The Show Must Go on for Barton G: Prelude Opens Tomorrow Despite Warehouse Fire

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Jackie Sayet
Daisies adorn the 2nd floor foyer into Prelude.
Despite the fire that ravaged Barton G's warehouse on Monday night with millions in props and other non-food-related damages, Barton G. Weiss, the seasoned showman that he is, addressed an impressive crowd of media and industry VIPs Wednesday night in a pre-launch event for his new Adrienne Arsht Center restaurant, Prelude by Barton G.  Not a mention was made of the devastating events of two days prior.

The restaurant, adorned with screensaver-like gliding jellyfish across flat panel TVs and a wall wave motif to make you feel like you are under water, appears -- like our first bites of its food -- to be slightly understated for what we've come to expect from Weiss.  The space is pleasing to the eye, though, illuminated in shades of yellow against a neutral backdrop.

An impressive bar features climate-constant glass storage cabinets and automated vacuum seal machines for the restaurant's 90 wines by the glass available in "Taste," "Half," "Glass," and "Bottle."  Prelude deserves a round or two of applause here, with selections by Wine Director Sarah Brownwell, currently testing for her Grand Master Sommelier-ship.  Before being seated, we sampled the Muga Rioja Riserva 2005 ($12/glass,) which was bright and round, with a dark garnet color and deep berry perfume -- a wine that is both elegant and highly drinkable. 

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Jackie Sayet
Rioja and addictive cracker-like flatbread topped with Shaved Prosciutto, Roasted Onions, Thyme, Olive Oil, Parmesan Cheese and Frisee Salad with a Mustard Vinaigrette($8 on the bar menu.)
For having not yet opened to the public, the level of service was impressive -- highly attentive and friendly without being suffocating. Each course of our dinner arrived to the table with a pairing to introduce the restaurant's menu design, in which each item is listed matched with a wine suggestion. 

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Jackie Sayet
This app did not convey the richness one would like from a butter-poached preparation and fell flat on limp, shaved fennel.
Appetizers of flat-tasting butter-poached shrimp and a tomato and watermelon salad (in which ingredients were not up to snuff) were outshone by comforting entrees cooked just right, including tender short ribs that were en croute under a light filo-like disc and seared salmon with asparagus and shiitake mushrooms over Israeli couscous.  Desserts were cumbersome and awkward, especially the "deconstructed" strawberry shortcake which was very much constructed of a sweet brick-like lemon cake -- not at all like what you expect and want from a crumbly, baking soda-bolstered shortcake dough.  Plating in all courses desired an added injection of Weiss whimsy and at times had a clunky effect.

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Jackie Sayet
Briskety short ribs arrived on an Indian-like plate, getting points for its uniquely quaint and at the same time bizarre presentation.
The room was a local influencer power summit of guests like Suzy Buckley of NBC 6, Brooke Siegel of Daily Candy, Carole Kotkin of the Miami Herald, and Belkys Nerey of Channel 7.  Will we, the unglittered of this glitterati gala, be back for an encore?  Most certainly for pre-theater bite convenience, fun-to-eat bar food, and its bountiful and accessible wines.

Prelude by Barton G
(305) 576-8888
Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts
1300 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami (Downtown)

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Jackie Sayet
Under the sea.

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Jackie Sayet
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Jackie Sayet
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Jackie Sayet
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Jackie Sayet



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