best thing i ate last week: shaved cobia at Alter
It had been about six months since I'd been to Alter for a regular dinner, though in the interim, I'd attended a few excellent collaborative dinners there with chefs from Contra, Central and Aubergine. Also in the interim, Alter's chef, Brad Kilgore, was named a "Best New Chef" by Food & Wine magazine, and Kilgore and Alter were selected as semi-finalists in the James Beard Foundation Rising Star and Best New Restaurant categories, respectively (both national, rather than regional, recognitions). Not a bad stretch. And fully deserved, for what is currently my favorite restaurant in Miami.
More good news since my last regular visit: the dinner menu is almost entirely new, with only a few staples remaining (the grouper cheek, the short rib in a somewhat modified form, and of course the soft egg with scallop mousse and the bread and beurre). So Mrs. F and I were able to construct a DIY tasting menu of almost entirely new dishes (it's tough to pass up that egg).
I liked all the new items, but my favorite was a crudo of shaved cobia, which had been marinated (cured? brined?) with dashi and dried mushrooms, then sliced into thin ribbons arranged in delicate curls around a castelvetrano olive "snow," mounds of sushi rice, green mustard oil, and slivers of more olives and dried mushrooms. I loved the deep umami flavors instead of the usual pairing of citrus with raw fish, which still retained enough balance to complement rather than overwhelm the cobia.
(If you want to see more, all the new pictures are at the end of this Alter - Miami (Wynwood) flickr set).