First Bites

Prime Italian Offers a Red-Sauce Feast for Miami Spice 2016

With more than 240 restaurants participating Miami Spice, choosing one can be a daunting task. The question you must first ask yourself is what you're in the mood for. If you're searching for molecular gastronomy or tweezer food garnished with edible flowers, keep looking.

If, however, you simply want a stick-to-your-ribs dinner, Prime Italian is a good choice. Prime One Twelve's comfort-food cousin may not have the cachet of Miami Heat players and Kardashians in the dining room, but it does offer generous portions of classic red-sauce dishes. Of course, this being a Myles Chefetz restaurant, Prime Italian makes lasagna and meatballs with Kobe beef instead of the usual veal/pork/mystery-meat combo.
Executive chef Todd Zimmer says he's looking forward to Prime Italian's first foray into Spice. "Last year, we did Prime Fish with great success. About 3,000 people took advantage of Spice." Zimmer explains that the Miami Spice menu consists of favorites straight from the menu, plus some surprises — like cannoli. "For us, as chefs, we want to do something that's exciting for us as well as for our customers. For us, Miami Spice is successful when we have a first-time guest who returns after Spice is over."

Prime Italian offers its Miami Spice menu for dinner only ($39, excluding tax and tip) Sunday through Thursday, and according to our server, food portions have been downsized for the two-month promotion's menu. That only makes us wonder what the regular size is, because the chicken Parmesan alone could have fed two people. 

New Times was invited to sample the Spice menu. In a nutshell, even bringing your biggest appetite, you'll likely walk out with a doggie bag. Which is great, because the spaghetti made for a great next-day lunch.  

For starters, order the prosciutto di parma with cheese, nuts, and dates. Drizzled with some olive oil, the dish can serve as a pre-appetizer if you're sharing.
Beefsteak tomatoes with buffalo mozzarella is a pretty plate. Other appetizer options include a frito misto and a Prime Italain chopped salad, but keep it light — you'll need room for the mains.
When was the last time you had a good chicken parm? A breaded chicken breast is smothered in marinara and buffalo mozzarella. This supposedly scaled-down version of the regular portion takes up the entire oversize plate. New Yorkers homesick for a classic red-sauce-and-checkered-tablecloth Italian bistro shouldn't hesitate to order this.
The major dilemma of the night? Choosing the lasagna bolognese or the spaghetti and meatball. Both dishes use Kobe beef instead of the usual ground meat. Opt for the mountain of pasta topped with a meatball and garnished with fresh ricotta di bufala and basil. Other choices include braised short rib and branzino, but you're here for the pasta. Vegetarians have fettuccine primavera as a choice.
Prime One Twelve's fried Oreos make an appearance on the dessert menu. 
Cannoli are served three ways: traditional, dulce de leche, and chocolate. 
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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss