We were not surprised when it was announced that Barton G would be opening a restaurant, Prelude by Barton G, at the Adrienne Arsht center. He is a true showman and his original restaurant Barton G. is more reminiscent of a circus act than a fine dining establishment. It is true, Barton G has received rave reviews from critics and guests alike. One reviewer on Yelp said "totally over the top, totally amazing, totally fun, totally love it. Like Totally".
In truth, the food is not bad, but it's not worthy of the price tag. Upon arrival, regardless of whether or not you have a reservation, you are directed to the bar and told there is a 20-minute wait. Most diners then indulge in the nitrogen cocktails that overflow with "smoke". When it subsides you have a good martini cocktail with a Lego-like figurine hanging from the side. At $30 a pop, we would want the drink to overflow into another glass, not risk tipping the one we have onto the bar because of the weight of the "garnish".
The meal itself is a colorful pandemonium of stages and accessories in which even simple things like the bread service emphasize form over function.
The lobster appetizer ($27) comes in a toaster. This fun inventive
presentation would be better if it came with a toaster that worked so
that the dish chunks inside the flaky crust were warm. The chicken cordon bleu bites ($15), wrapped in prosciutto and cheese are crunchy
and savory, but a bit 80's. The main courses of good ol' Southern
fried chicken ($24), swordfish epee ($33), garden Sea Bass ($33), and charbroiled filet mignon ($43) are all well prepared and do offer a
delight to your senses. But with dessert, the overpriced
theatrics are backr. Another diner on Yelp commented " For dessert
we had the Cup cake picnic. The cupcakes were moist and tasty
and it was fun to frost and decorate them to your liking". For
$27 we would expect our plain chocolate and vanilla cupcakes (boring) to
be decorated. (Editors' Note: Barton G. has not served cupcakes for many months.)
Then there's the wine
service. Any fine dining establishment knows that a wine bottle is
opened at the table. So when our waiter came over with our selected
bottle already open, we questioned him. "Oh, I
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just opened it back there because someone else needed the wine opener"
Not cool dude.
Message to Mr. G.: Keep dinner and the circus separate. Focus on