The Grudging of Miami Spice 2014, Part Three

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Photo by David Cabrera
Where are the real-deal Thai choices, Khong?
For restaurants, Miami Spice's two months of dining deals can be a raging hassle. With $23 for lunch menus and $39 for dinner, there's the possibility of lower check averages for servers. Plus there's extra ordering and menu planning for chefs and kitchen managers and a whole new slew of dishes for sweat-drenched line cooks to master.

We feel your pain; we really do. Still, Spice is a time to let your restaurant shine. Take it as an opportunity to break out of the daily grind. It's a chance to gain a new clientele that otherwise might not see value in your usual offerings.

See also: The Great of Miami Spice 2014, Part Two

So skip the Axis of Evil -- skirt steak, salmon, and chicken or pasta entrées. If you're going to stoop to that level, make some effort to fake caring. Braise a brisket or short ribs into tender, melting oblivion. It's not difficult to get away with serving chicken if you know how to brine a thigh and cook it so the meat is juicy and the skin crisp. Make pasta, any pasta. Make cavatelli or pappardelle or ravioli. Keep the sauces and fillings simple; let the noodles shine.

New Times reviewed the menus of the more than 170 restaurants participating in Miami Spice this year. Some are more generous than others. Here are a few of the grudging.

Red the Steakhouse
The city's top purveyor of Certified Angus Beef starts off dinner with two types of salad -- spinach or classic caesar -- and steak tartare. For mains, chef Peter Vauthy is turning out a petit filet mignon, roast chicken, a double-cut pork chop, and salmon with basil pesto. All of them are accompanied by the same baked potato and broccoli. If you want to fork out extra, the sky is the limit. Add $15 for oysters Rockefeller to start. With $24 more, you can grab an eight-ounce prime filet or a 16-ounce rib eye. Vidalia onion rings can also be yours -- for $5. Available daily for dinner. With the upcharges, the food is great. Without? Not so much.

Toro Toro
Richard Sandoval's restaurant inside the InterContinental takes an interesting approach to lunch, offering a buffet with avocado, tomato, and mozzarella and build-your-own salads. Mains change daily and include pork shoulder, ribs, lamb leg, and adobo turkey breast. At dinner, appetizer choices include smoked swordfish dip, lomo saltado empanadas, and crispy shrimp with ají amarillo and rocoto mint salsa. Then the whole thing just deflates with grilled chicken and salmon. The churrasco tasting -- with lamb, chorizo, chicken, and picanha steak -- seems the best bet. Lunch available Monday through Friday, dinner daily.

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billwisserphoto.com
Richard Sandoval's smoked swordfish dip is on Toro Toro's Miami Spice menu.
Swine Southern Table & Bar
During Spice, one of 50 Eggs' odes to Southern cooking is offering crisp cajun boudin -- a bloodless creole sausage/pudding common around New Orleans -- along with little gem lettuce and smoked fish dip. At lunch, either a smoked chicken and farro sandwich or a pork belly BLT follows. At dinner, it's grilled salmon or a smoked brisket steak. Yawn. Prior to launching their spice menu Swine was offering ribs for an extra $5. That option, however, no longer exists and a restaurant spokesman said it was dropped "because it devalued the menu overall for potential guests." Available for lunch Monday through Friday, dinner Sunday through Thursday.


Location Info

Red the Steakhouse

119 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, FL

Category: Restaurant

Toro Toro

100 Chopin Plaza, Miami, FL

Category: Restaurant

Swine Southern Table & Bar

2415 Ponce De Leon Blvd., Coral Gables, FL

Category: Restaurant

De Rodriguez Cuba on Ocean

101 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL

Category: Restaurant

Wolfgang's Steakhouse

315 S. Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL

Category: Restaurant

Khong River House

1661 Meridian Ave., Miami Beach, FL

Category: Restaurant

Earls Kitchen + Bar

7535 North Kendall Drive, Miami, FL

Category: Restaurant

Bellmont Restaurant

339 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help
4 comments
Yaser Castro
Yaser Castro

Luis Sotomayor Bryan Cearra let's do Miami space next weekend y'all

Rob Morgan
Rob Morgan

This seems a bit one sided..High end restaurants have a higher food cost for their product while the price for Spice stays the same..Some of the places on here are high end and put out the best they can at that cost..I always upgrade for that reason, to get a better representation of the place I am in...Let's face it when a place normally cost $300 for 2 on average then certain expectations should be tempered for basic Miami Spice at $150 for 2..Its natural..These places have to work within their budget/costs for their product..What you'd get for $300 you're not going to get for $150 its only natural..Certain places can offer more because their product cost less..Just something to consider..In no way knocking anyone, but just an observation that seems to be overlooked

Sid Kaskey
Sid Kaskey

A hassle for restaurants? Not so much. Restaurants have to apply to participate do they not? That suggest they are getting some sort of benefit for their effort. For your average customer when factoring in tax, tip, and a glass of wine the benefit savings becomes questionable.

Will Iam
Will Iam

Most of the deals are not worth it.

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