salad with Florida mango and avocado. Entrees include bay scallop with ditalini pasta and basil pesto; Florida snapper with summer ratatouille; and a Black Angus skirt steak with summer sweet corn, truffled huitlacoche, and lime chimichurri. For dessert, there are blueberry clafoutis or churros with dulce de leche and cinnamon sugar.

Scott Conant's Scarpetta offers Miami Spice dinners Sunday - Thursday. Alas, Conant's famous spaghetti is not offered this year (bummer), but the equally savory polenta is featured on the menu. For starters, there's seared tuna or mozzarella in carrozza, but you want to go straight for the creamy polenta, topped with a fricassee of buttery truffled mushrooms. Entrees include short rib agnolotti, local snapper with arugula puree, preserved lemon, and zucchini soffrito and an oven roasted chicken with vegetable fricassee, fregola, and balsamic reduction. Dessert options include cheesecake parfait, a modern interpretation of tiramisu, and a refreshing coconut panna cotta with caramelized pineapple and chilled guava soup.

As always, Hakkasan steals the Miami Spice show at the Fontainebleau by offering not only a good dinner on Sunday - Thursday, but a weekend dim sum lunch on Saturdays and Sundays.

For dinner, Hakkasan makes Miami Spice simple by doing most of the work for you. For an appetizer, there's crispy duck salad. Then, the table will receive stir-fried beef with Szechuan sauce, steamed red snapper with dried turnips, and pak choi with shiitake mushrooms for a shared family-style meal. Only at dessert is there a choice — coconut panna cotta or Mandarin mousse with almond cake and citrus salad. 

Hakkasan's dim sum weekend lunch is the real winner. For $23 (less than most neighborhood diners on a weekend), you'll enjoy a steamed dim sum platter of lotus root chicken shui mai, Chinese chive shrimp dumplings, wild mushroom and truffle dumpling, and sugar snap pea and shrimp dumpling. Crispy lemon chicken and stir fried baby pak choi, served with stir fried noodles are next. Then comes your choice of the same desserts that are on the dinner menu — coconut panna cotta or Mandarin mousse with almond cake. Though it's technically listed as lunch, we'll make the call and say that for two months, it's one hell of a brunch deal. 

Miami Spice menus are subject to change. To check out a list of participating restaurants and peruse menus, visit

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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss