The Best of Miami Spice 2012, Part Three
|Mercadito has one of the very best Spice menus.|
This three-part look at Miami Spice comes just as the dining program gets set to begin August 1. There has been a split in price categories this year, meaning there is now a "fine dining" grouping as well as a "luxury" grouping. The fine dining price point drops $2 from the prior Spice price to $19 for lunch and $33 for dinner. The "luxury" spots -- meaning most of the places you'll want to go to for Spice -- have had the price hiked $4: $23 for lunch, $39 for dinner. Both restaurant groupings are appraised separately in each good, great, and grudging list.
On Thursday, we took a look at 22 good deals; on Friday we dealt with the grudging ones. Today, we examine 13 great Miami Spice menus.
Loads of mouth-watering choices. Four starter options include a light watermelon gazpacho with smoked grapes and Hanni's goat cheese, and a pork rillette with herb salad, crispy bacon, and cherry mustard. Five -- count 'em, five -- selections swing from vegetarian (summer squash with eggplant, fennel, smoked tomato and pea sprouts) to spiced hanger steak, sous vide pork cheek, shellfish in chili-coconut broth, and crispy skin snapper (with chorizo and shrimp grits). A trio of dessert selections brings a chocolate "crunch bar" with créme fraiche ice cream, caramelized white chocolate with lemon-basil panna cotta, or frozen coconut "yoo-hoo" with vanilla bean bruleé. Plus you can add a martini, cosmo, or Stella Artois draft beer (2 for $15, 3 for $21).
BLT Steak at The Betsy
Creative starters include red snapper ceviche with coconut soubise; compressed watermelon with duck prosciutto; and BBQ duck confit with tempura sticky rice. A ten-ounce CAB Delmonico steak is up for grabs in the entree department, as is a grilled branzino fillet or yellowtail jalapeño roll paired with a spicy tuna roll. Side choices are jalapeño mashed potatoes, BBQ corn with bacon, or a polenta "pyramid" with summer truffle. Chocolate cortadito with mocha mousse or strawberry creamsicle with orange parfait comprise two pretty alluring dessert choices. Not available Friday and Saturday night dinners.
Attention to quality and detail always scores well in these Spice evaluations. Bourbon Steak accompanies a local wahoo appetizer with tomato gelée, pickled onion, and Haas avocado. Grilled peach salad comes with fresh ricotta and spicy coppa. Corn ravioli, the third option, is tossed with brown butter and chanterelles. The entree they'll sell the most of is the Imperial farms Wagyu "eye of rib eye" with roasted eggplant, heirloom tomatoes, and a black garlic-caper vinaigrette. Korean-style BBQ Kurobuta short ribs with green mango/papaya salad sounds good too, as does a curry rock shrimp rice dish. Pecan butterscotch parfait and wild blueberry shortcake are apt summery dessert choices (the latter served with local corn ice cream!).