Semilla Eatery & Bar: A Strong Seedling With Room to Grow

Categories: Review, The Critic

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New York strip steak.
The first thing you experience when entering Semilla Eatery & Bar is the sweet aroma emanating from a wall of potted herbs. They're a welcome respite from the construction craziness on Alton Road.

You'll also be relieved to hear "Wrecking Ball" sung by someone other than Miley Cyrus and see the large metal horseshoe bar, showcasing an open kitchen with chefs wearing checkered fedoras while working the centralized teppanyaki station.

Executive chef and owner Frederic Joulin was French President Jacques Chirac's private chef for two years and worked with three-Michelin-star chef Guy Savoy in Paris. Joulin knows tough customers and conditions. Yet asked about the construction outside, he utters, "Horrible, horrible," in a heavy French accent.

But Joulin turns lemons into $6 Bonne Maman lemonade cocktails. Every day, from 6 to 8 p.m., the restaurant also offers Florida draft beers, well drinks, wines by the glass, cocktails, pot stickers, tempura, and barbecue skewers for $6 each.

The pot stickers come in playful variations such as Buffalo chicken, braised beef short rib, barbecued ribs, and organic tofu with vegetables. Imagine the enjoyment of eating chicken wings without the bones or messy finger-licking. Seasoned chicken with hot sauce is stuffed in wonton skins, fried, and served with a blue cheese sauce. It's a winning idea -- use Japanese cooking techniques with American fillings -- but the execution is lacking. The pot stickers were inconsistent. One was too cold, only one had perfect crunch on the bottom, and very few were just right.

Braised beef short-rib pot stickers fared better. The short rib is prepared with portobello mushrooms in a green curry sauce for seven hours. It is then packaged in its dumpling casing and fried on an iron griddle using oil and an upside-down metal bowl. It all makes for a fun show and a pot sticker with a lot of depth.

Location Info

Semilla Eatery & Bar

1330 Alton Road, Miami Beach, FL

Category: Restaurant

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