I've been biting my tongue on this one, concerned that I've been too harsh on the influx of imported restaurants. Then I read this quote from one of the owners:
Bryan [Ogden] is the best chef I've ever worked with. In fact, I don't think Miami has ever seen anything quite like this before.Haven't seen what, exactly? Arrogant out-of-town restaurateurs thinking they're bestowing magnificent gifts upon an unsophisticated, knuckle-dragging Miami culinary audience? The dubious proposition of an exclusive, clubby "VIP" restaurant/lounge in a depressed economy? Or is it the menu, which features such revolutionary items as shrimp cocktail, ceviche, tuna tartar, beef carpaccio, lobster bisque, caesar salad, $40 steaks, and truffled mac and cheese? Wow - to think we've been subsisting on grubs and roots all this time.
Apparently unafraid of setting the bar too high, Apple's website already describes it as "Miami's premier dining destination" and promises it will "feature a menu that maintains the highest level of quality to reflect the best of South Florida's bounty." That menu features Alaskan king crab, Maine lobster, oysters from British Columbia, Washington and Maine, and Maryland crab cakes (not quite local), along with Florida stone crab claws (not quite seasonal any more). A reference to "grilled local asparagus" was intriguing, but of dubious accuracy since it does not appear that asparagus is a viable Florida crop (though I'd love to be proven wrong on this). On a more positive note, ceviches feature Florida shrimp, yellowtail snapper and cobia, and fish entrees include grouper, red snapper and line-caught swordfish, all of which are at least potentially locally sourced.
I know when another L.A. guy, Govind Armstrong, first opened Table 8 in Miami, he expressed dissatisfaction with the ability to source local seafood and produce, but eventually found his way. Maybe Apple will be able to do the same. Or, maybe they won't need to bother, since they're already Miami's premier dining destination before they've even opened.
[*]Just as a sidenote, this has got to be the lamest excuse ever for delaying an opening. Delayed on account of rain? What is this, a baseball game? If you're waiting for the thunderstorms to stop, you're going to be waiting a few months. Welcome to Miami.