1826 Restaurant & Lounge: Magnificent on Multiple Levels
Meat dishes were stronger. The finely chopped, dry-aged beef in a tartare mixed with red onion and celery root was scooped into mini-cornets with horseradish cream on the bottom. These four tiny cones were carnival-like. It was hard to resist biting the pointy bottom to suck out the cream, as you might do with the fudge at the bottom of an ice-cream Drumstick.
Photo by billwisserphoto.com Steak.
The short rib was exceptionally tender, cooked at a very low temperature for two full days before a trio of lemon zest, preserved lemon, and lemon oil was added. Fried Brussels sprouts topped the dish, and sunchokes sat below.
Even those heavier dishes are lightened, Grant says, because "people here eat lighter food, come in later, and don't want to walk away feeling heavy."
Passionfruit semifreddo with coconut, Greek yogurt, and basil also plays to the taste buds of the Magic City. It is a star sweet, created by pastry chef Soraya Caraccioli-Kilgore, that matches the precision and artistry of the restaurant.
Drinks, on the other hand, are lacking. Placing the drink menu on an iPad mini adds nothing to the experience. Cocktails are unimaginative and unimpressive, and only justifiable when a handful are half-priced during happy hour in the lounge. The wine selection is far stronger, although there were still hiccups. One evening, I ordered a $14 glass of rosé but received a $28 sparkling version instead. It was a stellar glass -- until the bill came.
The pacing of the meal and the bar program may be off, but the food, presentation, and decor are spot on. Grant proves that style over substance no longer reigns in South Beach. When cuisine matches the showy scene, new heights in fine dining can be reached.
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