First Bites

Michael Mina's Stripsteak: Instant Bacon, Parmesan Foam Duck Cavatelli, and Salted Caramel Maple Bread Pudding

First came Bourbon Steak, the debonair steakhouse at Turnberry Isle. Then Michael Mina 74, a swank gastronomic stand-in for the underground space at the Fountainbleau once occupied by Arkadia. And now with Stripsteak just feet away from MM 74, celebrity chef Michael Mina has hit his Miami trifecta.

Heading up the kitchen at the contemporary steakhouse is chef de cuisine Derrick Roberts who comes to Miami from the Big Apple, where he was chef de cuisine at the Marriott Marquis Times Square. Prior to that, Roberts spent time in the kitchens of Tribeca Grill, the Michelin-starred Arstiderna in Sweden, and Umami in Copenhagen, which Food & Wine named one of the best new restaurants to open worldwide. Now Roberts brings his vast culinary expertise to Stripsteak where he's whipping up items like "instant bacon" and searing ahi tuna alongside foie gras. Short Order was invited to get a taste of Michael Mina's newest Miami endeavor.

See also: Michael Mina's Stripsteak Opens on Thursday

For fans of Gotham Steakhouse, nostalgia kicks in as you go down the wine cellar-encased staircase. But one glimpse of Stripsteak's golden dining room will vanish any memories to the back of your mind.

Stripsteak is pricey, but then again what would you expect from a chic steakhouse helmed by a top toque that's tight with Leonardo DiCaprio? Leo, by the way, dined here just last week during Basel, as did Miley Cyrus and her boyfriend.

While there were no celebrity sightings during our visit, chef Roberts certainly performed.

The menu borrows some dishes from the Stripsteak at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, but uses Fontainebleau's BlueFish program to source local and ultra fresh catch.

Might want to get started with America's Best Oysters. No, that's not our name for them. It's actually what they go by on the menu, both in Sin City and here. That's quite the claim to make, although the Well Fleets from the West Coast of Seattle were perfectly shucked and brought to life by white soy and tangerine ($18). America's best? Not too sure about that. There are plenty of fish oysters in the sea to just stick to one.

Instant bacon ($24) is one of the dishes that has been brought over from Las Vegas and as our server Oliver informed us, one of the most popular appetizers. Tender pork belly is served with tempura oyster, hearts of palm and jicama slaw.

When at a steakhouse, order prime steak tartare ($28). This rendition packs a surprise: port-poached foie gras in addition to the expected quail egg.

You may not be inclined to order pasta as a place renowned for its meat, but you'd be making a huge mistake. The duck & ricotta cavatelli ($22) was the one dish I'd probably crave again. The cavatelli was perfectly cooked, even toasty, and the black trumpet mushrooms and butternut squash gave the dish an earthy feel. Instead of topping it with regular shredded Parmesan or throwing in chunks of the cheese, Roberts has gone the foam route instead. Parmesan foam: brilliant.

A selection of meats are offered and come straight to your table from the wood-burning grill. "We don't really marinate these cuts of meat at all, just clean them up real nice," Roberts says. "It's wood from start to finish."

We nibbled on a 10-ounce sliced wagyu American flat iron ($60) cooked to chef's choice, which more often than not is medium rare.

Yellowtail snapper ($38) was one of the two fish options entrees (the other is the ahi seared tuna and foie gras). I wasn't totally crazy about the fish, which was a tad dry, but I did love the white bean and fennel salad.

The best dish I had was without a doubt the Colorado lamb tasting ($48), which proffered chop, loin and belly cooked to a perfect less than medium rare but not quite rare. It's served with a herb spatzle.

Stripsteak has side dish options (all are $12) to last you for days. Choose from jewel yam puree, brussel sprouts with honeycrisp apples, duck fat truffle fries with Parmesan, or creamed spinach with bacon streusel. We just had to try the mac & cheese with black truffle, which was extra cheesy and not light on the truffle.

If you're only going for one side, get the mushroom tempura with salted plum. Or the best whipped potato ever (that's the name). OK, maybe get two sides.

Handcrafted chocolate doughnuts reveal a ganache filling with one bite and are served with a chicory anglaise ($13).

The real winner among the desserts is the salted caramel and maple reduction bread pudding, which is cooked to order (so allow 20 minutes) and meant for two people. It's served with a dollop of toasted oat ice cream.

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Carla Torres found her inner gourmand voice while writing for Miami New Times in 2012. She has also worked with Travel & Leisure and Ocean Drive and today is involved with a tech startup. She balances passions for wine, sweets, yoga, and kayaking.