Novecento, the popular Argentine bistro-style steakhouse with locations in Brickell, Key Biscayne, and Aventura, now has another neighborhood to add to its count. Novecento Midtown opened at the end of November, and with it a place just next door by the name of IT Espresso Lounge.
The group behind Novecento has partnered with Alejandro Ferllen, the creative mind behind Euro hotspot Segafredo. Both locales proffer food, but IT Espresso Lounge is a fresh alternative to the traditional coffee break. It includes mixologist-designed cocktails, artisanal coffee, and bottle service behind a 1959 Fiat outfitted as a DJ booth. Short Order was invited to sample Novecento Midtown and its unique menu offerings.
While the Novecento menu is tried and true, chef Gabriel Medici has concocted a bevvy of dishes exclusive to Midtown.
Carved beef empanadas ($9.50) aren't one of them. But these bad boys have been a Novecento staple since the first one opened in New York in 1991. It wasn't until 2003 that founder Hector Rolotti (who tragically passed away earlier this year while on a spiritual meditation retreat in India) brought the concept to Miami Beach. That location has now closed, but Brickell along with Key Biscayne continue to be beloved neighborhood joints. "Hector would have been absolutely overjoyed to see how special our Midtown location turned out," says Ferllen.
Octopus ceviche is a new addition to the Midtown menu. It has tiradito-style Portuguese octopus that's been marinated in orange lime juice, chili powder, avocado and maldon salt ($14).
You've likely had pasta Bolognese at Novecento Brickell, but it wasn't veal. Try the housemade tagliatelle with veal Bolognese ($17). It's rich, saucy, and delicious.
Other Midtown dishes include crimini mushroom fontina with shallots, truffle oil, and parsley; red snapper tiradito with yuzu-white soy, jalapeño tempura, and tortilla salt; burrata tropicale with fresh burrata, heirloom tomatoes, mango, avocado and basil, and balsamic vinaigrette; tortellini di zucca with butternut squash, truffled pinenuts, and mushrooms; and scallops black risotto with seared scallops, black squid ink, and chives.
Of course Novecento has always been known for its meat. It's a steakhouse after all. One of the most traditional Argentine cuts is the vacio a la parilla ($28), or flip steak. My dining companion ordered his well done, so it looks a little burnt. Don't make the same mistake and overkill your meat.
Once you've finished having dinner, cross over to IT Espresso Lounge, aptly named for what it wishes to be: the next "it" spot. Upon walking in, you might think to yourself, How euro a scene is this -- and you'd be partially right.
Take the VIP lounge with Gucci-colored booths where you can order up bottle service.
Or the 50's Fiat that's been turned into a DJ booth for example. Pop open the trunk -- it doubles as a table.
IT Lounge is open every day from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. WiFi is available for those who want to attempt to get work done during the earlier hours of the day, but really this isn't that kind of espresso bar, although they do have artisanal coffee. They also have a happy hour from 5 to 8 p.m. and a late night menu starting at 10 p.m. During happy hour, drafts are $5, spirits are $8, and punches for five are $25.
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An outside bar will have 20 beers on tap. Ferllen also plans on starting up brunch service on Sunday's soon. "It'll be a party brunch. From noon to 3 a.m. with three different DJs playing all throughout the day." While the party will go till the wee hours of the next day, he's not totally sure that brunch fare will.
For now, you can enjoy items like grilled artichokes, tuna and avocado tortillas, grilled octopus with prosciutto and ham all while looking at yourself in one of the many mirrors that double as TVs. "We've got a total of 12 TVs and two drop down projectors for big sports game. This will be the spot to be for the next World Cup," says Ferllen about his high-costing mirrors, which he spent over 20K on. Calling at narcissists to IT Espresso Lounge.
Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha