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Mar 31, 2007 06:40 AM

Jaguar, Mayan Icon or Miami Institution in the making?


I was determined to head over to Francesco in the Gables for Peruvian food. Unfortunately, my guest is/was sold on Jaguar's Ceviche, me too for that matter. So, I figure why not stick to the tried and tested in Coconut Grove and save Francesco for another day.

Once again Jaguar exceeded expectations. This time it wasn’t for their beloved Ceviche, which the two of us had 3 samplers between us containing six spoons each (think Japanese soup spoon). I am very partial to their "Nuevo" style featuring suave & tender Calamari or Tiger Shrimp, my guest is partial to their "Oriental" style featuring sushi quality Tuna. They also had a special Ceviche mixto which was fab and contained octopus, scallop & calamari with a tiny dollop of pureed Sweet Potato. Every Ceviche connoisseur knows Camote or Sweet Potato should accompany this Peruvian plate. The tiny dollop completed the experience nicely....anyway on to the main event.

Jaguar runs their specials for a week as opposed to a day. IMHO, this is actually a very good idea from both a restaurateur’s perspective and a customer's perspective. The special we chose was a Home Run...I got to correct myself, a Grand Slam (nothing to do with the dreadful Denny's breakfast ;-) ). A center cut Pork Chop, with the bone ala Lamb Chop, cut in half with the two bones criss-crossing over a pile of Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Peas and Caramelized Onions sprinkled about for good measure. I know, your thinking, so? Here's the dealio, this Pork Chop or Pork Chops I should say were so tender we cut them with our forks; in addition the sauce was simply delectable! I don't think I have yet to used that word on this board...DELECTABLE...what was the name of said special? Chancho Adobado...Adobe Pig meat is a very ruff translation.

We were going to try Swordfish alo Macho which sounds divine, but once again we had Ceviche overload and were happy to split one main event along with dessert. I have not ventured too far into the main menu on account of the aforementioned. Any one who has delved deeply into the entrees, please enlighten me.

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  1. Well, I got a new ride yesterday-a Prius-and when I got in it for my "first" drive, it guided me directly to this Coconut Grove eating emporium. I must say, I am sure glad it did! Thankfully, it's gas consupmtion seems to be a lot less than my chow consumption!!!

    The spoon sampler, which I have relied on now for years and enables one to mix and match flavours, was not going to quell my large appetite for my favorite ceviche so we went with two Amazona Spoons (think big). One "Nuevo" style featuring tender Calamari and Tiger Shirmp and the other "Oriental" style feauturing sushi quality Tuna. Nuevo = aji amarillo and Oriental = ??? I forget, but it is good, very good indeed.

    The specials included a Grilled White Cheese app with Tomatillo sauce and six homemade mini tortillas. This is not a dish I would have ordered, but our server and the MD advised us to do so...WOW! The Chunk-of-cheese taquito(s) were scrump-dilly.

    Their dinner special this week was a Skirt Steak over Tacu Tacu with a perfectly fried egg on top. NiiiCE! I confess, I have had better Tacu Tacu at Peruvian restaurants, but it was good nonetheless. The beef was done to perfection as were the fried plantains thrown in for good measure.

    We also did the Tacos de Conchinita Pibil....Good Lord Almighty, why? Why are they soo good? Those homemade tortillas are second to none, the stewed pork is above and beyond, and the guac I dolloped on top kicked ASS.

    Their Dulce de Leche Cheese cake served up in a nice size ramakin and their Bread Pudding with the spiked up salsa Anglaise were way over the top and had me waddaling down Grand Ave...good thing my new ride does not have my appetite for petro!

    2 Replies
    1. re: netmover

      For a place with such a hodge-podge of a menu (usually a warning sign of a place that does nothing particularly well), I've found Jaguar to be pretty good. For me the ceviches are still the high point, though, the rest is merely servicable.

      1. re: Frodnesor

        Their Mexy excels! Afterall, they are Mexies and they do it right. I have really stuck to the ceviche, mexy and specials and not tried much else on the menu...other than the burger, which I really liked too. The bun is a little benign, but the actual burger witrh a ground chorizo hat and julienned potatoes and onions are stellar.

    2. Jaguar is 2 blocks from my house and I love it there. I travel a ton so having a nice place to pop in and sit at the bar after a trip is great. Bartenders and servers are very competent, which is strange for Miami!! Food is done really well too. I love the 1/2 salad option and usually get the ceviche sampler and 1/2 salad when Im being a 'good boy' haha. Their mexi dishes are very tasty as well and the mojitos are solid.

      1. Great rundown on Jaguar. It's one of my favorite restaurants in South Florida. The ceviche's are awesome, the taquitos are tasty, the steak salad is nothing less than spectacular and the drinks actually have liquor in them! I've eaten there several times now and like to get by there at least once per month and twice whenever possible....Parking situation isn't the best but that's The Grove, right?

        3 Replies
        1. re: LargeLife

          I really enjoy the Shrimp Trio every time I go. Shrimp prepared three ways - all with different accompanying sauces and rice. It is a filling dish and really well prepared.

          1. re: nikklos

            That SHrimp Trio caught my eye, what were the styles? Are half salads new?

            1. re: netmover

              The shrimp are Fried, grilled and sauteed. The sweet sauce accompanying the fried shrimp is delicious. Actually they all are. The sauces accompanying the sauteed and grilled shrimp have more of a bite to them, made with mild chiles. The best part for me with a dish like this is when all the sauces marry as you finish off the rice.