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Miami Spice 2007

Yes, it's ridiculously early to start thinking about this, but I figured I'd create a post for the occassion. Here's a link to the list so far. Evolution and Table 8 are surprising participants. Noticeably missing is Michy's.

http://www.miamirestaurantmonth.com/p...

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  1. The menus are starting to show up for different restaurants and from a random sampling it looks like this year's offerings are a heck of a lot better.

    1 Reply
    1. re: lax2mia

      Not sure what has been everybody elses experience, but i've been pretty disappointed with miami spice over the past couple of years. While its a great chance to feel the "ambiance" of a restaurant, I don't really think the food they serve is representative of the establishment.

      Its just that I think the $35 dinner menu forces good restaurants to serve entrees like "churrasco" or "salmon", etc. that don't require much thought/cost.

      With that said, a couple restaurants did try impress. For instance, we had an incredible meal at Cacao. We went back a couple months later, and ordered the real deal, and it proved to be even better. In fact, I now put Cacao up there in the top 10 restaurants in Miami ;)

      However, I kinda feel that was an exception and am wary of seeing the miami spice deal as a test run. But If they perform REALLY well with the limited options (and also try to give REALLY good service), then maybe they are worth spending $200 at later on.

      Anybody else got any thoughts on miami spice and how to get the most utility out of the deals?

    2. i agree with lost hiway.Miami Spice has degenerated into restaurants just trying to fob off churrasco,chilean salmon,and half roasted chicken because they cant charge their regular prices for their regular menu items.this year there will be a 10-20% increase probably for the same 3 items.I would make it mandatory for a restaurant who wants to participate that they must provide their regular menu and then let the customer choose and get a certain percentage off regular menu items so they could accurately judge what htat restaurant is like.This may mean that lunch would be $30,and dinner $45 instead of $22 and $35,but at least you woulod get to sample their regular menu.My kudos to several of the restaurants who do this,noticeably smith and willensky.I used to try a dozen new restaurants a year in the beginning of the program but now i go online to see what restaurants are offering before i bother.Only tried 1 restaurant last year.Maybe they should put the program out of its misery if restaurants are only going through the motions of churrasco,salmon,and chicken.

      7 Replies
      1. re: travlnmike

        There are great deals/meals out there. You just need to do your homework and review the menus. On my initial glance, Talula, Touch and Tuscan Steak have solid menus. The Restaurant at the Setai offers real value, Social has a large selection of its dishes on the menu and offers value. Cacao and Chef Allen's menus are also strong. Most places don't have their menu up. I'll post back if I find any winners.

        1. re: Sobe

          Lots of good restaurants participating and lots of decent looking menus. Of course they're going to be putting lower cost food items on these menus (note that short ribs would appear to be a common theme this year), but its silly to think you're going to be getting foie gras and kobe beef with a $35 3-course dinner. Consider it an opportunity to see what some of these places can do with some of the simpler, lower-budget ingredients. I don't know of any city that doesn't do this type of thing without a set-menu format.

          Some places fairly obviously just use this as a device to get people in the door and then upsell them; others actually make an effort to really put something folks will enjoy on the Spice menu. It's generally foolish not to. The purpose ought to be to create a repeate customer, which you're not going to do if you just give them a rubber chicken.

          1. re: Sobe

            Vix's menu is posted and looks worthy

          2. re: travlnmike

            I think you're being a bit harsh. It would be totally unfair to demand that places offer items directly off of their menu at the Miami Spice price. You can't take dishes with the ingredients used at say Evolution and expect them to offer dishes at the same price as say Novecento. While it's more appreciated when a place does so, I wouldn't expect nor pass judgement if they didn't. And another thing to look out for is places that change their Spice menus periodically. I know last year Talula would change at least weekly which to me shows (1) they're paying attention to the menu and not considering it an afterthought and (2) they're trying to show patrons what they're cable of by providing a variety of dishes throughout the length of the program and (3) they're trying to get repeat business from Miami Spice customers probably in hopes that they'll return during the rest of the year.

            That being said, from my perusal, the menus just sound better this year. The Setai one in particular, considering the normal cost of dining there, seems like a bargain. Agree with Sobe that Talula's looks good and Social is offering three dishes for the $35. With two people that'd be 6 plates, more than worth it.

            As for holding S&W as an example of a responsible participant, they're only offering lunch and one of the items is a hamburger which to me puts it in the same realm as other places for offering churrasco, salmon, or chicken. But then again, I have a feeling it's a really good burger!

            1. re: lax2mia

              China Grill is always a nice deal to get the calamari salad, skirt steak & a dessert.
              Evolution menu just doesn't interest me, too bad.
              Setai is intriguing and this is a place I've generally avoided b/c it's so expensive.
              Social's idea to do any 3 dishes w/ several choices is clever.
              Talula, Cacao also look good.

              1. re: lax2mia

                one way expensive restaurants could meet their budget restraints of the miami spice program is to give half portions of their regular menu items and then miami spice program customers would be tasting exactly what the regular customers of that restaurant receive,albeit a smaller portion.Havent seen the list of menus that this year's participants are doing,but in the past s and w did offer its filet mignon and its crispy pork available from its regular menu for miami spice customers.Are they not doing it this year?

                1. re: travlnmike

                  Who wants to go out and eat half a dinner?
                  Many of the menus are already posted if you follow the link in the OP.

            2. In addition to spice, there's also Taste of Summer http://tasteofsummer.org/participatin...

              10 Replies
              1. re: Munchkin

                Cafe Maxx and 3030 Ocean are must do's

                1. re: Sobe

                  seems like calamari and octopus are 2007's version of a budget item that salmon,chicken,and churrasco were in previous years from a cursory review of those restaurants who posted their menus already.

                  1. re: travlnmike

                    Hounds>

                    If you have participated in the Miami Spice program in the past, do you ever feel the restaurant staff "chill" when you ask for the Spice Menu? I know there is an attitude shift when a table arrives with EXPENSE ACCOUNT written all over them and likewise a group of women often get a colder shoulder...

                    I have found some restaurants that decided to be part of Spice have failed to impart the spirit of the event to their service people and patrons end up being treated like they came in with one of those dining discount coupon books in hand.

                    In my experience, Spice works best at lunch where a $20+ per person three course menu is viewed with far less contempt than a group at dinnertime filling a table but eating on the cheap.

                    River Oyster Bar actually offers a Miami Spice type menu at lunch with 3 courses for around $20 every day - 2 starters, 2 mains, 2 desserts. We are regulars at the Bar mostly at lunchtime and the 3 course feature is very popular.

                    I just wondered what level of service the hounds have experienced during Miami Spice?

                    AG

                    1. re: advisor_Girl

                      My experience with service runs the gamut and I have to say one of the best experiences we had was at Blue Door. When we asked the waiter for the Spice menu he left and came back apologizing that the offer was only good until 9:00 (our reservation was at 9:30). I didn't say a word and just gave him the "you gotta be kidding me, please don't make me say what I'm thinking look". He said he'd be right back and sure enough he popped up with the Spice menu. Not only that, he was one of the most attentive and personable waiters we've had in Miami period. At the other end of the spectrum, Talula had awful service, but I believe it was a matter of the waitress involved and not the Spice menu per se. In fact, she was probably assisted by the limited menu because she was so scatterbrained that remembering our orders out of the regular menu would have been too much for her.

                      For the most part I haven't really gotten cold shoulders from staff, especially at places that are really slow. You can tell off the bat when you arrive how seriously the place takes the Spice promotion when they either include it in the main menu or hand you the separate menu without asking. Once you start asking then things get tricky. I usually peruse the regular menu then ask for the Spice menu which can either mean to the waiter that he's going to get a good cover or can backfire and reduce the waiter's hopes when you ask for the Spice menu. Regardless, and always depending on the level of service, I tip around the amount I would have left had I had a regular meal there.

                      1. re: lax2mia

                        I have to agree with you on blue door service - the waiters there are awesome.

                        To Sobe the poster...normally I would not go to Vix but I think the spice menu is going to get me there. Thanks for the heads up.

                        1. re: tpigeon

                          Some new menus are posted.
                          La Goulue could be worth a try based on the menu and normal prices. Has anyone been there recently?

                          1. re: Sobe

                            Went a while back. Was rather expensive, however, much of their regular menu is on the spice menu and may be worth it.

                            1. re: Sobe

                              It's been a couple months. Our first visit (shotly after they opened) was very good. A couple visits since then were less so. Menu had been dumbed down, food only OK.

                        2. re: advisor_Girl

                          I did the ROB for Spice last eyar and the dinner was money in the bank. That place has great food, a great bar, and nice atmosphere. I agree that a lot of servers give "the look" when you ask for the Spice menu, but at the same time, most servers in Miami have shitty attitudes so taht is to be expected. In my case, I like Spice to try new places and then I can spend more on booze and wine :)

                          1. re: Blind Mind

                            What we'll often do when Mrs. F and I go out is that one will do the Spice menu and the other orders off the regular menu (not big on dessert and splitting one is enough). Plus a good bottle of wine and the servers aren't suffering - though if a Spice menu is a significant discount from regular restaurant prices, we always make sure to tip generously - just because the restaurant owners have agreed to discount doesn't mean the waitstaff should take a hit.

                  2. Between Timo, Il Mulino and Bice (all in Sunny Isles), which one would you select?

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: jkatz23

                      I'll confess this is an unfair judgment since I've never tried Il Mulino and have not tried the Bice in Sunny Isles (but have been to other locations), but I think Timo is outstanding - one of my favorite restaurants in town.

                      1. re: Frodnesor

                        The IlMulino Spice menu is weak. I like Timo in general, spice menu looks okay

                        1. re: Sobe

                          But what do you think about Timo's choices in the spice menu? There are no pasta dishes listed while Il Mulino has, even though simple pasta dishes, three options.

                          Do you go to Timo because or their pasta dishes or you prefer the other items in the menu?

                          I heard that Il Mulino is very good, that the place is beautiful but might not be worth the price tag, so I thought this was a nice opportunity to try it. Have you heard any reviews?

                          1. re: jkatz23

                            I just don't think Il Mulino's spice menu represents any value. Rigatoni and fried calamari on a normal night will probably cost you less. Well, probably not at Il Mulino but you get the point. I could be way off though. Go and report back.

                            1. re: jkatz23

                              Pasta is a great way for a restaurant to keep food cost down for a Miami Spice menu. Il Mulino's is particularly obvious - rigatoni w/ tomato sauce? gnocchi w/ pesto? along with the fried calamari and tricolore salad, those probably cost about $2.50 to put on the plate.

                              I usually don't have the pastas at Timo, though I enjoyed the pappardelle w/ chicken livers once. I could probably have a very happy meal from the goat cheese pizette, pork loin, and peach/almond calzone on their Miami Spice menu. Since the pastas are cheaper anyway (usually around $20) you could probably come close to putting together a pasta meal for around $35 even without the Miami Spice discount.

                              We had drinks at Acqualina (before dinner at Timo) this past weekend and I took a peek at the Il Mulino menu. It struck me as a completely generic and uninspired Italian restaurant. Obviously I can't knock it if I haven't tried it, but I really wonder what all the fuss is about.

                      2. Michael's menu is up.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Sobe

                          It's straight from the regular menu. So far the winner in my opinion is the Setai's.

                        2. Here's a kicker. Devito South Beach is on the list. No menu yet.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: lax2mia

                            I'm guessing it won't include we-have -no idea-how-many-miles-it-traveled-but-you-must-like-it-because-it-is-$300-and-in-SoBe--kobe beef ;-)

                            BTW This will only be my second year doing Miami Spice. I had a blast last year.. Can't wait to try as many places as we can afford and also to see what you all will have to say about this years' restaurants. Must do places???

                          2. Table 8 and Michy's menus are up.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: Sobe

                              What do you think about Table's 8 menu?, has anyone who has been at this restaurant have tried any of the options? Do you think miami spice is a good opportunity to try this restaurant?

                              Did not like Michy's menu, what do you think?

                              1. re: jkatz23

                                Went to Table 8 last weekend. Had a good Miami Spice experience. The service was pleasant. I had the warm Boucheron salad for app and was pleased to see that it was a regular menu portion. I had the oil poached salmon for main. It was also a very nice portion well executed. The panna cotta was the best dessert. Brownie not so great but still good. Yet somehow it was just all ok.

                                However, my absolute favorite was Bouley's Evolution. Absolutely outstanding. The service was efficient and knowledgeable. I had the calamari salad which was heaven. The calamari perfectly cooked served with fresh butter lettuce and a sublime vinegratte. I had the hand rolled pasta which I totally enjoyed. Light and summery. The amuse bouche was great and the palate cleansing treat a wonderful fruit sorber. The strawberry cloud with just off the farm taste was a gold plated standard. Cannot say enough about this restaurant. I will go back! YUM.

                                This is truly how a restaurant that knows how to treat their guests and knows how to present a promotional menu. My compliments to the chef.

                              2. re: Sobe

                                Mr. Armstrong seems to be using more Florida-centric dihes than most (lettuces, cobia, mahi). Good for him.

                                1. re: lax2mia

                                  Noticed that and agree. His LA place was always touted as having a focus on local product, didn't quite see that when the local Table 8 first opened. Maybe he was just learning the local supply chain. Also have to be impressed by the 4 choices each for app main and dessert. We were not knocked out on our first visit, but looks like we'll have to go back.

                                  1. re: Frodnesor

                                    The Burrata is very good.

                                    1. re: Sobe

                                      I'm a huge fava fan so the soup was great for me.

                                      1. re: lax2mia

                                        I would like to try the soup and the burrata. For entrees the Cobia and Mahi-Mahi sounds great, specially the Mahi-Mahi. Have you tried any?

                              3. Sounds familiar
                                http://www.miamiherald.com/277/story/...

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Sobe

                                  I love these promotions because it gives you the chance to try great signature dishes from restaurants you might not go to because of the expense. I don't really see a lot of that, though. As someone who really only orders desssert once a year, maybe, the value, while it might work for others, doesn't really do it for me. The problem, of course, as VPE pointed out in the Herald, is that when you are eating at, for example, the Setai, add-ons will kill you. So in the end, with the Spice-weary staff, etc., I can't really see anything here that would make me go out of my way. Hate to be negative, because I really do love these promotions, but the way it plays out, Spice will probably keep me away, rather than draw me in.

                                  1. re: Miami Danny

                                    My to-do list so far:

                                    Setai - 5 spice duck consomme / kurobata pork belly / "white zen chai"
                                    Table 8 - 4 choices each of app / main / dessert!
                                    Talula - shrimp risotto / hanger steak / smores
                                    Cacao (lunch) - ceviche duo / seafood quinoto / chocolate souffle cake
                                    Michael's - panzanella / pork shoulder / chocolate cremoso
                                    Ortanique - short ribs / guava bbq salmon / passion fruit sabayon

                                    -----
                                    Talula
                                    210 23rd St, Miami Beach, FL 33139

                                    Ortanique On the Mile
                                    278 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL 33134

                                    Michael's Genuine Food & Drink
                                    130 N.E. 40th Street, Miami, FL 33137

                                    Cacao 1737
                                    139 Giralda Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33134

                                    Setai
                                    101 20th St, Miami Beach, FL 33139

                                    Table 8 South Beach
                                    1458 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139

                                2. Happy Miami Spice Starts Today Day!!

                                  1. Reports from the front:
                                    Ortanique - 3 choices each of app/main/dessert:
                                    soup of the day (calabaza bisque) / mango salad / braised short rib w/ gnocchi
                                    kobe burger / guava BBQ salmon / curried vegetable stew
                                    chocolate pudding cake / passion fruit sabayon / ice cream or sorbet

                                    I went w/ the short rib, salmon, and cinnamon ice cream. Short ribs were rich, braise has just a hint of spice and rum in it, gnocchi were described as truffled but if so it's a waste b/c any hint of truffle is lost. Very filling for an appetizer. Salmon was also a pretty generous filet, topped w/ a slightly sweet guava bbq sauce and also a corn and black bean salsa. Nice mashed potatoes to accompany. I liked the cinnamon ice cream, the rest of my table had the chocolate cake which was also tasty, if a little one-dimensional. The burgers are good there too.

                                    Spice price is probably $10-20 off regular menu prices.

                                    -----
                                    Ortanique On the Mile
                                    278 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL 33134

                                    1. Open Table has a link for restaurants participating in Miami Spice.
                                      http://www.opentable.com/promo.aspx?m...

                                      1. Just came back from doing the Miami Spice lunch menu at Oceanaire. What a total disappointment. The choices for appetizer were a salad, which was simply chopped lettuce stems and a strange dressing of oil and chopped onions, a small portion of calamari that tasted like it had been sitting so long the chipotle sauce had congealed, and a plaintain soup with avacado which turned out to be quite nice and the only worthwhile dish.

                                        Entrees were your choice of a small portion of fish & chips, a small portion of steamed mussels served with french fries, or a tiny broiled flounder that was like something you would get at a bad midwestern Red Lobster. No side dishes or veggies included with any of these. The group I was with had each of these dishes and they were universally bad across the board.

                                        Desserts were your choice of a chocolate chip cookie or a scoop of sorbet which tasted suspiciously like the Haagen Dazs I have in my freezer, or a Dixie Cup of ice cream, yes the true Dixie paper cup of ice cream complete with the wooden spoon, also available on the menu for $0.95.

                                        Reviewing the menu, you could see that the three entrees for Spice were already the cheapest on the menu, and these were downsized significantly for the Spice Menu. All in all, it was obvious they stuck the cheapest things they could find, and then served them poorly to boot.

                                        What is the purpose of the Spice Menu if you are just going throw downsized portions of your cheapest dishes at the customer, and possibly ruin your chances of getting them to dine again at full price, as was the case with this lunch.

                                        1. Just went to Cacao for Spice dinner. Unhappily, I have to report it was bad. Service was horrible. Total ignore mode. We had to ask for Miami Spice menu since it was not offered. . I picked the seafood napoleon and that was ok. Tiny portion of mashed potatoes with ceviche squid and some mashed potatoes. Did I mention tiny? The bread was served with a flavored oil that tasted of nothing. I picked the cobia which was served with some buttery sauce. No outstanding feature. Not impressed. The worst of all was the dessert. It was touted as a Chocolate dessert. The only chocolate was painted on the plate. The tiny little morsels on it turned out to be dry dry tasteless cake. I almost chocked on it. To add insult to injury the dessert plates sat on the table until we could not stand it anymore and had to flag anyone around for the check. Shame on Edgar Leal and his pastry chef. In this case the Miami Spice menu served to make sure I never go back to Cacao under any circumstance.

                                          12 Replies
                                          1. re: mom2mateo

                                            Sounds like Cacao serves caca...

                                            I posted about my experience at Table 8 in a separate post. To sum it up, it was boringly good. In other words, good enough to satisfy but not good enough to leave me wanting more.

                                            1. re: mom2mateo

                                              I'm going to have to differ from your experience. Out of all the restaurants I've been for the Spice menu Cacao has been my favorite. The food and service was excellent. I had the Veal as a main course and will go back again becuase it was so delicious. And they don't have salmon, chicken, or pasta/risotto either in lunch or dinner.
                                              Ortanique, Setai, and Talula are others worth visiting!

                                              1. re: ilovetoeats

                                                Hmph - they must be using a different menu than the one they put up on the Miami Spice website. The lunch mains on the website are a quinoa risotto, a seared chicken and a "vacio" steak (flank). Dinner mains are pan-seared chorizo (typo? could this be the cobia?), duck breast, and veal skirt steak.

                                                How does ceviche squid and mashed potatoes constitute a seafood napoleon?

                                                Interesting to see that some places have already updated their Spice menus - Talula's in particular I've noticed is already sporting some changes.

                                                1. re: Frodnesor

                                                  I got to say that review took the winds out of my sails! I have been wanting to venture over to the Gables to try Cacao for quite some time now. Setai had added a beef choice to their lunch menu when we were there, so, yes it appears there is some tweeking is going on out there in Spicelandia. nm was shocked by that review...and wonders whether the place is in fact worthy?

                                                  1. re: netmover

                                                    I agree that the Setai is worth going for lunch as well. Apart from the food, the decor and ambiance are spectacular. In regards to Cacao, mom2mateo had a bad experience but all the other reviews seem very positive. My experience was so different that I would encourage you lift your sails and give it a try.

                                                    Also, alough it may not challenge your tastes buds, Smith and Wollenskys lunch seem practically unbeatable. A ceasar, filet mignon, and cheesecake definitely seems worth $22. Does anybody know the size of the filet?

                                                    1. re: ilovetoeats

                                                      I went to S&W last year for lunch and it was fab! I hope to make it again this year in fact. The filet is petit, but it's still a hunk of meat...and for lunch was more than enough. The truffled mac & chz side (extra of course) is devine!

                                                      1. re: ilovetoeats

                                                        my check from tues lunch at smith's said it was a 10 oz filet,probably 8 oz after cooking it mr to med like i wanted it.Had no attitude from the waiter cause as soon as i ordered the caesar salad(make sure to ask for the anchovies),my filet,and cheesecake i also told the waiter to put $10 tip on the $23.98 check so he wouldnt feel that he lost out on the spice menu.Since i did this upfront i feel this encouraged good service as i ate alone and had no drinks.

                                                        1. re: ilovetoeats

                                                          Went to Setai last night for dinner.. Four of us felt that because we ordered the Miami Spice menu we got inferior treatment. The delicious looking bread that was delivered to other tables was offered to us for an extra $12.00 with Miami Spice. The pork belly was a bowl of coconut broth with noodles and chunks of fat in it. The three desert choices were vile. Setai feels pretentious and snobby. The place was empty, yet we were seated carelessly at a table that was not totally ready. In addition to the dinner we had two acoholic drinks and two iced teas. The bill was $220.

                                                          If this is an example of what a Miami Spice dinner is like, I see no benefit for ever going to anymore of these.

                                                          1. re: ONEKR

                                                            I don't think that's a Miami Spice issue for Setai. Even when you're paying $25+ for an app and $40+ for entrees, I believe they still charge for the breads, still charge for petit fours offered after the meal, etc. It appears the restaurant is designed to be primarily a machine for extracting money from the wallets of rich tourists.

                                                            1. re: Frodnesor

                                                              That is just gross....

                                                      2. re: Frodnesor

                                                        I know Frodnesor the ceviche squid napoleon is strange. I assume it is a napoleon because they serve it layered and mounded having been formed in a round mold. You do not expect to get mash potatoes with the crisp citrus ceviche and cold avocado so texture wise it is off putting, Having said that it was the best thing I had all night.

                                                    2. re: mom2mateo

                                                      Well, we have been to Cacao before for the regular menu, and the portions were tiny even then. We were thankful for the amuse and the extra chocolate truffle they provided as they did help fill our stomaches... to give you an idea.

                                                      However, I would certainly not mind being served a smaller than regular portion for the Spice menu. Many restaurant portions are on the generous side anyway.

                                                    3. We had the Spice menu at Timo this evening. Tuna app was great!! The Artic Char was a bit oily but very very good. We finished with the apple and peach calzone...we would definitly go back. The service was wonderful and the restaurant was busy, not everyone ordering the Spice menu. We do eat there once a month or so and it's has always been good. They have a few new items on the regular menu starting today.

                                                      1. I went to the River Oyster Bar last night to finally try the place with the Spice menu that included a monkfish stew. I love monkfish. It was still happy hour (where drinks and oysters are ½ price) so I had a Bombay gin and tonic, 6 Kumamoto oysters, a glass of Muscadet and Monkfish Paella from the regular menu. It all came to $38.90. I ate at the bar; the service was friendly and attentive. I would definitely go back.

                                                        1. Went to Wish last night. Crispy chickpea ravioli appetizer was chewy vs. crispy. Beet salad bracingly vinegary. Mains were much better. Desserts good. Service good, although there was a long lag betweend apps and mains then mains to dessert (apps came out fairly quickly). Spice menu is highlighted and most at the restaurant were opting for it. Don't know if I'd go back during Spice, but I'd try it if you want somewhere outdoors and laid back.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: lax2mia

                                                            We had lunch at Azul yesterday. I ordered the Crispy Ispswich Clams
                                                            Jalapeño Aioli, Bacalao, then I wanted Seared Pork Tenderloin
                                                            BBQ Rib “Strudel”, Red Cabbage, Sweet Potatoes, but unfortunately they didn't have it.
                                                            Instead I was offered churrasco with bearnaise, and parmesan pomme frites. For dessert I had “Tanariva” Milk Chocolate Terrine, Coconut Gelee and Rum Ice Cream. Everything was cooked perfectly and delicious. The service was excellent as well and there was no attitude at all about ordering off the Spice menu.

                                                            1. re: Sativa

                                                              I also ate last Friday at Azul and mostly had a fine experience. Everyone was gracious, there was no stigma related to the Miami Spice menu which was offered without asking. The staff was uniformly without attitude; however, amusingly, they were barely competent, fumbling a bit with knives and forks, confusing who ordered what, and removing things prematurely. It did not ruin the meal, but rather illustrated a bit of solidarity between the local staff and the clients who normally might not eat there. All in all, it was a great experience. The food was excellent; our foursome all ordered and tasted everything. All was good looking and tasty.

                                                              To the poster who wrote that tipping should be in accordance to the normal prices, or something to that effect, I laugh at such nonsense. I've done my stint in the business and here is the deal -- give good service and hope to be treated well. I'm an easy customer and will tip 18-20%. I need no lectures on restaurant decorum. At Azul, everyone tried to be pleasant and succeeded in this. Good enough! They got their 18%.

                                                          2. Went to the Restaurant at Setai last night. Note that the Setai hotel has two restuarants both offering Miami Spice Menus. The Restaurant is very exotic with Indain and Asian dishes. The Setai Grill has more "continental"" offerings. At the Satai restaurant I ordered the Scallop app which was very good. I ordered the Pork Belly main because my husband was ordering the chicken tandoori. I liked the Pork Belly Which was a curry bowl with noodles two shrimp and some chunks of pork. I can see how most people would not like it, The pork was very rich. I must say that the waiter either played dumb or was playing us for dumb because he was absolutely horrible at describing the dishes. We were with a very fussy diner who did not order Miami Spice and kept asking the waiter for explanations. With the regular menu being so amazingly expensive you would think the waiter would want to explain it properly. They charged us for the bread with is a handmade Nam served with a nondescript sauce. The amuse bouche was extreme foam with some salmon flakes in it also poorly described by the waiters who brought it. And no one at our table of 4 really cared for it. Dessert was just ok.

                                                            They seated us by the open kitchen which I personally did not like because to me it was hot and I felt like I was going to leave smelling like I had cooked the meal. Over all would not go back unless it was with the Miami Spice menu. Fussy diner had a lobster salad app ($30.00) and the lamb dish. She described both as very good.

                                                            The parking was $24.00!!!!!

                                                            7 Replies
                                                            1. re: mom2mateo

                                                              The three of us must've crossed each other because we were also at the Setai this weekend. My experience seemed better than most. ONEKR - you can't really complain about chunks of fat when you order pork belly, right? Plus the dish had prawns as well. I enjoyed it, as well as my girlfriend's tandoori chicken. We also ordered the wine flight and it matched reasonably well. Our amuse was a watermelon gazpacho with thai chili oil. Flavor was good, but it was room temp. I liked the kaffir lime dessert, but the chai gel was the favorite. Until the macaroons came, then we dove into those. Overall it was a good experience. We parked at the municipal lot next door and paid $3.00!

                                                              1. re: lax2mia

                                                                I certainly can complain,. lax2mia There was no pork attached to the fat. There were prawns, true, and the tandoori chicken was edible, but I have had better at several inexpensive Indian restaurants, and the garnishes were unexceptional.

                                                                Our food was served family style on big trays and in big bowls. Then it was left to us to divy up. That is not what I am used to in an upscale restaurant. The deserts were tasteless. My husband compared one of them to the Junket they used to serve to babies. The thing I liked best was the gazpacho. We were there early so ours was chilled.

                                                                But, I am glad that I went to Setai for the Miami Spice. I got to see the space and learned that I never want to go back there.

                                                                1. re: ONEKR

                                                                  Was you're food served family style? To me it seemed geared to individuals. No way would I see a laksa being something family style. I don't see the Setai as the type of place that would serve food family style.

                                                                  And are you sure it was pork belly you got? Mine had the usual streaks of meat and fat. Was yours just white fat? And btw, what'd you think of the macaroons?

                                                                  1. re: lax2mia

                                                                    Not really laksa. Tom Kha Gai -- often served family style in Thailand. Laksa -- rarely served family style in Malaysia or Singapore. Each cost nearly nothing to make.

                                                                    1. re: taiga

                                                                      Tom Kha Gai is the bomb. Only time it sucks is when you mistakenly bite into a piece of lemongrass while on a date, then have to keep a straight face while swallowing it down rather than spitting out food at the table. Not that that has happened to me or anything...

                                                                    2. re: lax2mia

                                                                      Yes our food was served family style. We each got an empty bowl or plate upon which we served ourselves the chicken and pork belly. By the way, we were not even given serving spoons. We just had white chunks of fat served in the pork belly dish and were not given any macaroons.

                                                                2. re: mom2mateo

                                                                  I also had a very good experience service wise at the Setai, and I told them that I was coming for the Spice menu. Just because. We went on on Friday at 8pm. Very nice table, but we did have to request the Spice menu. I had everything the lax2mia had, except for the wine flight and the macaroons.. what macaroons?!! I felt the beginnings and endings were great, but the entrees I could have gotten anywhere on 6th street in the East Village or any old noodle shop. Presentation was a little fancier, but the taste was the same.We also had the $12 nan and $15 cocktails. The restaurant was pretty empty and the service attentive. My dinner date thought it was the best he had experienced in Miami( I know, that is not saying much) Obviously by these posts we have yet another restaurant that is inconsistant with service.

                                                                3. Went to Table 8 for the Miami Spice on Friday night. Truly a delicious meal. I had the bean soup, my sister had one of the salads and girlfriend the third. The salad with goat cheese was great, as was my soup. We also ordered the burrata appetizer, which was phenomenal. Each one of us tried a different entree on the menu. The skirt steak with avocado and cilantro was delicious, cooked perfecftly. My sister's mahi in crab chowder was great too. The girlfriend loved the chicken. For dessert both the panna cotta and brownie were great. We also had some delicious drinks. I had an off the menu concoction, with cucumber and cantalope muddled, vodka, lime juice and sugar water all shaken, it was one of the most refreshing drinks I have ever tasted.

                                                                  The best part of the meal, however, was the service. The spice menu given on top of the regular. No attitude whatsoever. For dessert we asked the waiter for an off-the-spice-menu selection - his answer, honestly, do not even bother because these are the best two by far. We wanted more pushed on us, he could have pushed more food on us, and did not. We added the cost of that dessert on to his tip as a thank you. I would absolutely go back and highly recommend this restaurant.

                                                                  1. We had a reservation last night (August 11th) at Table 8, but never even got seated. It all started at 9:30, when we arrived for our 9:30 reservation. The hostess told us "I have to perfectly honest with you - its going to be about a half hour wait." She encouraged us to go hang out at the bar, so we went to the overcrowed bar to order a drink. I ordered a negroni - not a common cocktail, but not exactly unknown. The first bartender didn't know what it was, so he asked the 2nd bartender who said that they didn't have the ingredients at this bar, but they had them at the outside bar. They didn't have gin, vermouth and campari?

                                                                    So I went to the outside bar and the bartender there didn't know what a negroni was either. I ordered a $14 rum and coke, figuring she knew what that was.

                                                                    A half hour elapsed with no sign of the hostess or a table, so after waiting in the line of other complaining people who had reservations, I approached the hostess who again apologized, but said something about the messed up reservation system that night. She said that it would be no more that another half hour, and urged us to go back to the bar.

                                                                    But that line about the 1/2 hour wait ended up being so not true. At 10:30, we went up to her again, but this time she brought someone with an authoritative British accent who claimed to be a manager, who profusely apologized, but didn't offer us a drink, an appetizer or even a piece of bread. He did, however encourage us to get another drink at the bar.

                                                                    11:00 came and went, but around 11:15 the hostess came up to us and said "I have great news - your'e the next table after the 4 top I'm seating now." It would have been good news an hour before, but at this point, we were thinking that the service and food had to be as shoddy and sloppy as the reservation system, so we told her we were leaving. She didn't say "whatever," to us, but from the look on her face, that was what she was thinking.

                                                                    We were just going to get a sandwich or a pita somewhere, but saw that Osteria del Teatro had a $20 meal after 10:00 p.m. The food was great, as usual, and all the staff was cordial and warm.

                                                                    I don't want to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but it seemed to me like Table 8 overbooks so they can sell drinks at the bar, and if a few parties like us leave after wating in vain - well, at least they've dropped some money at the bar.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: artigano

                                                                      You know, sometimes unfortunate situations happen and you have to make the best of them. I doubt its a conspiracy to get people to drink at the bar. They probably just overbooked. Sometimes you have to ask for some luvin when you arent getting any. I went with a group of 8 to 510 Ocean one time and there was a HUGE wait even though we had a rez. They also had a shortage of staff so the food took forever. After the waitress apologized for the 3rd or 4th time I said, "Thats OK, I know youre gonna take care of us with a round of drinks on the house." She told the manager and he made it happen. After our dinner, I thanked the mgr and said I could understand how crazy it must be with a short staff on a Miami Spice wknd night. He ended up chatting with me and a buddy and bought our group 2 more rounds.

                                                                      BTW, the food that night at 510 Ocean was cooked perfectly. Not the most adventurous menu, but very good with what they do there.

                                                                      1. re: artigano

                                                                        I've learned at Table 8 to book earlier than the time you actually want to be seated. We reserved for 8:30 and sure enough didn't sit down till around 9:30. No apology from the hostess or anything. It's as if it were to be expected. I should've been more annoyed than I was seeing that (a) I had made the reservation a week in advance and (b) confirmed the reservation the day of. You'd think I was going to bail? I have no idea what kind of shop they're running, or possibly they haven't gotten then hang of seating people inside only (we were offered an outdoor table to which my expression must've been enough for the hostess to realize that it was ridiculous to even mention such a thing) but if word of mouth keeps going around about these ridiculous waits even with reservations it's going to end up hurting them. but like Mike K we had a great meal and great service.

                                                                        1. re: artigano

                                                                          There is a celebrity side to all this pretense and why all these chefs end up serving the nouveau affluent, wannabees, and food stenographers -- I mean journalists, in Las Vegas. Conspiracy theory or not, Artigano's experience is inexcusable.

                                                                        2. Visited Table 8 last weekend. Only waited for 30 minutes for a 14 top reservation which was nice for a Saturday night. The fava bean soup and watercress salad were a big sucess IMO. When it came to the entrees though, I thought they were as good as Rachel Ray's "mexican" dishes are authentic. Seasoning was good, but I get better churrasco at Liberty. I cannot believe he charges $34 for a churrasco (which BTW let us hope it is bigger on the regular menu) with cut up avocados and cilantro on top. He gave that topping another name, but I have erased it from my memory....

                                                                          The peanut butter brownie was too intense for me, but the panna cotta will have me coming again, late at night for a glass of wine and dessert.

                                                                          But as I like to think of it...it is a great Miami-Spice-Months-Only type of place for us :-)

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: yomyb

                                                                            totally ot but I bet dollars do doughnuts sardinia's panna cotta kicks table 8's butt. It is amazing.

                                                                            1. re: tpigeon

                                                                              Maybe we had all had one too many glasses of wine by that poin, but we all loveed it...jejeje ;-)

                                                                              You know my only experience with dessert at Sardinia was a strawberry tiramisu, that IMO was NOT a tiramisu. I didn't even go for dessert the second time I visited, but I am a fan of panna cotta, so I will not forget to try that next time....

                                                                              1. re: yomyb

                                                                                Strawberry Tiramisu is the only dessert I never tried there. The other desserts are great, especially the pana cotta and the duo di mousse.

                                                                                1. re: yomyb

                                                                                  Update, just had the panna cotta @ table 8 last night (by coincidence after having the panna cotta @ sardinia on thursday), and I was right. Sardinia's kicked Table 8's butt.

                                                                                  I do have to say that the sweetbreads while much more expensive @ Table 8, kicked sardinia's butt.