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Tonight: Lakers-Heat Pre-Game Prix Fixe Dinner at Area 31

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The Miami Heat take on the Los Angeles Lakers at home tonight, and Area 31 is set with a three-course pre-game meal for $34 per person (available from 6 pm to 7:30 pm before every home game). The acclaimed seafood restaurant, located just blocks from the Arena high up on the 16th floor of the Epic Hotel, is helmed by the equally celebrated chef E. Michael Reidt. The menu he has created for the pre-hoops crowd looks mighty good, as does a late night Bar Bites menu for post-game action.

The prix fixe menu starts with a choice of:

  • Simple greens with pork belly sliders
  • Butternut squash soup
  • Assortment of fish fry, croquettes, fries, and a shot of beer

I'll go out on a limb here and predict that most diners will select the fish fry with beer.

Entree selections are:

  • Roast chicken with fingerling potato hash and mustard glaze
  • Spice crusted mahi with coconut rice and cilantro pesto
  • Grilled hanger steak with curry carrot puree and crispy pork belly

The winner among main courses might seem to be the hanger steak with pork belly, but remember: Area 31 is, at heart, a seafood restaurant with well-sourced fish.

Dessert is a dulce de leche cookie sandwich with condensed milk cappuccino.

The choice of discounted bar snacks ($6 to $9), which will be served after the Heat game, include chorizo potato croquettes; rock shrimp ceviche; smoked shrimp guacamole; and tuna tartar. Happy hour drink prices -- beers and house shots for $5 -- will extend until midnight on evenings when the Heat are at home.

But to put the prix fixe dinner into perspective: if you choose instead to dine a la carte within the confines of American Airlines Arena, $34 will probably only get you about four hot dogs and a soft drink. And no dulce de leche cookie sandwich.

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