Perfecto in Brickell Gets It Right With Tapas and a Snappy DJ

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Sure enough, Perfecto's interior elicits the first "ooh" of the evening. With its vertiginous ceilings, modern art, and orchids so massive they appear to have been genetically modified, the industrial-style room is stunning. Bouquets of lush red roses, red wall panels, and a burgundy banquette festooned with striped pillows liven up the wooden walls and furniture. There's even a spacious terrace with additional TV screens and an area for lounging.

After you sufficiently ogle the surroundings, libations are in order. Named after the DJ, the Ferran blends fresh tomato, watermelon, simple syrup, sea salt, Worcestershire sauce, manzanilla (a type of Spanish sherry), and vodka. It's refreshing at first, but after a few sips the disconnect among the ingredients becomes apparent. Also available is the peach-and-pear-infused Tanqueray ten, one of the many gin-and-tonic-based cocktails offered. It's significantly smoother, and the accompanying individual-size bottle of Fever Tree tonic water is a nice touch.

From the tapas-heavy menu, the avocado cannelloni is a must. Just don't expect to find any pasta. Inside an exoskeleton of interwoven avocado slices lie morsels of lump crabmeat enhanced with diced tomatoes, microgreens, and ginger. It's deserving of the night's second "ooh" and speaks of the kitchen's ability to create high-caliber, refined dishes.

Perfecto's shrimp "ravioli" are also carbohydrate-free. The peeled crustaceans come curved in the form of dumplings hunched over a velvety wild mushroom stuffing. Manresa says he likes his food to contain an element of surprise, but this tapa fails to impress due to rubbery-tasting shrimp. Much better are the gently fried beef meatballs portioned with cuttlefish in a wine sauce.

The popular octopus "Perfecto" follows suit. It's cooked with whiskey in lieu of water and placed atop roasted potato spheres. Though a lighter hand with the paprika would have been preferred, the tender octopus is a crowd pleaser.

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Valeria Nekhim was born in the Ukraine and raised in Montreal. She has lived in Manhattan and Miami. Her favorite part of food writing is learning the stories of chefs and restaurateurs.