There are overpriced dishes, and then there are really overpriced dishes. The tough part wasn't finding ten such sucker deals, but whittling down the list to only ten. Once you peruse a hundred or so Miami restaurant menus, it becomes clear there are bad deals across the spectrum. So don't think of the following examples as flagrant violators of a reasonably priced dining scene, but rather as standard-bearers for an industry tendency to pad bills in shameless fashion.
Nan bread at the Restaurant at The Setai: $8
This is the lowest-priced entry on our list, but eight bucks for two pita-size circles of tandoor-baked flour and water seems a bit extravagant. It's not like the restaurant can't afford to be generous -- "generous" in this case meaning giving away bread. After all, prices for other menu items are among the highest in town.
Onion Soup at Prime One Twelve: $15
No surprise that Prime One Twelve makes the cut -- we all know it's a pricey place. It's hard to argue cost when you're talking about a big, fat, juicy, delicious steak. But a bowl of soup for $15? C'mon. It's not shrimp or lobster bisque, or seafood chowder, or cream of truffles-and-caviar soup. It's only onions with beef stock, a splash of brandy, and a cap of Gruyère cheese.
Ratatouille at Metro Organic Bistro: $15
It's organic vegetables over organic couscous. Presumably it is not a stew of white asparagus, heirloom baby eggplant, and chanterelle mushrooms, but rather the usual mix of zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, and tomato -- in other words, a clatch of cheap (even when organic) veggies.
Spinach and arugula salad at Gibraltar: $17
They throw in the kitchen sink to try to validate the price: Roquefort cheese, candied walnuts, pears, and ruby port vinaigrette. But the plate is taken up by greens, and the garnishes aren't rare or exotic. Take the 1 out, make it $7, and we're good to go.
If by heirloom, they mean the tomatoes come from the Buckingham Palace garden and are personally tended to by farmers trained by Alice Waters, $19 would still be too much. Yes, it has watermelon, avocado, spicy yuzu aioli, and basil oil, but a cold soup culled from veggies in a blender -- you don't even need to hire a cook to heat it! -- should not cost this much.
Tortellini en brodo at Quattro Gastronomia Italiana: $19
For those who aren't fluent in Italian, tortellini en brodo translates, in this case, to clarified beef stock with little pasta balls floating in it. The tortellini are filled with prosciutto and veal; if you emptied all the prosciutto and veal from a serving of tortellini, you'd be lucky to fill a tablespoon with the resultant meat.
Turkey burger at Dune Oceanfront Burger Lounge: $20
Foie gras center? No. Crabmeat topping? Nope. Made from an organic heritage turkey with a bloodline dating back to the breed found in Thomas Jefferson's back yard in Monticello? Don't think so. It's just the cheapest of birds ground up and placed on a bun with mushrooms and Brie. Worse: Usually turkey burgers made in restaurants leave diners feeling as though they should have gotten paid for eating it.
Ricotta-spinach ravioli at Emeril's Miami Beach: $26
An eight-ounce filet mignon is $46 here, so it's not like the ravioli stands out on the menu as being unreasonable. But ricotta-spinach is the least expensive of ravioli fillings, and here it comes with a humble sauce of roasted tomato and corn with balsamic vinegar and shaved Parmesan cheese. Sounds like a $14 or $16 plate of pasta in most places.
Wagyu beef tacos at DeVito South Beach: $32
Quick, call Guinness: $32 for an order of tacos has to be a record. Wagyu, say you, has to be more expensive than regular beef. Agreed. But one should assume the A5 Kobe grade is not being ground up for these tacos, and that the portion of meat contained within is minimal. To be truthful, one can scoff at the mere idea of taking a delicate beef like this and plopping it into tortillas with Mex toppings. The price just adds insult to injury.
Risotto primavera at Il Gabbiano: $36.75
Rice with vegetables for $36.75. Really?
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