AQ by Acqualina: Dewey LoSasso's Whimsical Food in a Five-Star Hotel
Chef Dewey LoSasso is obviously proud of his new tenure at Acqualina Resort & Spa. And why not? The plush Sunny Isles hotel is beautiful. The design gives the resort a vibe that's less South Beach and more large Mediterranean villa. Driving up to the valet stand ($8 with restaurant validation), your Toyota might feel inadequate around all the Bentleys. Not to worry -- they'll play nicely together while you're dining.
Photos by Laine Doss Cocktails before dinner at the AQ Acqualina bar.
Recently opened AQ by Acqualina features modern American cuisine from Chef LoSasso in a large dining room that feels like you're eating in the hotel's lobby. Soaring ceilings keep the music and conversation loud, as if you're inside a bell jar. Guests also can opt to sit outside and listen to the sounds of the surf just a few yards away, yielding a more pleasant experience if the weather plays nice.
LoSasso's menu at first might read like a list of safe crowd pleasers, but look further at the preparations. A roasted Bell & Evans chicken is served with charred bread soup, wheat berries, and lemon ($19/36); herb-crusted filet mignon is accompanied by Yorkshire porcini pudding and marrow toast ($38); and a chopped escarole salad gets topped with grouper cheeks, pistachio dust, and avocado oil powder ($11).
Short Order was invited to sample some of LoSasso's dishes -- some sophisticated, some playful. Here's what we experienced:
"Spaghetti 'O' WIth a Kick" is the name of this dish. A childhood favorite gets an adult rework when pasta O's are paired with a nutty mushroom crema. For the "kick," bite into the charred serrano chiles or add them to your pasta ($10 small portion, $19 large portion).