Sardinia, south beach
tried to go to Quattro last night. 1 hour wait for table of 2 at 9:00. had drinks at the bar- only cheese or salumi plate served at bar, no other food. then didn't feel like waiting any longer. what do people think of the place, food, etc?
went next to Sardinia- place was packed at 9:45, but were seated immediately. loved how for appetizers they offered a list of different veggies (brussel sprouts with guanciale, beets with prosciutto, etc) cheeses, and meats and you mix and match what you want, as many as you want.
everything we ordered was good, plus great service and not very pricey. will definitely go back
We went to Sardinia last night. The roast suckling pig was wonderful. Crispy skin on the outside and incredibly moist meat beneath. My wife had the seafood paella which was delicious. Very friendly wait staff. Miami has another winner with Sardinia. Amazing that each year more and more restaurants have been opening with such talented chefs. Miami seems to continue to be a rising culinary star.
Just got back from dinner at Sardinia.I usually love this place, but I have to say, not everything is stellar. Service was ehh, nice enough, but not polished or particularly knowledgeable. Server read off her note pad, missed an entree, and generally had no helpful suggestions. Carasatu bread was stale. Salumi and cheese plates where wonderful as usual, and finally the salad that comes with it wasn't too salty. it was just right this time. We drank a wonderful earthy Campaccio Terabianca that was an amazing match with the parmaggiano. We had two different meatball dishes, the polpatine,(sp?) which were very good, and another meatball with pasta dish, I don't think these were made with veal. They were pretty dense and nothing about the dish was very exciting. The ravioli with goat cheese and spinnach, again, ehh. The rabbit ragu, however was solid. Does anyone know,are any of the pastas there homemade? We got the fennel,arrugula, radish salad again with entrees, but this time the parmigiano wasn't the same, it tasted like wax. Overall it was pretty mediocre, dissapointing because I always reccomend this place. While I still like this restaurant, especially for the salumi, it's just not anywhere near the caliber of Michy's, or Michael's.
I was pretty set on taking the family to Talula’s for dinner on my last night in Miami. The main reason for that decision was that my mom, who turned 60 (and for whom the trip to Miami was taken), greatly prefers gentle, quiet, and linen-serviced restaurants to those that are more boisterous and lively, though they may have better food. Talula seemed to be a slower pace than say, Sardinia Ristorante, where I really wanted to for my last dinner in Miami (I had not been to either, so this consideration was based on what I had heard and read from others). But, I, her food-nerdy son, was feeling a tad guilty dragging my parents all over Miami to the faster-paced places that I had wanted to visit. So, I thought I’d make our last night out together a little more peaceful. Talula was it.
In a surprising twist of events, both of my parents, and especially my mother, were so thrilled by my restaurants selections thus far – Michy’s and Michael’s – that my mother turned to me after dinner at Michael’s Genuine and asked, eagerly, “what’s for dinner tomorrow night?”
I told her about Talula. She asked me what the food was like. I said that I didn’t know, but I could show her the menu on their website. She took one look and turned to me and asked: “Is there anything more – well, like Michy’s and Michael’s? This reads a little too fussy.” Huh? Apparently, she had found a new love for family-style, communal, small-plates sampling type of fare. My dad chimed in – “I’d rather have robust and hearty than fancy and delicate.”
Seizing the opportunity, I briefly sketched out Sardinia for them, giving my mom a warning that it was probably going to be dark, loud, crowded and sans white tablecloth. She said she didn’t care. She wanted good food, and my dad agreed. (I think my mom, in her autumn, has finally awakened to her gustatory senses. As long as I’ve known her, she’s been much more about ambience and convenience than actually good food. That is to say, either she gets dressed up for a quiet peaceful elegant setting with a view, otherwise, she’s happy with a hot dog from a street vendor between errands. Food has rarely been her number one priority.)
Sardinia Ristorante does not accept reservations. This made me nervous. Thankfully, our “retirement dining schedule” for the late-night Miami Beach folks, landed us a half-empty restaurant around 7.30pm, when we walked in.
The restaurant was dark. Very dark. The restaurant was loud. Very loud. The restaurant was crowded. Very crowded. The food was fantastic. Very fantastic. We were pleased. Very pleased… and left very full.
I’ll spare the details on the location, décor, etc – information easily gleaned from their website (www.sardinia-ristorante.com). I’ll also skip detailed description of each dish – these can be read and the pictures of the food can be found on my flickr account here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ulteriorepicure/sets/72157602807838551/.
We ordered liberally from both sides of the menu.
Animelle (Crispy Sweetbreads
Roasted Baby Suckling Pig
Vegatali (Sides): Braised Fennel, Roasted Beets with Pancetta, and Broccolini
Fromaggio: Robiola de langue, Belfiore Pecorino Stagionata, and Pecorino Tartufo Fresco de Mugello.
1. Strike number one: The ONE thing I wanted to try at the restaurant – the specialty for which they are known – was their carasatu flatbread. They had none available the night we were in. Our server, who had a charmingly heavy Italian accent, tried to convey something about a party the night before and them not having enough time to make another batch. Apparently, it’s a rather involved and lengthy process.
2. Strike number two: Our server told us about a special of the night – a whole oven-roasted sea bream stuffed with herbs and served over a bed of salad greens. He did a hard sell (not that he needed to) – opining that it was the only thing better than the salt-baked branzino, a personal favorite and what I wanted to order. So the sea bream was ordered. Two minutes later, he comes back and apologizes – no more sea bream. It wasn’t his fault, but after the carasatu let-down, it elicited a slight inner groan. This being said, the salt-baked branzino was excellent. Our server was tremendously deft in plating the filleted fish. The meat, which was drizzled table-side with fruity extra virgin olive oil, was moist and fluffy.
Yet, despite these two mis-fires at the beginning of our meal, we managed to settle in for a stellar experience:
3. I really do not object to their liberal use of very fruity and fresh extra virgin olive oil.
4. Their salads are wonderful – the Finochiaccia and Sarda are strikingly similar. Their greens are fresh, bright, and exceedingly flavorful. They are generous with the bottarga shaving on the Insalate Cabras – it was definitely worth the $14.
5. Roasting everything in a blazing hot wood oven really makes everything taste 100% better.
6. The sweetbreads were very good – better than most I’ve had. However, the crispy charred Brussels sprouts and cipollini (which had gone silky inside) were the real stars of the “Animelle.”
7. Portions are large – especially the antipasti, many of which could have easily made for a main course. But, the ones we ordered (Moscardini and Animelle) and the ones we spied at tables nearby were so heavy/rich that eating an entire one by oneself would have become a bit of a monotonous chore. They were perfect for sharing. The baby octopi were exquisite.
8. We ordered a trio of “vegetali” side dishes. All three were exceptional. The roasted beets were as sweet as candy. The braised fennel, however, were my favorite.
9. Dessert list looked a bit hackneyed – and pricey. Our strawberry tiramisu – served in an old-world tin gelato coppetta really didn’t deserve the $9 price tag. The other dessert options seemed rather boring, with the exception of the mille foglia.
10. Service was good and bad in an old-world sense: Good in that it was extremely informed, friendly, and – well, just gosh-darned Euro-charming. Bad in that the restaurant is so busy that it was often a little hard to flag them down. This is not a hoity-toity joint, so dishes were cleared somewhat haphazardly… utensils weren’t always replaced. We also got a non-English-speaking bus boy on his first night. The poor boy was so flustered, I wanted help him out. At one point, our server insisted on us not helping him, which I suppose, was in the boy’s best interest in the long run. The staff and management seemed to try their best to be patient with him, but at times, it was very clear that they were frustrated.
11. The Italian (strictly?) wine list was extraordinary. Pricing seemed a little high, but certainly acceptable for the local Miami going rate.
12. I wanted to eat the entire cheese selection. Alas, if only I had four stomachs. The three we sampled (two which I have had before) were great. I want to know where they get their honey. I want some. Can anyone help me out? It was loosely described as “Sardinian honey” on the description of one of the carasatu options – I’m guessing they use the same kind as an accompaniment to cheeses.
My parents confirmed, in the car one the way back to the hotel that Sardinia, in all of our estimations, ended up being the highlight of our three dinners, and indeed, the crown of all of our meals in Miami on this trip.
I left the restaurant plotting for my next visit to Miami. It’s the kind of food that makes you want to drop your day job and move to Sardinia. I’m sure someone will hire me out there… I can herd sheep, or something…
Again, photos of all of our food and my food-nerdy thoughts can be seen and read on my flickr account here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ulterior...
re: ulterior epicure
re: ulterior epicure
We had dinner there last week and it keeps getting better......They just have a way with seafood that is unmatched anywhere else on the beach. The clam dishes on the menu are superb.....the prawns are the best I have ever tasted, the seafood paella sp? perfect! and the salads are super fresh and wonderful. We will return soon for another amazing dinner.
yes, the paella is new and very worthwhile. Also, they had a "regular" tiramisu that knocked the cover off the ball. The staff told me the "regular" tiramisu is a special and is far superior to the normal strawberry tiramisu on the menu. I would recommend it if you happen to hear that it is a special.
Will Sardinia's relative success be its undoing? Probably it will if success is measured by the quality of the dining experience. However, the quality of the dining experience seems to frequently lose out to the amount of revenue to the proprietor in the short term. For some diners, dining is not merely about the bite; instead, it is the total dining experience. The rushed waiter, the desire to turn the table, the tables croweded together, etc all can detract from the total experience. Owners may opt to pack them in and rush them out or they may opt to limit the number of seatings per night and look to the long term. Likewise, patrons may opt to select establishments that care about the overall quality of the dining expereince. As the popularity of Sardinia increases and the mob is allowed to grow unrestrained, my desire for retuning decreases.
Last year we had a business dinner at Grazie. We called ahead and said it was business. We were rushed at every turn. Plates were removed prematurely. Finally after an hour and fifteen minutes were were asked to "move to the bar" which was a mob scene because they needed the table. We declined and the manager visited the table and was quite insistent. Our guests were New Yorkers and had never seen such service. We have not returned.
Waste and attitude-- now those are good topics for a thread. Will Sardinia's relative success be its undoing? Will the quintessential American (waiter and customer)need to get the customer in and out like sauerkraut ruin it? Or will it soon settle and provide people with a good long term relationship?
I wish I would've gone when it first opened. Went for the first time on Friday and got there relatively early (7:30). Still had to wait 30 minutes for a table; however, everyone from the bartender to the host and hostess were extremely gracious and friendly.
Our waiter was rushed because there was literally an onslaught beginning at 8:00. I felt bad for him because he looked like a pinball ball going from the bachelorette party, to a party of 10 older friends to our measly table of 2. Despite the onslaught our apps and mains came out timely. Sweetbreads cooked well but very underseasoned. Pastas were plenty heavy and although I know al dente is the preference, my orrechiette (sp) was a little chewier than I'd hoped. We were in a rush to catch a movie so we skipped dessert. All in all, for $50 ex. tip for 2 it's an extremely good deal for the beach. Only problems are that (i) the place is now extremely popular and can get overly and uncomfortable packed and (ii) a lot of the people packing the place are there because it's a place to be seen and don't really care about the food (I saw so many half eaten plates that it killed me that so much food was going to waste).
Gotta say I love the sweetbreads, they are my favorite app there (i think the pepper they provide is enough seasoning and when you combine it with the veggies it is great). I really like the orichette too (though i normally do not like bitter things).
They make pretty mean vanilla and zabagione gelattos and I really like their nutella dessert.
I go for late lunches to avoid the crowds btw...
Went to Sardinia Friday. The food was decent. An abundance of well prepared vegtables which can be ordered on the side or combined as an entre. A rustic bread was a highlight. Service was South Beach...you are fortunate to be in the presence of the waiter...yet efficient. Tables are too close so the waiters read end protruded over our table while he served the next table over.