New Restaurants Galore
The doors have swung open at Chef Jan Jorgensen and wife Leticia’s TWO CHEFS TOO, the new North Miami outpost of the popular Two Chefs in Pinecrest. Located in the space where Mark’s Place used to be, look for a similar menu as the original, but with the addition of a cheese menu with some twenty selections and condiments. Chef Jason McLain of the now defunct 8 1/2 Cafe, has taken over at Harrison’s Steakhouse in South Beach, which is now JASON’S AT THE HARRISON. Across the street, China Grill Management has opened the 52-seat KOBE CLUB, serving the namesake steaks along with creative global entrees -- and a raw bar. Don’t jump for joy, as there are two thousand swords suspended from the ceiling.
Also open for business is the Colombian/Spanish restaurant EL SITIO on Washington Avenue and 7th Street, and TEXAS DE BRAZIL’s latest rodizio atop Monty’s in South Beach (last occupied by O-R-O Restaurant for about ten minutes). KUNG FU CHU’s is up-and-kicking at the Catalina Hotel in South Beach -- that would be Chu from Mr. Chu’s on Washington Avenue. Kung Fu has dim sum, too. Close by, Chu is facing competition from Chow, as in Philippe Chow, chef/co-owner of PHILIPPE MIAMI in the Gansevoort South Hotel on Collins and 23rd. Partners in the venture include Jerome “The Bus” Bettis, Chauncey Billups, and Antonio McDyess of the Detroit Pistons. This is the second branch, the original being in New York; next up, in what is becoming something of a culinary triangle, is Philippe Vegas.
On upper Brickell, ANDU RESTAURANT & LOUNGE is serving a mostly Mediterranean menu orchestrated by chef Nate Martin, who once worked with Dean Ferring of The Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas. If you think SEGAFREDO BRICKELL (which premiered last week downtown where Duo used to be) is affiliated with Segafredo Cafe on Lincoln Road, think again -- that would have made too much sense. This one is pastry cafe by day, velvet-rope scene at night. Also in the hood: KIKI’S, owned by the Transit Lounge folks and located right next door, highlights the cuisine of chef Harold Breton, formerly from Berrie’s and Les Halles. It is currently serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late night snacks.
Downtown Coral Gables will continue to chain itself in with another MORTON’S STEAKHOUSE, another CHILI’S GRILL & BAR, another NEXXT CAFE, another PASHA’S. Fine dining aficionados of the Gables needn’t despair, however, as a pair of very promising restaurants are getting set to open later this month: The Spanish/Med POR FIN RESTAURANT & LOUNGE, and MINT LEAF, an upscale Indian brasserie imported from London to Alhambra Circle, where Restaurant Brana used to be. CHEF JEFFREY BRANA, meanwhile, has been quietly helming the restaurant in South Beach’s Raleigh Hotel.
Further down the road:THE SMOKING RABBIT, a gastro-pub, will be lighting up where 510 Ocean used to be; also on the Drive, BLT Steak in the Hotel Betsy. BRAZILIAN CHURRASCARIA, or so the sign says, will be inhabiting the old Edelweiss spot on Biscayne, just blocks from New Times’ offices. Will it draw the interest of our staff of intrepid journalists? Allow me to answer that with another question: How cheap will the beer be? Speaking of which, let’s hope competition between the upcoming WAXY O’CONNOR’S (from Ft. Lauderdale), right across the street from The Playwright Irish Pub in South Beach, causes a price war on cold brewskis.
Lastly, two of Queen Latifah’s FATBURGER franchises -- one on the Beach, another in the Gables -- look to be getting close. Both are tied into the new Queen Latifah Diet, based on the notion that if you can’t take off weight, the next best thing is to make everyone else put some on.