Let me preface this piece with an admission: I'm not particularly into Miami Spice. Yeah, it's a foodie win and a nice showcase for the city's cuisine, but I find a three-course meal to be too much food, and vegetarian-friendly options are usually scarce.
However, I recently embarked on a dinner excursion to the Dutch for a friend's birthday and thought it memorable enough to warrant a blow-by-blow recount of the evening's eats.
On a Tuesday night, our party of nine was seated fairly quickly. The dimly lit, white-brick-lined dining room was far from crowded, with just a few well-heeled tables here and there. W-esque indeed.
Our waiter was chatty and attentive and had plenty to say about the specials.
While I wasn't up for three full courses, the chilled soup with fire-roasted corn, piquillo pepper, crispy tortilla, and ancho chili sounded amazing -- and they graciously allowed me to order it à la carte. In addition, I went with a local field greens salad ($15) as an entrée.
Their Spice lineup is $39, generally considered a steal for such a pricey place. Here's a three-part rundown of the edible bits:
See also: Miami Spice: The Top Ten Boozy Deals
As the runners dropped off our appetizers, they also left one lone entrée. We questioned a passing waiter about it, but he looked bewildered. So it sat, abandoned. Eventually we requested they retrieve it because the apps were bound to take awhile to eat and that poor entrée was dying a slow death.
My soup was pure perfection. Creamy, brilliantly fresh, and seriously sizable.
My green salad was basically a bowl of endive with a few other leaves tossed in and almost undetectable dressing. As much as I love lettuce, that was a little more raw roughage than I could handle.
For my Spice-eating companions, the crispy duck confit with roasted almond spaetzle, foie jus, and pickled cherries (a $15 add-on for Spice) earned rave reviews. And the slab of superspicy barbecue smoked pork ribs, complete with biscuit and coleslaw, was one hell of a portion size. No mini-mes on this Spice menu.
In addition, the table was gifted with a gratis bottle of vino.
Those who opted into Spice had made individual selections, but the rest of us hasn't ordered dessert at all. However, after we were sitting in wait for a while, some waiters dropped five desserts in the middle of our table, along with an assortment of spoons. We looked around, confused. Then, after a few minutes, some staffers returned and scurried two of them away. To the Land of Lost Desserts? Who knows. Luckily, we hadn't touched them.
Then they brought a candle-topped dessert accompanied by a rather lackluster rendition of "Happy Birthday." Or, as the birthday girl coined it, "half-assed."
Because the sweets had become communal, we each snagged a bite or two of a warm pecan pie with cinnamon anglaise and vanilla chantilly; a milk chocolate bundino with macadamia nut crumble and salted caramel sorbet; and some little square slices of what appeared to be a blondie.
The bundino was a win thanks to the delightful salted caramel sorbet. The pecan pie had some fans too, but the lackluster blondies (if they were indeed blondies) -- not so much.
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SHOW ME HOW
Full and ready to pay, we waited for our check. And waited. And waited. We hailed several waiters, to no avail. Our once-attentive original waiter was in the wind. So we waited some more. How long did we wait? Ehhh, maybe 45 minutes? Eventually, the bill emerged from hiding. Thank God we were in good company.
Given that most of our parking meters had expired, the lack of citations and/or Tremont Tow fiascos was nothing short of a Miami Spice miracle. So despite what could be called an epic service fail, that's something to be thankful for.
Follow Hannah on Twitter @hannahalexs.