Miami Spice: Deal or No Deal? South Beach
|Quattro: Is it a deal?|
Today we take a look at those restaurants in South Beach that have released their Spice menus. Considering that the deal starts on Monday, it's surprising how many places haven't yet made their Spice menus known. Still, if you want to see the actual menus (or at least those that have been made public thus far), go here.
Our perspective starts with the estimate that a Miami Spice dinner, after tax, tip, and nonalcoholic beverage costs about $50. And that most working class folks consider $50, or $100 per couple, to be a considerable sum of money to spend on dinner. They have a right to expect more than a no-frills meal. We should also add that many restaurants change Spice menus from week to week.
So the judgment is based upon this: Should a $50 dinner, in this specific restaurant, be considered a bargain? Today we consider BLT Steak, DeVito, Kaspia, Quattro, Quinn's, and Sardinia. Next week we'll wrap this up and post our complete deal/no deal listing according to neighborhoods.
BLT at The Betsy
Balanced trio of selections to start: Charred Portuguese octopus; heirloom tomato-watermelon-poblano salad; and classic steak tartare with accompaniments. Mains are 10-ounce Black Angus flat iron steak, grilled local snapper, or lemon-rosemary organic chicken. Sides include charred shishito peppers, jalapeño mashed potatoes, and spicy BBQ corn. Local mango cheesecake with mango sorbet is one of three dessert options, other two being a Vahlrona chocolate mousse with vanilla ice cream, or a pina colada sundae with raspberry macaroon. Not available Fridays or Saturdays.
DeVito South Beach
This one just makes it into the deal category -- not an inspiring menu, but there are nice touches among the main courses, and a diner could ostensibly enjoy a signature starter followed by a steak and hearty dessert. Plus DeVito's is expensive, which makes the Spice saving a bit larger. Starters are Nonna's meatball; mozzarella di bufala with prosciutto; or braised artichoke alla romagna. Main course is choice of skirt steak with warm spinach, bacon, and blue cheese salad; grouper with preserved Meyer lemon mashed potatoes and heirloom tomato salad; and English pea ravioli with mascarpone, tendrils, and prosciutto bits. Desserts are ciabatta bread pudding, flourless chocolate cake, or local peach bamboloni. Not available Fridays or Saturdays.
Quinn's South Beach
Lots of choices and they don't go cheap with accompaniments. First course can be lobster bisque with chive créme fraiche or Bam! Bam! shrimp or ceviche or goat cheese soufflé with salad. Next up is grilled churrasco steak or crab-crusted mahi mahi or chicken breast or lobster/king crab ravioli with shaved fennel and thermidor brandy sauce. Finish with key lime pie, chocolate lava cake, or apple berry tart, each with ice cream. Not available Fridays or Saturdays.
Sardinia Enoteca Ristorante
Not a whole lot of choices, but you can put together a first-second course punch of veal sweetbreads with brown butter sage and Brussels sprouts followed by branzino baked in salt crust. Veal medallions with wild mushrooms and asparagus is another tempting entree. Soup of the day or bufala-tomato-string bean salad are the other two less-than-fascinating app picks; and dessert is chef's selection.
This menu bespeaks class -- or might if not for multiple misspellings. But the reason we deem it no deal is that there are very few choices, and one of the main courses is a baked potato. It's got Scottish smoked salmon in it, but it's a baked potato. Only other entree pick is duck breast with truffled potato, which does sound good. Starter choice is endive-pear salad or cold asparagus soup with salmon caviar. Dessert is strawberry brulée with balsamic whipped cream. Offer good every evening.
Quattro Gastronomia Italiana
Starters are promising: Roasted baby beet and goat cheese mousse over frisee; veal tonnato; and octopus over potato-parsley salad. Second course option is veal scaloppini with prosciutto and sage or one of two pastas: tortellini in broth or tagliolini puttanesca. Dessert is rosemary cake with citrus salad. Might be worth the money, but it sure ain't a deal. Not available Friday or Saturday nights.