Miami Spice: Deal or No Deal? Steakhouse Edition

In parts one and two of this series, we introduced our mission statement so to speak: To separate those Miami Spice deals that are worth taking advantage of, and those that are not. We decide between the two by asking: Should a $50-plus dinner, in this specific restaurant, be considered a bargain?

Only things that need repeating:
*We estimate a Miami Spice dinner, after tax, tip, and nonalcoholic beverage, to come to about $50.
*And that most working class folks consider $50, or $100 per couple, to be a considerable sum of money to spend on dinner. They have a right to expect more than a no-frills meal.

Not all of the Spice menus have yet been released, but if you want to see those that have been, go to ilovemiamispice, click ilovemiamispice.com/participants, then click the restaurant you're interested in.

Yesterday's Asian edition  featured just one restaurant -- Hakkasan -- that made the grade. That's because when paying $50 for Chinese food, it's gotta be really really special to be considered a bargain. Today's steakhouses should prove the opposite, as these establishment are normally so expensive that the Spice price almost always implies a big savings in money. But is the meal you get worth it? Read on...



Fogo de Chao Churrascaria

This one is pretty straightforward: You get the same salad bar, same

endless cuts of meat sliced at your table, same side dishes, and

selection of any one of the restaurant's desserts -- but instead of

paying $46.50 before tax and tip, you pay $35. Plus Fogo de Chao is one

of our better churrascarias.

Gotham Steak at Fontainebleau Miami Beach

Start with heirloom tomato salad, yellow fin tuna tartar, or summer

corn-jumbo lump crab risotto. Trio of main course picks entails grilled

hanger steak with fingerling potatoes, roasted shallots and béarnaise

sauce, miso-marinated black cod with Asian vegetables and sticky rice,

or Berkshire pork ribs with BBQ habanero sauce and corn bread. Desserts

are passion fruit mousse with coconut sorbet, tiramisú brownie with

espresso gelato, or milk chocolate candy bar with salted caramel

sorbet. Offered every night but Saturday. It's a thoughtful, appealing

selection of dishes -- would have been nice to get a steak cut above

hanger, but Gotham gives enough to make it a deal.

Red The Steakhouse - We gave Red a big thumbs up in part one.

Shula's Steak House Miami Beach

The choice duo of starters is beefsteak tomato & gorgonzola salad

or lobster bisque. Main courses come with family style vegetables, and

includes a 12-ounce N.Y. strip steak; 12 oz. prime ribs of beef;

herb-grilled chicken breast or pan-seared mahi mahi. Dessert is choice

of chocolate molten lava cake, Key lime pie, or créme brulée. Lobster

bisque, nice size steak, and a classic dessert is a deal -- any night

of the week.


Morton's The Steakhouse Miami Beach

Let's see, should you start with a Morton's salad, or a Caesar salad?

Should you finish with chocolate mousse or créme brulée? Those are the

picks of courses one and three. In between you select among a "single

cut" filet mignon, broiled salmon, or chicken with garlic beurre blanc.

Plus either a vegetable or potato. Offered every night, but still, this

is what you call a grudging Spice menu.

STK Miami

Rumor has it that this menu was composed by a descendant of the great

Charles Dickens. His name is Scrooge. Diners can begin with either

iceberg or butterleaf lettuce salads, or tiger prawn "krispies" in

shrimp bisque. Entrees are yellowtail snapper with ponzu, organic

chicken with butternut squash, salsify, and mushrooms, or beef short

rib with carrot butterscotch, celery, and cipollini onions. Kiddie

desserts include choice of cheese cake lollipops, mini ice cream cones,

or cotton candy of the day. The important thing to note is that this

steakhouse is not offering any type of steak in the deal. Not proffered

Fridays or Saturdays.

The Grill on the Alley - We considered it a no-deal in part one.

BLT Steak, Meat Market, Smith & Wollensky, and Texas de Brazil have yet to release menus. We'll catch up with them later.

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