Miami Spice: Deal or No Deal? Final Menus

Categories: Miami Spice
sugar topo_opt.jpg
Lee Klein
Sugarcane's El Topo is not on the Spice menu
Today brings the last installment of our Deal/No Deal series; a few dozen restaurants still haven't linked menus to the Miami Spice website. In Parts 1, 2 (Asian), 3 (steak houses), 4 (hotels), 5 (Coral Gables), 6 (Coconut Grove), 7 (all points North), and 8 (South Beach), we perused Miami Spice deals from various participating restaurants and put in our two cents as to whether the deal was worth taking advantage of.

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?

If you want to see the actual menus (or at least those that have been made public thus far), go here.

Our final eight: Asia de Cuba, Fontana, Meat Market, Novecento 900, Palme d'Or, Sra. Martinez, Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill, and Tony Chan's Water Club. Which made the cut? Keep going... 


Asia de Cuba
This one was deemed a no-deal early on, but management has changed course -- or shall we say changed courses -- and is now presenting an incredibly wide array of top notch choices -- looks to be almost the whole menu. Parties of 22 choose 2 apps, 1 entree, 2 sides, and 1 dessert; similar proportions follow suite with more diners. But portions are normal -- meaning shareable -- size. And entrées now include lamb, black cod, Serrano-ham-wrapped shrimp, and so forth. Not available Fri. or Sat.
Mondrian South Beach, 1100 West Ave., Miami Beach; 305-514-1940

Meat Market
Alaskan crab tail with baby bok choy and passion fruit butter sauce is one of four first course options. Others are ceviche, caesar salad, or baby back lamb ribs in spicy hoisin BBQ sauce. Main course brings Harris Ranch short ribs with polenta fries; a duo of New Zealand lamb (grilled chops and braised in pastry); broiled Angus rib eye steak; and striped bass with Asian style bok choy. Dessert is milk chocolate panna cotta with pecan biscotti. That's menu with some meat to it.
915 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach; 305-532-0088. Offer good Sunday through Thursday.

Novecento 900 - Brickell
Soup, ceviche, or creamy corn empanadas are the starters. Grilled filet mignon, fish du jour (each with sides), or gnocchi with crispy prosciutto in cream sauce are the main course options. Hazelnut-chocolate mousse cake comprises one of three dessert picks. Others are vanilla panna cotta with berries and the deal clincher: dulce de leche soufflé with banana split ice cream. Good every night.
1414 Brickell Ave., Miami; 305-403-0900
Also in Coral Gables and South Beach

Palme d'Or
Not overwhelmingly generous, yet at the same time it's the Palme d'Or, which means your Spice discount will bring exceptional ambiance, service, and cuisine -- even is that cuisine translates to really delicious short ribs (with black olive polenta, piquillo peppers, and corizo). Other main course pick is seared branzini with asparagus. Guests start with choice of smoked salmon with lemon cream and country bread, or wild mushroom cassoulet with smoked apple bacon. Dessert is clafoutis with pistachio ice cream or chocolate mikado with vanilla ice cream. Chef Philippe Ruiz is in the kitchen? It's a deal. Closed Sunday and Monday.
The Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave.,Coral Gables; 305-445-8066


Still the Biltmore, but Fontana does not have Ruiz in the kitchen, which makes this less-than-generous menu less-than-a-deal. Diners can begin with soup of the day; fennel and orange salad; or beef bresaola with baby arugula. Mains are fettuccine with beef ragout and porcini mushrooms; grilled veal skirt steakpizzaiola-style; or baked basa fish filets. Dessert is tiramisu or apple tart with vanilla ice cream. Not real impressive.
The Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave.,Coral Gables; 305-445-8066

Sra. Martinez
Is this menu worth the Spice price? Most likely. Is it a deal? Alas, no. Diners are privy to one app, two small plates, and a dessert, which costs almost exactly what one app, two small plates, and a dessert would cost without the Spice deal. In fact, depending upon what you order, the Spice menu could actually work out to more than what the same dishes would regularly cost. Selections include: Tortilla española and spicy shrimp cocktail are two starters, other three being two salads and a pan con tomate. The dozen small plates include bacon-wrapped dates; calamari; chicken wings; mussels al ajillo; garbanzo stew; Korean style short ribs; potato skins with ham.  Dessert is flan, torrejas, ice cream, or sorbet. Not available Saturday or Sunday.
4000 NE Second Ave.; Miami; 305-573-5474

Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill
Really nice menu, with starter selections including corn chowder; salad with goat cheese and bing cherry vinaigrette; golden beets with white sardines and ricotta cheese; and sepia with cured lemon. Main courses sound tempting too: bbq chicken; florida snapper; chirashi bowl with marinated tuna, yellowtail, and salmon; and robata duck breast with somen noodles and chanterelle mushrooms. Chocolate chip ice cream sandwich or lemon curd with marinated blueberries rounds out the sure-to-be-tasty meal. So why is this not a deal? Same as above:  you'd pay the same amount of money for just about any three-course meal on the reular menu, so there's just no need to limit yourself to this one.
3250 NE First Ave., Miami; 786-369-0353

Tony Chan's Water Club
The single listing of menu items suggests that each table of two or more are presented with the following plates: Spring rolls; baked sea scallops; seafood in bird's nest; sweet & sour tilapia; sauteed Shanghai greens; and fried ice cream. Not bad for a twosome, but limited for any more than that. Plus there's something a little too fishy about this selection. No deal.
Doubletree Grand Hotel, 1717 N. Bayshore Dr., Miami; 305-374-8888

Location Info

Asia De Cuba - CLOSED

1100 W. Ave., Miami Beach, FL

Category: Restaurant

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