Vesper Has Pussy Galore and Killer Alaskan King Crab

Vesper_king crab_John Zur.jpg
John Zur
Incredibly meaty king crab leg.
Owner Keith Menin dumped $20 million into the Shelborne Hotel's comeback, which debuted for Art Basel. Among the new features of the boutique hotel is the swanky, James Bond-themed restaurant Vesper, which has references to Ian Fleming's 1953 novel Casino Royale.

Guests make a trek down a red carpet, through the lobby. Through a double set of doors you go, toward the pool, and voila! You're at the pool-side hostess podium. Though you can enjoy Vesper from the outside, it's so much cooler if you dine indoors. Granville, the doorman, whisks you toward a service door and discloses you'll be entering through the kitchen. Past the cooks you go while following the black mats.

You emerge into a classy space that is a converted pathway. It includes elegant wooden floors, crisp linen, leather banquettes, and dramatic lighting. You're transported to a secret basement, a yacht, or anywhere else you'd like to imagine you're eating.

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John Zur
Plenty O'Toole on the left. The seductive Pussy Galore on the right.
The cocktails ($13 each) are named for 007 villains and vixens. We tried Pussy Galore (Goldfinger) with Maker's Mark, sour cherry jam, apple and lemon juices, and rhubarb bitters. Plenty O'Toole (Diamonds Are Forever) is made with Flor de Caña 7-year, blueberry purée, lime juice, and lavender water. There's a definite artist at work creating these drinks, which are well-balanced and make good use of the ingredients while being solidly grounded by the liquor.

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John Zur
The mixed field green salad.
While the list of appetizers was underwhelming, we elected to begin with an add-on of Alaskan king crab ($25) and the mixed field green salad ($12). Best decision. The Alaskan king crab leg is huge, steamed, pre-cut down the middle, full of tender meat, and served with a gooseneck of warm drawn butter, lemon and lime wedge. Making a meal out of these could easily be done. The salad consisted of mixed field greens, crumbled stilton, candied pecans, and a little too much citrus vinaigrette.

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John Zur
The Chilean sea bass in yuzu sauce.
The Chilean sea bass ($30) is set in a yuzu-based sauce with a side of baby bok choy. The dish is stunningly executed. Perfected was my request for a "Pittsburgh" style 12 oz. filet mignon ($36). Charred on the outside, rare on the inside, the kitchen proved they can produce a steak as great as any steakhouse on the Beach. It was served with my choice of black truffle butter ($3). The sides of grilled asparagus ($9) and scalloped potatoes ($9) were plentiful, with the weakest link of the meal being the scalloped potatoes broiled to a crisp on top and soggy on the bottom.

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John Zur
Vesper's filet mignon.
Desserts included vanilla crème brulee ($9) and an order of dulce de leche gelato ($8).

Vesper is definitely a sexy scene with superior steakhouse classics. The prices are appropriate, especially considering the quantity and quality of the portions. The wine list is extensive, with a diverse selection of low to high-end wines by the bottle and glass.

All we can say is money well spent, Mister Menin.
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John Zur
A side of grilled asparagus.
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John Zur
A side of scalloped potatoes.
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John Zur
Vanilla creme brulee.
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John Zur
Three scoops of dulce de leche gelato.
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Location Info

Vesper at The Shelborne - CLOSED

1801 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, FL

Category: Restaurant

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