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West Miami Seafood Spot Disco Fish is Revived

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Zachary Fagenson
Grouper soup at Disco Fish.
Unless you've time-traveled straight from the Mad Men era, you may not be too familiar with lobster Thermidor. The out-of-date, insanely rich dish made with diced, cooked lobster meat blended with egg yolks, cream, and brandy first appeared in France prior to the turn of the 20th Century and seemed to have gone out of style around the same time as the Jheri curl.

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Southern-Styled Crackers Casual Dining Is a Neighborhood Favorite for Good Reason

Categories: Review

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billwisserphoto.com
Chicken fried chicken and string bean casserole at Crackers.
Jeff Mitnick doesn't hide the fact that part of his cooking technique came from mimicking what he watched for hours on Food Network. He even repurposed some of the made-for-TV dishes for his homey, country-meets-Florida Keys restaurant. The bacon jam, a cult favorite since he and his wife Jo opened Crackers Casual Dining in Miami Springs in 2012, is one of them. It comes smeared generously onto burgers and fried chicken, though it's most popular as an appetizer, encircled by toasted rounds dusted with garlic, paprika, and parsley.

See also: Crackers Casual Dining in Miami Springs (Photos)


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Naoe's Other Half, N, Must Be Experienced to Be Understood

Categories: Review

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Illustration by Jason Crosby
At a sprawling communal table made of old cherry trees, a black-clad figure appears with an unadorned beech-wood box. As you sip green tea tinged with the faint aroma of burning leaves, she sets the box on the table and slips off one of its sides, revealing three trays. She draws them out with the utmost reverence and arranges them neatly in a triangle. Nearby diners look confused and delighted as each of the half-dozen tiny masterpieces held within is explained.

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Proof, Midtown's Casual New Spot, Offers a Fresh Take on Italian Cuisine

Categories: Review

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billwisserphoto.com
The oxtail pizza features myriad bold textures and flavors and is Proof's best-selling pie.
Pause for a moment to inhale the aroma of fresh Burgundy truffles that fleck the frothy soup's surface. Swirls of brown butter diffuse the mushrooms' fragrance, infusing the appetizer with the rich scent and taste of toasted hazelnuts. Both raw and golden tips of cauliflower float atop the dish that is so meticulously plated you almost don't want to dig in. Almost.

Once you do, be sure to scoop up a piece of crunchy vegetable with the unexpectedly light broth. The flavor of Yukon Gold potatoes is barely detectable, but they give the soup its irresistibly creamy texture, chef Justin Flit explains.

Formerly the executive sous-chef at Michael Mina's Bourbon Steak, Flit opened Proof Pizza & Pasta two months ago on North Miami Avenue in midtown. The 30-year-old says the neighborhood's "cool" factor was the ideal setting for the casual, inviting, anti-Italian restaurant he's always envisioned owning.

See also: November's Restaurant Openings and Closings

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At Moyé, Sardinia's Team Serves Chow From the Heel of Italy's Boot

Categories: Review, The Critic

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Valeria Nekhim
The comforting zucchini parmesan hits the spot
Restaurateur Tony Gallo and chef Pietro Vardeu have drawn crowds to Sardinia Enoteca in Sunset Harbour since 2006. Now the pair offers cuisine from another part of Italy. Apulia is a region in the southeast, the heel of the boot. It's somewhat poorer and flatter than much of the country, but it's jam-packed with history and a love of food. In fact, it's the nation's top producer of olive oil and the birthplace of burrata.

"There is no Apulian cuisine in Miami," Gallo says. "And we like to specialize in regional cuisine."

See also: Pinocchio Italian Deli & Caffe is Authentically Italian

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Boisterous Brunchers Can't Bog Down Miami Chefs

Categories: Review, The Critic

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Photo by billwisserphoto.com
Brunch at Blue Collar.
A 50-pound pig is pumped full of brine for four days and then -- around midnight on a Saturday -- placed in a large wooden box just behind the Four Seasons Hotel in Brickell. The box is closed, covered in hot charcoal, and left for hours beneath a tent that's shrouded by foliage. Around dawn, two cooks return and slide back the cover. Steam spills out and the sweet smell of roast pork fills the air as they flip the animal and roast it for another five hours.

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Morimoto's Miami Debut Is Cool, Collected, and Full of Surprises

Categories: Review

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Courtesy of Morimoto South Beach
Morimoto ceviche
Masaharu Morimoto's latest outpost is so understated that a bellhop might have to steer you toward its discreet hiding place in the Shelborne Wyndham Grand's starchy white lobby, which is spotless after its recent $90 million face-lift.

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Moroccan Hideaway Fez Is a Reason to Reconsider Española Way

Categories: Review, The Critic

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billwisserphoto.com
Fez chef and owner Faycal Bettioui, chickpea fries.
The beige bulb of crackly pastry dough sprinkled with white powder could be hiding anything. You punch a fork into the flaky shell and a wisp of steam fills the air, which is already thick with incense and the blare of R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion" set to a Middle Eastern rhythm.

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Loba in MiMo Draws a Pack of Admirers

Categories: Review, The Critic

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Photo by billwisserphoto.com
Loba owner Jessica Sanchez and the restaurant's popular goat cheese balls
Bathroom talk is usually off-limits during meals, but at Loba, a 3-month-old restaurant in MiMo, the lavatory is a conversation piece. That's because apart from the complimentary dental floss (greatly appreciated), the wallpaper is composed of pages torn from the classic children's book Where the Wild Things Are. It's no coincidence that the protagonist, Max, dresses up in a wolf costume and that Loba translates to "she-wolf."

Literary accents can be seen (and read) all over the place at Loba because of owner Jessica Sanchez's love of reading and her limited decorating budget. The 28-year-old former financial analyst also wanted to liven up the mood and create a playful atmosphere at this small place across the street from the newly remodeled Vagabond Hotel. For instance, a vegetarian entrée featuring farro piccolo, succotash, radishes, squash blossoms, eggs, and zucchini is cleverly called "Orwell's Dystopia." And checks are delivered inside novels. (On several occasions customers have coincidentally received their bills in their favorite books, says Sanchez, adding a Loba library is in the pipeline.)

See also: Photos from Loba in MiMo

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Doral Japanese-Peruvian Gem Tira.D.Toss Hides in Plain Sight

Categories: Review

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billwisserphoto.com
Tacu tacu bites at Tira.D.Toss.
Take a pull of chicha morada -- a sweet, bluish drink made with Peruvian purple corn, pineapple, and orange accented by the spicy aroma of cinnamon and cloves. Nibble an anticucho of a half-dozen juicy, glistening chunks of beef heart seasoned with little more than garlic, salt, and a good sear. Relish the glow of tiki torches and dim string lights.

It's hard to believe you're in a strip mall sandwiched between a Subway and a chiropractor's office.

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