Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Old Spice

Miami Spice I know it feels like it was only yesterday we were talking about "Spring Spice," but the seemingly never-ending seasonal parade of "Spice" specials has finally come full-circle to the original summer Miami Spice program, with a multitude of restaurants committing to the 3-course, $22 lunch, $35 dinner regime for August and September.

I gave my fairly obvious Miami Spice "strategy" in the earlier post - "look for interesting food, and look for places where the Spice menu actually offers a meaningful discount off the regular menu prices." Implicit in that strategy is "avoid the ubiquitous Spice trifecta of farmed salmon, skirt steak and chicken paillard if at all possible." And, as always, keep in mind that restaurants frequently change their Spice menus, so don't kvatch because you saw something different online. This is important if for no other reason than the sanity of the line cooks who grow weary of cranking out the same dish over and over and over again. So without further ado, here's what looks interesting to me:

Area 31 - great idea of a "sustainable dinner" with 4 (!) courses - key west pink shrimp; ricotta gnocchi with tuna bolognese; striped bass with English peas, watermelon radish and long pepper; and key lime curd.

Asia de Cuba - similar to sister restaurant China Grill, I like that they offer several different choices and have adapted the "Spice" concept to their family style servings. Seems a better deal if you go with more than 2 people.

BLT Steak - assuming they're still serving the warm chicken liver mousse and popovers with the Spice menu, worth it for that reason alone.

Bourbon Steak - duck rillette, "American Kobe" Rib Eye ($10 upcharge), and doughnut tiramisu? Sure, even if I'm a little sore that the upcharge seems a bit contrary to the spirit of the thing.

Eos - lunch only, but bonus points for playing the bone marrow card as an accompaniment to a grilled flatiron steak; plus unlimited glasses of Boutari wine (not conducive to afternoon productivity).

Gotham Steak - mostly just because I haven't tried it yet, but there are probably worse meals to be had than a corn soup with lump crab, braised veal cheeks, and cherry clafoutis.

Hakkasan - again mostly because I haven't been there yet, though entree choices of stir-fry black pepper beef or steamed red snapper don't exactly inspire. Early reports suggest they're not exactly encouraging people to take advantage of the Spice menu at the restaurant either.

Michy's - pork belly, nectarines, basil & star anise; grilled short rib w green tomato slaw and gremolata; and Michy's bread pudding? Yes please. A couple other interesting items I've not seen from her before, too - a chilled beet soup (borscht is coming back, baby!) and a yellowtail braised in Malaysian curry with mango, sticky rice and hearts of palm stew.

Neomi's - "taco truck" app - kogi tacos with korean bbq pork & kimchee, or fish tacos with yellowtail and the customary accoutrements; and I've tasted a preview of the "taste of lobster" entree - it is definitely worth tasting.

Palme d'Or - wild mushroom cassolette with creamy spinach & poached quail egg sure sounds good; so does Maine lobster bisque with lobster ravioli & saffron cappucino; braised short ribs with potato gratin, baby carrot & black truffle sauce sounds a bit heavy for summer, but somehow so much more appealing than a grilled striped bass filet.

Petite Rouge - since this place is already pretty reasonably priced, this may breach my "don't do Spice if it's not a bargain" rule, but nonetheless, you can't go wrong with escargot, bavette a la bordelaise, and tarte tatin.

Restaurant at the Setai - always intriguing-sounding food and the Spice is a real bargain compared to their regular menu prices; though the Spice menu they've posted for the summer looks awfully similar to the menu they did in the Spring.

Scarpetta - will I feel like less of a shithead for ordering a $23 bowl of spaghetti pomodoro if it's part of a $35 3-course menu?

How are your Spice experiences this summer?

[OK, I'm kicking myself for not immediately thinking of the opportunity to link to this]


  1. Yes, BLT is doing the whole chicken liver and popover treatment with Miami Spice.

    Yes, you will put on your dunce cap at Scarpetta because the spaghetti is one of the entrees.

    Had this on my mini-report:

    Look forward to Michy's too. Hope she changes it up as Talula does.

  2. timo's menu sounds good too


  3. Ate at Timo last night and it was incredible. 1st course, scallops with grilled octopus and garbanzo beans, 2nd course was yellowtail with corn and mushroom ragu and for dessert was peach trio. I'd highly recommend it.

  4. Timo's menu was not yet up when I posted it but they often do a great job with these things. Their regular menu also regularly features a 4 or 5 course "tasting" menu which is also a good deal.