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There is no doubt at all that Miami is an in-your-face, live-for-the-moment kind of town.
We haven't conducted a scientific research study yet, but we'd bet good money that out of every city in the world, we rank pretty high in the amount of Ferraris, designer handbags, designer dogs, and designer bodies per capita.
Maybe it's the weather..maybe it's all the neon and celebrities, but we sure do like our bling.
So bring on the gilt, the glam, the opulence. Here are the five most extravagant dishes in Miami that would have made Marie Antoinette herself proud.
5. Boarnie Madoff's Bucket of Bones at Barton G.
When we think of extravagance, we think of the movers and shakers of Wall Street. Men like Gordon Gecko and Bernie Madoff who threw money around like it was mere paper...until they were caught. This bucket holds beef and pork ribs, lamb chops, and chicken drumettes -- because why would one protein do when you can have them all? Served with creamy gorgonzola and cucumber chutney, this is a snack worthy of a master of the universe ($24).
4. Fettucine with Mascarpone at Tosca
This opulent restaurant features rare caviars, A5 Kobe, Pata Negra jamon, and 100 year-old balsamic vinegar. We could have included any of these items, but for sheer grandeur, we love the fettucine with mascarpone, tossed tableside in a parmesan wheel and topped with fresh white alba truffles ($150). Not enough truffle for your taste? Add another three ounces or so for another $120. Go ahead, it's daddy's money, anyway.
3. LaVish Cocktail at Haven
Haven's Isaac Grillo is a master of the cocktail, turning premium spirits into works of art, but this is by far his most decadent. It's the Sistine Chapel of libations. Two ounces of Louis VIII is garnished with an edible 23k gold leaf date and dried apricot. In case you were wondering, a bottle of Louis VIII, aged 40-100 years and presented in a Baccarat crystal decanter, can go for as much as $8,000, making the $250 price tag on this cocktail seem very reasonable, indeed.
2. Surf and Turf at Red the Steakhouse
Surf and turf, once the meal of movers and shakers, has become commonplace. Once reserved for high-rollers, it's now served on cruise ships, weddings and (gasp) your local suburban chain restaurant. But Red the Steakhouse's chef/partner Peter Vauthy is taking back the surf and turf with his own extravagant version. Like crab? Dig into an entire king crab, flown in from Alaska ($499 for about an eight pound crab). Add a chateubriand of Kobe ($499). Coming in at just under $1,000, this is a meal you won't find at the food court...unless it's at a mall in Dubai.
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1. Golden Opulence Sundae at Serendipity 3
The rich and famous celebrate their birthdays and special occasions just like we all do -- with an ice cream sundae. Oh, we forgot to mention that the ice cream in their sundaes is covered in gold....literally. The golden opulence sundae, which is in the Guinness Book of Records, starts out with five scoops of Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream infused with Madagascar vanilla and covered in 23K edible gold leaf. The ice cream is drizzled with rare chocolate before being garnished with exotic candied fruits from Paris and more golden baubles. A tiny glass bowl of salt-free American golden caviar infused with passion fruit, orange and Armagnac is added, before being presented in a Baccarat crystal goblet.
By the way, you're given an 18K spoon to eat this with (which is not necessary since, obviously, you were born with said golden spoon already in your mouth). This $1,000 dessert must be ordered at least 48 hours in advance (presumably to gather the unicorns and pixies who design this fantasy).