Thursday, January 19, 2017

The List: Updated as of January 2017

A little while ago, I got the idea to make a list of my favorite places to eat in Miami. And when I say "a little while ago," turns out it was nearly five years ago. This was pointed out to me recently when Frod Jr. was home on winter break. When he told friends at school that his old dad wrote a food blog, they thought that was kind of cool. Then they went and looked, and of course were drawn to the List, and said, "Well, that's, um, kind of dated."

It sure is. Indeed, not only was that list pretty stale, but more than a quarter of the places included have closed since it was prepared – which among other things, may tell you something about the correlation between my personal preferences and restaurant success. (In my defense, that percentage is probably relatively consistent with the general failure rate in the industry, and I didn't prepare the list with predictive value in mind). In any event, it was definitely time for an overhaul.

The process was illuminating as to how the Miami restaurant world has changed over the past five years. Of the 38 restaurants that filled out that original list (the current version has been whittled down to 28), only ten remain on the updated version. The repeats: BazaarBourbon SteakEating HouseHiro's Yakko-SanJoe's Stone CrabJosh's DeliMakotoMichael's GenuineNaoe, and Pubbelly. Of the many new additions to the list, six are brought to us by out-of-town restaurateurs, what I've sometimes called "invasive exotic species" (Byblos, La Mar, Le Zoo, Los Fuegos, Myumi, Pao). But the bulk of the new names come, in some form or another, from locals, though that term can be amorphous in a community as transient as Miami's.[1] And half of the new names on the list are places that have opened in the past two years. Since I'm generally not one to go chasing the latest shiny objects, that would seem to indicate that good things are happening here.

As always, this does not purport in any way to be an objective, authoritative, or encyclopedic survey of Miami dining options. It is undoubtedly shaded by my own personal predilections, and moreover, is admittedly riddled with gaps because of the ever-growing length of my restaurant "to-do" list.

So here it is. The List: Where to Eat in Miami, now updated as of January 2017.

Let me know what I've missed, and what I've gotten wrong.

[1] While I've been in South Florida all my life, I recognize that if you've been in Miami more than two years, you're practically a local. So I think of Kyu as a locally-grown place even though chef Michael Lewis worked all over the world before coming here several years ago to open Zuma. And even though I lump Gaston Acurio's La Mar with the outsiders, its chef de cuisine, Diego Oka, surely has earned his stripes as a Miamian by this point.

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