Archive for the ‘Palate’ Category


Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On October - 8 - 2012


Zuma_Miami_Bar_&_Lounge_Photo_1Zuma, Zuma, Zuma!

London’s award-winning restaurant, Zuma boasts an internationally acclaimed style of modern Japanese cuisine with a “WOW” factor that’s been gaining international attention for over a year. The brainchild of German chef Rainer Becker, Zuma offers sophisticated Japanese cuisine in an informal Japanese dining style called Izakaya.  Becker honed his skills and developed the concept behind Zuma during his six year tenure in Tokyo, before launching the first Zuma restaurant in London’s Knightsbridge.  Such was the enormous success of the restaurant with London’s international clientele, that demand supported the development of additional Zuma restaurants across the globe.  Since then, Becker has opened Zuma restaurants in Hong Kong, Istanbul and Dubai before bringing it to Miami. 

Zuma Miami’s success results mainly from its perfect dishes, which are served in a sleek, stylish and spacious setting. The menu is categorized to satisfy the pickiest palate, and the servers are well-versed when interpreting the chef’s specialties.  The best thing on the menu, by far is the marinated black cod wrapped in a hoba leaf.  Even those, who, like us, are NOT fish fans are sure to find the cod, to quote SNL’s iconic, Linda Richman to be “Like Buttah!’”  “Discuss!”  Other favorites include: Gyu no tataki or seared beef with soy, ginger, lime and coriander; Gyuhire sumbiyaki karami sauce zuke or spicy beef tenderloin with sesame, red chilli and sweet soy; and the sushi, which is outstanding.  The desserts at Zuma seem to have been inspired by the name of the building, as they are “epic.”

Enjoying Zuma’s atmosphere and delicious food since its opening: local VIPs, including:  The Heat Players, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Tui Pranich, Gary and Dana Shear, Walid and Susie Wahab, Gisela and Diego Lowenstein, the Dascal family, Gabriella Arango and family, Elizabeth and Mitchel Taylor, Belkys Nerey, Frank Amadeo, Ingrid Casares, Deborah Wecselman, Norma Quintero, Maria Celeste Arraras, Marysol Patton and Louis Aguirre, who are regulars. Internationally, Zuma has a significant celebrity following, including regulars such as: Will Smith, Gwyneth Paltrow, Chris Martin, Lady Gaga, Tony Blair, Beyoncé, Jay Z, Victoria and David Beckham, Sarah Ferguson, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Antonio Banderas and Keith Richards among many others. To make reservations for Zuma, call: (305) 577-0277.

Red, The Steakhouse= Perfect Steak

Posted by Mary Jo Almeida-Shore On October - 7 - 2012

redsteak-smOn South Beach, where steakhouses abound, Red, The Steakhouse stands strong as THE place to get a perfect steak cooked to perfection.  While several other SoBe steakhouses are bigger on scene than on steak, (including brand-new, fellow 3-letter contender which shall remain nameless), Red is all about the food, not that the excellent service and wine selection (over 500 varieties) are anything to scoff at.   If you want a perfect steak, go to Red, period.

Tucked away in the South of Fifth neighborhood, Red exudes owner, Brad Friedlander’s zeal for perfection in the kitchen, which is exceeded only by his intense passion to please his guests.  “We’re passionate about what we serve. We are consistently dreaming up ways to exceed our guests’ expectations and thrilled to bring our unique style to an exciting and vibrant city like Miami.”   That “style” includes a décor that is anything but stuffy, right down its polished wood floors, red banquettes, black bar, white brick walls and glass-enclosed private dining room.  There’s also a rooftop area perfect for watching fireworks on July 4 and New Year’s Eve and throwing a bash or two. Read the rest of this entry »

Great Eats in the Summer Heat- Part II

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On July - 26 - 2012

By:  Mary Jo Almeida-Shore


CRAVE restaurant in the Village of Merrick Park in Coral Gables is known for its gorgeous 9,000 square-foot space, which includes an expansive dining room, sprawling outdoor terrace, vibrant atmosphere and terrific food. CRAVE’s fresh and innovative cuisine and impeccable wine selection compliment the chic, yet casual ambience with an extensive menu at a value-driven price point, with items ranging from a full sushi bar and Certified Angus Beef steaks to fresh seafood, pastas, salads and fire-baked pizzas that are continually re-mastered using the freshest seasonal ingredients.

One of the not-so-hidden secrets to Crave’s success is Hell’s Kitchen alum, Executive Chef Joshua Wahler whose resume includes work at Gramercy Tavern, Spice Market and Nobu and the (sadly) now defunct, Symcha’s.  Wahler’s passion, expertise and love of food are reflected in every dish- which he excitedly describes as if he were talking about a work of art. He is so charismatic and fun to be around that we repeatedly asked him to join our table. We wouldn’t be surprised to see him hosting a show on The Food Network.

Wahler creatively incorporates fine ingredients to create dishes such as a giant house made meatball, stuffed with mozzarella cheese, which must turn out perfect (without any oozing cheese) for it to make it to the table. Other standouts include: the Red Miso shrimp, grilled Ceviche, and Kogi beef tacos. The cashew crusted Mahi swimming in coconut curry and the perfect sliders were other favorites.  Read the rest of this entry »

Great Eats in the Summer Heat- Part I

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On July - 19 - 2012

By:  Mary Jo Almeida-Shore

Edge, Steak and Bar

Edge, Steak and Bar, at the Four Seasons Miami, is Brickell’s hottest new steakhouse, featuring the freshest seafood, paired with delectable sauces and steaks cooked to perfection.  Chefs Aaron Brooks and James King’s dinner menu showcases expertly prepared Creekstone Farm meats charbroiled at 1800 degrees in an infrared grill after being rubbed down with Edge’s signature “Cutting Edge Rub”. Tantalizing seafood fresh from local waters and sides made with the best farm-fresh ingredients round out the dinner menu.  Don’t miss the basil crusted corvina, the lobster corn chowder or the bone-in Tomahawk steak- worthy of Fred Flintstone.

Diners can enjoy the expansive dining room, sit at the stylish bar or lounge in the gorgeous outdoor terrace, overlooking Miami. The terrace provides a convivial gathering place to enjoy Edge’s cuisine and hand-crafted cocktails, while overlooking the stunning views of glistening Biscayne Bay and the hotel’s two-acre pool deck. Just as it did with Edge’s chic, modern interiors, James Beard Award-winning design firm, AvroKo created an outdoor “living room” that provides guests with a casual, yet intimate, retreat and varied seating options. Read the rest of this entry »

MESA Brings New Meaning to Table Manners

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On June - 13 - 2012
Mesa: Exquisite dishes and chocolate soup
Mesa, located in Coral Gables, boasts Chef Elida Villaroel’s triumphant return to her Venezuelan roots and delivers big flavors in its eclectically modern and intimate setting.
Mesa’s menu is truly Chef Elida’s culinary imagination on paper, with creations that bring together all the elements of her unique background. Each dish, consisting mainly of organic and locally sourced ingredients, is like a culinary roller coaster of vibrant flavors. Don’t miss the tequenos, hot little cheesy bits of heaven, or the risotto. And be sure to save room for a bowl of chocolate soup- a large bowl of thick dark chocolate perfection that will leave you craving for more.
An evolution of predecessor Charlotte Bistro, the French restaurant which formerly occupied the Mesa space, which was also run by Chef Elida, Mesa’s menu still features a number of its most popular items. Mesa’s 1,800 square foot space features a newly revamped décor with surrealist murals that are a perfect complement to the whimsically executed dishes.
Chef Elida has a long reputation of preparing savory meals and food with wholehearted feeling. With Mesa, she hopes to build long-lasting and meaningful memories by embracing guests as family and setting before them dishes that personify her love for great food.
Location: 264 Miracle Mile
Telephone: 305.443.3003


Chef-lebrities and Foodies Flock to Food Network’s SOBEWFF

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On March - 4 - 2012

Emeril Lagasse at The Q

By:  Mary Jo Almeida-Shore

The annual Bacchanal/gorge-fest otherwise known as the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF) blew into town last weekend for a four day eating/drinking marathon, leaving our scale shaking its head and asking, “What have you done?” come Monday morning. SOBEWFF kicked off with Moët Hennessy’s barbecue bash named The Q on Thursday night hosted by larger-than-life personalities:  Emeril Lagasse and Guy Fieri.  Other festival highlights included Party Impossible, the Chefs’ After-party at the Dream Hotel, Diamond Dishes at the yet-to-be opened Marlins Park, Best Thing I Ever Ate Late Night Bites & Sweets and the festival’s closing party, Trucks on the Beach.  So now we fast and purge, after acting like Ms. Pac-Man with a tape worm for four straight days; and apologize to the liver, if we can find it- we are guessing it may have left the building. 

The Q

Hosted by Guy Fieri and Emeril Lagasse, The Q started the weekend revelry on Thursday night, a fitting replacement to the beloved, marquee event Bubble Q which was retired last year.  Just as much fun as Bubble Q, this party was our first SOBEWFF experience of 2012 and served as a reunion of local and national foodies and chefs, who imbibed in champagne and cocktails and filled up on enough barbecued meats to stumble out of the enormous tent with Gout. Read the rest of this entry »