Thanks for the recs - good trip to Miami
I was in Miami at the end of October and had a bunch of good meals based on hound recommendations and even some good service, though that seemed to be much harder to come by.
We had an excellent meal at Talula's, my sister's shortribs were amazing. I had the lamb and it was also quite good. Unfortunatly the service left something to be desired. Our server couldn't tell me where the wine special was from, didn't mention the special dessert, charged my credit card twice for the meal and tried to tell me my dessert had ice cream in it when it did not (this is after he claimed the dessert to be one of his favorites). He was very pleasant but not very knowledgeable.
This didn't seem to be the norm as we could hear the waiter at the table behind us rattling off the specifics of various dishes and one of the busstaff was kind enough to find out the sauce on my appitizer. I ordered an app of kobe beef carpachio w/ parmesean, bitter green salad and a balsamic reduction. When it came I couldn't remember what the sauce was and sort of looked up questionly and the busperson came right over asked if everything was ok and if she could do anything. Very attentive.
The dessert was the "popcorn creme brule" which came with a raisonette... The creme brule and popcorn were quite good, and the raisonette turned out to be a piece of dehydrated raisen (sort of like fruit leather) and some sort of milk chocolate ganache. I asked what the ganache was and my waiter stated "ice cream" . It wasn't ,though it did look like ice cream before I started eating it, and realized it wasn't cold. Still don't know what it really was, but it tasted good.
We also went to the "Ice Box" cake cafe, on the recommendation of my seatmate on the flight down. The cake was good but served quite cold and the staff was completely uninterested in serving us... almost disdainful. I guess Oprah doesn't eat a lot of cake as I believe she called it the best cake in america.
One of the best meals we had was lunch at Shucker's bar and grill, which is at a sort of sketchy Best Western on Normandy and 79th St. The restaurant is on a deck on the water but to get there you kind of have to go by the pool area of the hotel. The food was good, we both had fish sandwiches, service was pleasant, the price was right and the view was wonderful. Not only could we look over the water but quite a few boats were coming and going as people "drove" over to the restaurant. Lunch at Jaguar in Coconut Grove was also good, with good service, though we ate outside (our choice) and it was quite loud and the garbage truck stuck around way too long!
We also ate at Michael's genuine and had a wonderful if rushed meal. The rushing was all our fault as we hung at the bar (1/2 price drinks for happy hour) too long and then had to motor to get me back to the airport. When we explained the situation to our waitress she was great, recommending shorter cooking time menu items and keeping on top of the kitchen to get the food out asap. I had the chicken liver crostini, listed under snacks which was quite yummy. We also had the roasted onion with the lamb and apricot stuffing, a wonderful papperadelle dish and a salad with beets and green beans. My only regret is having to leave before dessert. Wonderful food, good service and while we stayed with the small and medium plates, due to time, the price was reasonable.
All in all it was a good trip, we ate well, enjoyed good service some of the time and enjoyed laughing about the bad service the rest of the time!
i didn't want to harp before but the restaurant was also quite dirty. we sat by the window and there were bits of food on the ledge, smudges on the table and glass. I like dives so a little age and dirt doesn't usually get to me but couple that with rude service and that there were only two tables occupied leaving plenty of staff to clean up leads me to believe they just don't care.
Ive recommended Ice Box a bunch of times, but based on 2 main factors - the dinner items are great and fresh and you get what you pay for and leave well fed. The decor is bland and the staff is pretty nonchalant, but I just like the food so I return time and time again. Their Kobe Burger at lunch is also a killer item. Im not a big dessert person, but when a big mama like Oprah says its "the best" I take her word for it. Ive actually tried the cheesecake brownie there a few times and I like it.
I love Shucker's. My boyfriend introduced me to it and we often go there on Sunday afternoons/evenings. It's a great way to end the weekend -- with some peel and eat shrimp, a cold beer and a nice view. The Special Grilled wings (which aren't breaded; they're fried and then grilled) are good! I was also pleasantly suprised by the chicken quesadilla appetizer. We've taken many friends there and they all end up loving it.
Great report! I live right around the corner from Shucker's (no offense taken at the "sketchy" neighborhood comment!) and have never tried, though I've heard others say they have good wings too. The views along the 79th Street Causeway are a truly underutilized resource of our city. There's a pretty unfortunate collection of restaurants along a really beautiful stretch of bayfront property.
I also think Icebox's cakes are somewhat overrated. I'm thinking it's not that Oprah doesn't each a lot of cake, rather perhaps she's not that discriminating.
Service at Talula can be unfortunately hit or miss. They've got some good folks there and some dingbats.
The sketchy comment is more about how you get to the restaurant. You go by the pool and what appears to be the loading or back side of the hotel thru a concrete area with vending machines and then comes the bar and patio. It was truly weird but a great find. If you are into football it looks like a great place to watch a game too.
Dingbat is exactly the right word for our waiter. He was attentive and friendly but completely out of it. To me if you identify something in a dish incorrectly and then don't know what else it could be the next logical step would be to go ask the kitchen staff and come back with an answer. I could have pushed him to go ask and didn't but it seems like for the money i shouldn't have too. The service kept what could have been a great meal in the good category.