Archive for the ‘Palate’ Category

Elle Taco at Dadeland Mall

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On October - 27 - 2016

elle-tacoIt’s not every day you get to have dishes inspired by a Michelin starred chef- especially in a mall! Well now, thanks to Elle Taco, you can do just that. The Mexican taqueria concept that boasts a diverse menu of organic, authentic and homemade ingredients, has opened in the Dining Pavilion Dadeland Mall, under the direction of Culinary Director and Michelin-starred Chef Derrick Styczek, who’s brought  inventive yet traditional dishes to the menu. “Opening the first Elle Taco in Florida and the second location in the country at Dadeland Mall felt like a natural next step for our family-focused company,” said Mike Baccaro, Founder of Elle Taco. “Our winning combination of honest, fresh Mexican food, budget-friendly pricing andhigh-quality service is unmatched, and we are thrilled to introduce this concept to Miami and become part of the fabric of this vibrant community.” Named for the daughter of one of the founders, Elle Taco was born from a love of family and tradition. Based in Miami by way of New York, this first-to-market eatery offers Floridians an unparalleled dining experience in a casual and inviting atmosphere that captures the spirit of a family-run, roadside Mexican taqueria.

The Elle Taco experience includes innovative talent behind the scenes. Under the guidance of Styczec, Executive Chef Andres Torres and Chef de Cuisine Eloy Balbuena add the heart and soul of authentic, time-honored recipes learned while growing up in Mexico. Their combined experiences conceived alengthy menu of organic options that includes tacos,starters, sides, dips, salads, Mexican classics, kid’s meals and more. Additionally, the menu offers a robust tequila list, mezcal, cervezas, cocktails and coffee from South Florida’s Panther Coffee. Ask for Ariel- she makes the best colada in the mall.

All Elle Taco products are organic, sustainable, hormone and antibiotic-free and created from locally-sourced ingredients when available. Fresh, never frozen ingredients include farm fresh vegetables and eggs, hormone-free chicken and pork, line-caught fish and ocean-caught shrimp that come together with handmade corn and flour tortillas to create an elevated dining experience.

“With their inventive menu and warm environment, Elle Taco is a perfect addition to the sleek new dining pavilion at Dadeland Mall,” said Dailen Rodriguez, director of Marketing and Business Development. “Our center continues to set itself apart in the Miami market as a first-rate dining and shopping destination with distinctive concepts like Elle Taco, and we are confident that this restaurant will appeal to locals and visitors alike.”

For more information about Elle Taco, please visit or follow us on Instagram @elletaco, Twitter @mb_taco, or Facebook @tacosporvida.


Posted by Maryanne Salvat On October - 11 - 2016

gbkGKB is a contemporary bistro and bar located in the heart of Miami’s Wynwood area that features a globally influenced Peruvian menu created by Chef Rafael Perez. Perez, a native of Peru, draws on his background as well as incorporating local flavors and ingredients to deliver stellar ceviches, tiraditos and modern twists on traditional Latin dishes. Fans of boozy brunches and incredible food in an upscale, modern and relaxed atmosphere are welcome to enjoy the new brunch menu featuring traditional brunch staples, modern twists on classics as well as fresh summer dishes and specialty cocktails.

For those who fancy a free-flowing beverage option can opt for the $24 “All Day Rose” Billette Rose from Provence special. The brunch cocktail menu also features the new GKBloody Mary for two piled high with shrimp and bacon for $26. For Champagne lovers, the bubbly options include $15 ‘POP’ by Pommery Champagne Splits as well as full bottles of Heidsiek Monopole Champagne options for $60.

In addition, GKB’s Sunday brunch menu includes a “Bottomless Brunch” for just $24. For those who fancy gbk1a free flowing “Bottomless Brunch” cocktail options include Pisco Punch, Sangria, Mimosa’s, Bloody Mary’s and Rosé. The a la carte brunch menu features sweet brunchy treats including Guava and Mascarpone Stuffed French Toast, in-house Baked Granola, Florida Honey & Yogurt and 3 different types of Pancakes – Buttermilk, Quinoa or Blue Corn. For the savory, the menu will offer dishes like: Lomo Saltado Quesadillia, Pulled Pork & Quinoa Pancakes with Sunny Side Egg, Shrimp Sofrito, Soft Shell Crab Benedict as well as classics like Steak-n-Eggs with a Peruvian twist, classic ceviches, tiraditos, and a selection of their main dishes throughout the day. Don’t miss the churrasco- it’s one of the best!

This October 2016 will mark the restaurant’s one year anniversary. To celebrate, GKB Wynwood is excited to announce the new additions which will include a unique indoor/outdoor ceviche & raw bar offering ceviches, oysters and sushi. In addition, Chef Rafael Perez will be hosting weekly interactive master classes where guests will learn the fine art of ceviche and sushi making. For reservations: call 1 786-477-5151 or or email



Cantina La Veinte- Authentic Mexican Cuisine in a Lively and Gorgeous Space

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On October - 4 - 2016

cantinaCantina La Veinte in downtown Miami’s Icon Brickell, offers an elevated, authentic dining experience in a strikingly elegant setting. What Zuma is to Izakaya-inspired Japanese dining and Milos is to Greek cuisine, Cantina is to the “Mexican gastronomic adventure.”

Brought to Miami by Cinbersol Group just over two years ago, Cantina delivers the high-end culinary tradition and exceptional service for which the leading Mexico City-based hospitality firm is well known. Upon entering, we were impressed by the opulent, luxurious setting. Immediately, the ambiance signaled that we were in for a night of exceptional dining and a lot of fun. The Friday evening crowd gathered around the striking, contemporary, floor-to-ceiling black onyx bar, complete with a pyramid-shaped black and gold chandelier overhead, to drink and chat and experience the vibe.

But the din of excited guests did not stop at the bar. The restaurant’s adjacent dining room, was filled withcantina-la-veinte-miami-food-06 diners who enjoyed and sang along to music while taking in the action in the open exhibition kitchen, where the talented culinary team showcased their skills at preparing authentic creations. We enjoyed watching the chefs create Mexican tortillas by hand, right before our eyes as we sipped a cocktail at the lively bar. Downstairs, at the outdoor waterfront patio, we listened to Mariachis playing before being seated beside one of the restaurant’s expansive windows back in the upstairs main dining room. Designed by Mexican architectural firm Niz + Chauvet, Cantina’s decor pays homage to the Mexican Art Deco style, while maintaining the distinct décor of a traditional Mexican Cantina.

Cantina boasts an eclectic menu of traditional Mexican cuisine, as well as expertly crafted cocktails and a massive selection of over 260 tequilas and mezcals, considered one of the largest in the U.S. At the helm of Cantina’s kitchen is Mexico-native, Executive Chef Santiago Gomez, an alumnus of NOBU, both in Miami and Mexico City, Erawan, Piso 51 and Corporate Chef of Cantina La Numero 20’s multiple locations in Polanco, El Angel and Santa Fe, MX. Gomez most recently worked at critically-acclaimed restaurant, DANIEL by renowned chef, Daniel Boulud. At Cantina La Veinte in Miami, Cinbersol’s first U.S. restaurant, Gomez delivers a deliciously diverse menu of authentic Mexican food incorporating whimsical touches.

slide3Staying true to his Mexican roots, Gomez has created a menu filled with authentic dishes from south of the border. Diners can choose from seafood dishes including, ceviches and aguachiles to masterful entrees. Our favorites included the Tostadas de Atun and the Tostadas de King Crab, Vuelve a la Vida Ceviche, Sopa de Camaron and the guacamole with home-made chips for starters. The Callos de Hacha (perfectly seared scallops) and the Langostinos (giant prawns) were outstanding as mains. The numerous stuffed chiles at varying levels of heat, fresh oyster selections and numerous cuts of beef are also recommended. Save room for dessert, as the dessert menu is varied and delightful.

Unique to its concept, Cantina La Veinte has its own upscale Mercado adjacent to the outdoor dining area, offering prepared foods, imported Mexican ingredients, charcuterie, fresh baked bread, caviar, wines, and horchatas – traditional rice-based Mexican beverages.

Cantina La Veinte is located at 495 Brickell Avenue at the Icon Brickell. For more information on hours of operation, visit:

Don’t Miss: St. Regis Bar & Sushi Lounge Bal Harbour

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On September - 15 - 2016

stregisBy: Dr. Mary Jo Almeida-Shore

Elegant, romantic and tres chic, the St. Regis Bar & Sushi Lounge features an exclusive selection of the world’s finest champagnes, rare vintage wines, and hand crafted cocktails, complemented by an innovative menu of sushi and various fine dishes. Perfect for a romantic evening or an intimate night out with friends, this beautiful space offers impeccable food and service, and serves cocktails and wines along with live music nightly. One close friend, for whom the St. Regis is “first date central,” begrudgingly shared why she loves this place so much, “It exudes old-world glamour, is intimate enough to plan a second date, and serves a crazy-good martini.”

From the moment you arrive at the resort, you are treated like a VIP. From being greeted by name, personally escorted to the restaurant, and seated at a perfect table, you know you’re in for something special. Inside the St. Regis Bar, surrounded by beveled mirrors and chandeliers, you’d swear you were inside a jewelry box.

Yet aside from the unparalleled atmosphere, the real star is the food. Jillian Jacobson, creator of the Asian cuisine concept takes great pride in showcasing the carefully selected menu which incorporates only the best ingredients, and showcases great attention to details. Each dish is exquisitely prepared. While difficult to pick a favorite, we highly recommend the Big Eye Tuna tacos, Maine Lobster roll, Rainbow roll and Jules roll (Alaskan King Crab, Cucumber, Spicy Mayo, Soy Paper). But for a truly life changing experience, order the Land and Sea Roll, (Wagyu Beef, Alaskan King Crab, White Truffle Oil, Avocado, Cucumber). You really can’t go wrong with any of the menu selections.

Throughout the month of September, take advantage of the Miami Spice menu: a decadent three course dinner for only $39. Chef selections include: Big Eye Tuna tacos or Tuna Tataki Salad; Lamb Chops or Soba Noodles and dessert. A wine pairing is available for an additional $25. From start to finish, the St. Regis Bar & Sushi Lounge Bal Harbour delivers an extraordinary dining experience.

For more information, visit:



LT Steak & Seafood at The Betsy- South Beach Hotel

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On August - 30 - 2016

LTWe have loved the Betsy- South Beach Hotel for years and for so many reasons:  its elegant Old Florida ambiance, cozy and welcoming interiors,  “hidden gem” appeal…but most of all, for the elevated dining experience provided by Executive Chef Laurent Tourondel, who has recently opened LT Steak & Seafood, (where one of our favorites, BLT, used to be).  LT Steak and Seafood, much like its predecessor is dedicated to serving the best, most refined American steak and seafood on Miami Beach.  LT is a fitting dining room within the historic hotel, the Greater Miami area’s only Forbes Four Star and AAA Four Diamond rated boutique hotel.  LT Steak & Seafood offers diverse dishes that draw inspiration from the distinct energy of Miami. Chef Tourondel, one of the region’s strongest culinary voices, has created seasonally-inspired American menu that showcases a deep appreciation for the local LT2landscape, combining beloved aspects of steak and seafood houses together under one very elegant roof. LT Steak & Seafood offers innovative takes on familiar dishes, with menu highlights featuring expansive sushi and raw bar offerings such as Crunchy Curried Peekytoe Crab and Freshwater Prawn Coconut; large seasonal salads including Lemon Poached Lobster Salad with grapefruit oil and Watermelon & Heirloom Tomatoes with feta, hot peppers and pomegranate vinaigrette; seafood entrees like Grilled Red Snapper with smashed fresh peas and lime-shiitake ginger vinaigrette; followed by a vast selection of U.S.D.A. Prime steaks from the grill, offered with rotating market sides. LT Steak & Seafood serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.  Our favorites included the Alaskan King Crab claws and the New York strip- a perfect steak, prepared to perfection.

lt3To complement the menu, an extensive beverage program created by LT Steak & Seafood F&B Director David Weiss, consists of a range of literary-inspired original cocktails, along with some signature classics inspired by Tourondel. The restaurant’s wine program includes a diverse, international list to match the bold menu items.  We would be remiss if we failed to mention the outstanding service, from start to finish!

The new look at LT Steak & Seafood has been brought to life by the award-winning design team at The Betsy-South Beach, led by Diamante Pedersoli and Carmelina Santoro. Clean lines, rich textures and an understated elegance define the space, exuding true warmth and comfort. The restaurant’s signature large picture windows from the original L. Murray Dixon Art Deco Design further enhance the airy, open space.

During the months of August and September, diners can take advantage of LT Steak & Seafood’s Miami Spice offerings. To view the featured lunch and dinner menus, available for only $23 and $39 dollars, respectively, visit:

The  three course pre fixe lunch ($23) and dinner ($39) menus include Kampachi Ceviche with citrus juice, red onion, sweet potato, avocado, hauncaina sauce, and cancha and Pan Roasted Bronzino with brown butter mushroom mojo, crispy garlic, and ultra-watercress.

The opening of LT Steak & Seafood has coincided with the larger expansion of The Betsy-South Beach, which will be adding impressive new facilities to elevate the guest experience, while preserving the commitment to a high level of personalized service. Along with LT Steak & Seafood, the property’s expansion will include two additional culinary concepts overseen by Tourondel, scheduled to open in fall of 2016. LT Steak & Seafood is located at 1440 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served daily from 7:00am – 10:00pm Sunday through Thursday, and 7:00am – 11:00pm Friday through Saturday. For reservations,  call 305-673-0044. All major credit cards accepted. For additional information, visit  

Eat Here Now!

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On May - 4 - 2016

burgerqBy: Mary Jo Almeida Shore

Miami’s got no shortage of great restaurants. Here are a few places we’ve recently discovered. Whether you crave good a flame grilled burger, an authentic lobster roll or an Argentine parrillada, our picks are sure to delight your palate.

BurgerQ’s Flame Grilled Burgers 

There’s no need to track BurgerQ on your GPS, as the aroma of the perfectly flame grilled burgers will guide you to this trendy, quality burger restaurant in Downtown Dadeland.

Burger lovers will rejoice in the unique flavor that can only come from an open-flame grill. The restaurant uses locally sourced ingredients, and boasts a one-of-a kind “beer wall” where you can select from as many or as few of the 16 craft beers on tap as you’d like to sample.

Friendly owner-operators, husband and wife team Gabriel and Maria Teresa Argüello have created an extensive menu of signature burgers and sandwiches. Our favorites were the mushroom, dripping with house-made truffle mayo and the onion jam. You can also build your own burger and be sure to try the fantastic onion rings. Also save room for a shake or dessert.

The menu at BurgerQ was designed to re-create the spirit of a traditional burger and barbecue spot: casual, welcoming, and ideal for the entire family, serving southern barbecue inspired dishes such as grilled-to-order burgers, fresh salads, and handmade signature shakes. The sides and accompanying home-made sauces are worth a mention.

“We are so appreciative for the welcome we have received by the city and local community. We designed our space to be inviting, with “earthy” textures, open layout and kitchen, and retro-upscale décor. As owners, we are elated to share our “backyard BBQ” concept. We look forward to serving our local community and hope they appreciate what we have created,” stated Maria Teresa. From our perspective, the Arguellos have far exceeded their goal!

BurgerQ is located at 8970 SW 72nd Place, Miami, FL 33156 in Downtown Dadeland. Visit the restaurant online via on Social via @BQBurgers.


izzyIzzy’s Fish & Oyster 

For an authentic New England experience, head to Izzy’s Fish & Oyster, acclaimed chef and restaurateur Jamie DeRosa’s highly anticipated second venture in Miami Beach’s vibrant South of Fifth neighborhood. Izzy’s serves the freshest, genuine New England fare combined with expert service, quality ingredients, and the best lobster roll this side of Kennebunkport.

“It was important for me to create a space that gives diners a chance to casually meet and connect with one another through the verve, tradition and excitement that lives within New England and its cuisine,” said DeRosa. “With trips to this region representing a large part of my childhood’s food culture, the menu will introduce dishes and ways of cooking that are familiar to this landscape. Beyond the kitchen, everything from the design to the hospitality will be committed to transcending the guest. For some, it will be reminiscent of similar memories along the coast and, for others, a first sense of quintessential New England right here in Miami Beach.”

The restaurant’s décor, just like the food and drink, celebrates the spirit and nostalgia of the seaside shacks that dot the coast, juxtaposed with the casual sophistication of Miami Beach. The petit, airy 40-seat interior space welcomes with grey stone-tiled floors, antique tin and reclaimed wood ceilings, ornate details of metal mesh suggestive of lobster traps and plush leather banquettes. The gleaming raw bar harboring the fresh catches of the day also resonates with the sounds of oysters being shucked and prepared in that moment, with a full vantage point of the action from the sleek, 15-seat white marble bar. There’s also a 20-seat outdoor café.

Alongside executive chef/partner DeRosa is chef de cuisine William Crandall, who maintains the fresh, simple and focused menu direction while enhancing the natural sweet, salty, grassy and briny flavors of the seafood. This approach is especially applied to the Raw Bar selection, which presents six ever-changing varietals of east coast oysters exclusively from Island Creek Oysters in support of its Farm & Foundation. Don’t miss Clams with lemon salsa, Ceviche with chili, cilantro and citrus and PEI Mussels bruschetta-style with white balsamic. The Bay Hopper, a shareable shellfish platter provides (four each) oysters, clams, mussels and shrimp with blue crab salad and ½ lobster.

The menu offerings are defined by way of Starters, From The Basket, Maines and Port & Starboard Sides. Signatures, both traditional and creative, include an indulgent Maine Lobster Roll- {our favorite) available in a hot preparation with lobster butter or cold with lobster mayo, New England Clam Chowder and Yukon Potato Gnocchi with oysters, American caviar and fresh herbs. Additional highlights include the Sugar Snap Salad, Fried Clam Bellies, and the Painted Hill Farms Sirloin Burger. For dessert, we recommend Classic Whoopies, made with a marshmallow fluff filling; a slice of Boston Cream Pie and Grandma Celia’s Lemon Meringue Pie. Go ahead- try all three! Izzy’s Fish & Oyster is located at 423 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach. For more information visit:



Founded in New York by Hector Rolotti in 1991, Novecento is an Argentinian bistro-style restaurant boasting 12 locations in 10 cities, spanning across four countries. South Florida, their most penetrated market, includes four locations – Brickell (2004), Key Biscayne (2010), Aventura (2013) and the brands latest expansion into the trending Midtown Miami district (2014).

Corporate Chef and COO of Novecento, Gabriel Medici, has shaped the brands fare to showcase a refined take on a blend of Pan-Latin and Argentine flavors. This culinary cross section, where South America influence meets French techniques, comes to life with approachable and robust entrée-sized salads, pasta dishes ranging from spaghetti to gnocchi, hearty fish and chicken dishes, and more than five cuts of beef. Novecento is not only a celebration of culture, but a celebration of family.

The menu immediately draws you in, with a wide offering of familiar favorites. While each menu is location specific, signatures include a selection of sandwiches like the Lomito Novcento beef tenderloin, mozzarella, ham, bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise on a baguette; meat entrees like a Ojo de Bife 16 oz. grilled rib-eye steak, sautéed spinach and roasted sweet potatoes to a Milanga Novecento a choice of lightly breaded beef with the option to add “A Caballo” two fried eggs on top, “Napolitana” with ham, cheese and tomato sauce or “Suiza” with Swiss cheese; as well as handcrafted beef, spinach & cheese, chicken & ham, and cheese Empanadas. Signature Picadas, sharing platters, are also available at each location and range from authentic Argentinean fare of grilled meats and empanadas to more traditional meat and cheese platters with offerings of nuts, olives and toast. Novecento’s signature dessert includes Panqueques con Dulce de Leche y Helado warm crepes, Dulce de leche, vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.

The beverage program includes a wide selection of international boutique wines, together with the addition of a full service bar. Signature cocktails range from $7 to $15 and include the Mojito Novecento made with Bacardi Superior Rum and Bacardi Limon; Classic Dewar’s 12 on the Rocks 12 year’s aged Scotch Whiskey on the rocks. All locations offer a daily Happy Hour from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., which includes 2-for-1 drink specials and bar bites; Wine Tuesdays with 50 percent off wine bottles; and Thirsty Thursdays with 50 percent off bottles of champagne and sparkling wine. Other weekly offerings include a Cigar Wednesdays and Pasta and Burger specials. For more information, visit: