The Best of Miami Spice 2012, Part Three
|Scarpetta offers up sprightly Spice dishes.|
Bond Street Lounge
A bowl of edamame starts diners off, followed by typical starter choices: Miso soup, green salad, or shishito peppers. Next course brings either spicy crispy shrimp, tuna/avocado wontons, goat cheese crabcakes, a tuna tart with truffle oil, or kanpachi jalapeño. Chef's selection of sushi follows: Three pieces of nigiri, spicy tuna roll, and shrimp roll. Dessert is choice between lychee panna cotta or assorted ice creams. Bond Street's sushi is great, and this is an opportunity to enjoy a full dinner here at a nice Spice price.
City Hall Restaurant
Steve Haas, owner of City Hall, is the former two-term chairman of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau -- the folks who bring you Miami Spice. So perhaps it's fitting that Haas is being generous with his offer. It's sort of a "best of" from the restaurant menu, which is ideally what Spice menus should bring (within economic reason, of course). The five apps proffered are crab cake, eggplant parmesan, Guinness-braised mussels, seafood-and-andouille gumbo and Caesar salad. Mains bring full plates of accompaniments to go along with filet mignon; pork chop; roast chicken; seared salmon; or shirmp and grits. Desserts feature the signature chocolate chip croissant bread pudding (for two) or any of a trio of cakes: nectarine and plum cheesecake, mascarpone carrot cake, and chocolate crunch cake. You won't leave this Spice meal hungry.
Edge Steak & Bar
Regular prices here are so damn reasonable that Spice is relatively less of a bargain than at other spots. Still, the food here equals that of the $39 Spice steak houses, and the menu is fresh and creative, so it registers as a great deal. Starters are peach-tomato gazpacho with blue crab; Lake Meadow egg with cheesy grits and chorizo; corvina tartare with green apple and yellow pepper sauce. Mains: Pan-seared Florida snapper with charred zucchini salad and mussel vinaigrette; mesquite-smoked ribs with chipotle cole slaw and skillet potatoes; Creekstone farms butcher's filet with roast carrots and red onion chutney; or grilled half-chicken, all natural, with brioche and fennel puree and olive salsa. Hot chocolate mousse with butterscotch custard, bananas, and salted peanut brownie sounds like a fantastic dessert; the other option is yogurt pannacotta with passion fruit sorbet and tropical fruits.
This appears to be one of the very best Spice deals -- certainly within the $33 division. There are six components to the meal, starting with choice of beverage -- from margarita to michelada to Pinot Grigio. Next up is any of five guacamoles (this, and the rest of the dishes, are for the table). Any of three ceviches follow, then either quesadillas, flautas, or queso fundido. The whole menu of taco selections is tendered for selection, as is any of six sides. Yes, choice of dessert too: goat's milk flan or cheesecake with raspberries, hibiscus sugar, and passion fruit sauce. This is what we call generosity of spirit.
Not quite as expansive as Mercadito, but Pubbelly offers an honorable array of small plates meant to be shared by the table. Things start up with 3 of these 5: Shortrib-porcini croquetas; dates with chorizo and goat cream; fried snapper salad; heirloom tomatoes with soft tofu and blueberries; and Japanese amberjack with lemongrass romesco sauce. Diners next get to select any two of four dumplings (duck-pumpkin; pork belly; shortrib-black truffle; pastrami-sauerkraut). Next comes the "pig out" pick -- two of three: BBQ pork wings, pork belly, pork tenderloin. Then choose a veggie: green beans, brussels sprouts, or broccoli rabe. Desserts aren't listed yet, but you get a choice of one. Not available Friday or Saturday.
Tuna's Raw Bar and Grille
Tuna's makes it to our great list every year because it gives customers all it's got. Starters include lobster bisque, seared ahi tuna, oysters, shrimp, or escargot. Sorbet with a splash of champagne serves as intermezzo. A 12-ounce NY steak leads off the entrees, followed by lamb chops, snapper Francaise, lobster tail, veal, or chicken Florentine with hollandaise sauce. Homespun desserts are peach melba, créme caramel, or apple strudel. Seems like one could assemble an enviable dinner for $33, no?
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