Archive for the ‘Palate’ Category

Eyes Wide Shut- Appetites Open

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On September - 7 - 2011
Lights Out! City Hall  (7)

Miami Socialholics

Veteran restaurateur, Steve Haas along with acclaimed chef, Tom Azar invited guests to City Hall, Haas’ new bustling eatery on Biscayne Boulevard for Lights Out Miami– a night of dining in the dark last Wednesday, to benefit Ability Explosion, an organization dedicated to raising awareness and bettering the lives of individuals with disabilities. Risk-taking diners at City Hall got the chance for a sneak “peek” of the large scale benefit to take place on October 20 with over 100 participating venues. 

Dark dining guests had only the cocktail hour to take in the beauty of the 6, 000 square foot eatery, which reminds us so much of WPA, back in the halcyon days of South Beach and “Glory Days” of our youth.  Perhaps it’s the 80 foot-long art deco mural, created by artist Andrew Reid– who also created the floor-to-ceiling mural depicting FDR’s Works Progress Administration for WPA, (the restaurant), which we spent many a night admiring; or the dark walnut and black varnished wood tables and chairs, comfortable leather banquets, original art and Art Deco accents that create the chic ambience at City Hall and make us feel right at home.  Read the rest of this entry »

The 10th Annual Miami Spice Restaurant Program Spicier Than Ever

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On September - 5 - 2011







Culinary Event Features 42 New Participating Restaurants & Enticing Upgrades

Miami Spice – organized by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) and presented by American Express, Stella Artois, Acqua Panna, S. Pellegrino and Moet Hennessy USA – is spicier than ever with a record-breaking number of participating restaurants, 142 including 42 new restaurants; all of which are offering specially priced three-course lunches at an affordable $22 and three course dinners for $35 (tax & gratuity not included). 

 To complement this amazing summer promotion and keep Spice consumers coming back for more, a slew of participating restaurants have recently introduced enticing upgrades to their Miami Spice menu offerings, ranging from allowing patrons to substitute menu items, discounted wine pairings, and complimentary valet parking, among other not-to-be-missed offers. 

 Below is a sample list of Miami Spice themed restaurant promotions, available now through September 30, 2011:

BLT Steak at The Betsy:  Miami Spice diner patrons are greeted at their table with the restaurant’s legendary BLT gruyere cheese popovers, complimentary pâté, and petit fours for dessert.

Blue Door Fish at Delano: Specially-priced red, white, and sparkling wine offerings.   City Hall – The Restaurant: Patrons have the option to substitute their appetizer or dessert for a specialty martini, house beer, or wine by the glass.

Essensia Restaurant & Lounge: Specially-priced red, white, and sparkling wine offerings.

Kane Steakhouse: Offers diners a complimentary side dish with each Miami Spice menu order.   Peacock Garden Café: Instead of the traditional three-course Miami Spice menu, the restaurant offers diners a four-course menu, including a complimentary cocktail.

Red, The Steakhouse:  The restaurant offers weekly Miami Spice themed menus and allows diners to upgrade their appetizer and/or entrée selection.

Scalina: Weekdays from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., the restaurant’s bar offers half-priced cocktails and 20% off wine lists on the days that the Miami Spice menus are offered.

STK: Offers specially priced bottles of wine and sparkling wine as well as the option to upgrade their meal with a 16 oz. sirloin and signature STK side.

Shula’s Steakhouse at The Alexander Hotel: Discounted sparkling, red or white wine by the glass.   Shula’s 347 Grill: Discounted specialty cocktail and select bottles of wine on offer.

Talavera Cocina Mexicana: Instead of the traditional three-course Miami Spice meal, the restaurant offers diners a four-course menu, including a complimentary cocktail.

Tantra Restaurant and Lounge: Discounted valet parking and wine bottles, nightly. On Saturday nights, Miami Spice dinner patrons can enjoy discounted bottle service.

The Restaurant at The National Hotel: Complimentary valet parking for Miami Spice patrons and discounted bottle selections.

Trio on the Bay:  The restaurant allows diners to choose one entrée, one entrée, and one dessert from the regular dinner menu for $35 per person.

Vita Restaurant & Lounge: Every Monday, wine and Champagne bottles are offered at a 50% discount.

For details and updates on participating Miami Spice restaurants, menus and events, check out the website  Follow Miami Spice on Twitter:  @MiamiandBeaches

Go Greek! Egg & Dart in the Miami Design District

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On August - 16 - 2011
Egg & Dart co-owners Niko Theodoroou & Costa Grillas-- photo credit Brett Hufziger

Niko Theodoroou & Costa Grillas

by: Mary Jo Almeida-Shore

Egg & Dart, the Miami Design District’s new, chic Greek restaurant and bar, opened its doors with an exclusive preview for the Friends of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival on Tuesday, August 2. Egg & Dart is truly a family affair- handsome Greek co-owners Costa Grillas and Niko Theodorou, are longtime friends whose families have owned Greek restaurants in Greece and the United States for decades. The two friends married gorgeous Greek sisters and Theodorou’s mother Vagia, who runs a catering company in Athens and a restaurant in Tzia, created the menu and helms the kitchen.  How’s that for a big fat Greek All in the Family sitcom? 

Guests started the evening sipping the signature cocktail, the unique “Greek Salad” (a bizarre take on the Bloody Mary made up of Ambler gin, pepperoncini, feta stuffed Kalamatas), as well as sampling tasty bacalao and zucchini croquettes.  Next, we were treated to a family-style dinner featuring the eatery’s signature Greek dishes including an array of dips and spreads; Greek salad; grilled octopus (our favorite) and lamb with eggplant mash; and loukoumades – authentic Greek donuts drizzled with honey and walnuts and served a la mode.  

“It was an honor to be welcomed to Miami by this prestigious group of philanthropists and foodies,” said Grillas.  “We were happy to introduce the Friends to our restaurant and philosophy.”  Egg & Dart is officially open to the public for dinner nightly starting at 5 p.m.  The restaurant is located at 4029 North Miami Avenue in the Miami Design District.

Morton’s Miami Beach

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On August - 5 - 2011

filet_2011_lessgrease Morton's Miami BeachNot to be overshadowed by the countless steakhouses on the beach, Morton’s Miami Beach delivers the exceptional food and service for which the restaurant chain has been respected for over 30 years.  In short, it is a traditional staple for food connoisseurs in search of terrific food and friendly service at a reasonable price.  The classic steakhouse joins the 10th anniversary of the gastronomic event of the season, Miami Spice, with a menu that is as savory as its price point.  Offering a variety of steak, seafood, and poultry dishes with delicious sides and desserts, the quality of the food surpasses the quantity- which says a lot- as you will leave stuffed- for a mere 35 bucks. Noteworthy dishes include:  Morton’s signature chopped salad with Blue Cheese dressing, the single cut Filet Mignon with Béarnaise Sauce on the side, Potatoes Lyonnaise (sautéed in bacon fat with onions), and the double chocolate mousse.  Yes, ALL of this is included in the price.

Seasoned Sommelier Steven Hoyt will recommend the perfect bottle of wine to enhance the culinary experience and Christopher, top server, is quite the expert on dishes and specialties Morton’s Miami Beach has to offer.  Oh, and did we mention that the valet parking is free?  

For more information, visit: 

Morton’s Miami Beach/Miami Spice 2011

Fado: Your New Craic House in Brickell

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On July - 5 - 2011

fadoNew on the Brickell scene is Fadó Irish Pub & Restaurant, (pronounced F’doe) a large, gorgeous, cavernous space manufactured in Dublin and built and installed by a team of Irish craftsmen. How’s that for authentic? The name means “long ago” as the owners strive to provide the typical atmosphere and grub of the neighborhood Irish pub- a central element to the Irish culture. 

While Fadó is new to us, it has 13 sister restaurants throughout the country.  The concept and structure are authentic but not cramped- with five different event spaces to meet guests varying purposes:  from clubbing to watching sports or enjoying a perfect pint at the bar.  

The menu extends beyond your typical Irish fare to include delicious burgers, salads and Phillies.  Try the blackened chicken and shrimp boxty, Guinness BBQ hot wings, Bangers and Mash, shepherd’s pie and cheese dip and wedges. Wash it all down with your favorite Irish beer. 

But what Fado serves up best of all, is good ol’ fashioned, certified pure Irish craic, which means “fun” (put the pipe away!).  So grab a buddy, a pint, and some bites, and let the craic roll!

De Rodriguez Cuba on Ocean: Latin Roots and the Ocean

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On July - 5 - 2011

Chef-Douglas-RodriguezHave an affinity for Latin fare with flair? Does the thought of fresh seafood, perfectly prepared ceviche, and sensational sizzling steaks make your mouth water (it’s watering right now, isn’t it?) Well, put this down and head to De Rodriguez Cuba on Ocean, (formerly at the Astor hotel) owned and operated by culinary wizard, James Beard Award winning chef, Douglas Rodriguez, who raises the bar when it comes to seafood and ceviche and takes Nuevo Latino cuisine to new heights by infusing his Cuban roots throughout his dishes with bold Latin spices.  The expansive yet warm, 200-seat, beachfront restaurant is the Bentley hotel’s best kept secret, and includes two full bars, a 25-foot ceviche bar (featuring 15 types of ceviche), wooden mermaids, tropical plants and seafood supplied by environmentally responsible fisherman and fish farms. 

De Rodriguez Cuba on Ocean is one of the few restaurants on South Beach located directly on the ocean so you can enjoy the salty sea air from inside the stylish, dimly lit dining room, or on the gorgeous outdoor patio. Sounds pretty romantic huh? Unique to De Rodriguez Cuba on Ocean is that the menu includes a number of gluten-free items:  root vegetables are used instead of grains and wheat.  Noteworthy dishes include:  the pan con bistec – made with braised short rib and crunchy crust, which is technically an appetizer but can easily serve as an entrée and the arugula/prosciutto salad- also delicious and beautifully presented. With regards to ceviche, the Thai Lobster is among the most popular and the lobster and steak dishes are also quite good.  When asked about the menu offerings, Chef Rodriguez explained, “If I can find purveyors who ensure the products we get are responsibly grown, fished, picked, and so on, then I can feel good about the food on the plate and so can my guests.”  The knowledgeable and delightful servers are such fans of the food and of the chef that you may find yourself ordering half the menu (and asking them to join you for dessert). 

The staff at De Rodriguez Cuba on Ocean promises to delight guests with a terrific overall experience – a trifecta of food, drink and entertainment.  According to Rodriguez, “We strive to go to provide guests of every age with an entertaining experience from start to finish.”  So the next time you crave fresh seafood, served in a sexy setting just steps from the sea, head to De Rodriguez Cuba – D-Rod’s got you covered.