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2 New Design District Spots

We were heading back over the causeway from the Art Positions exhibits on Friday since we knew parking and dining would be impossible on the Beach that night. We were going to stop at Michael's but noticed that the two restaurants which had been under construction were now open. Here's what we found:

Brosia - the menu was extremely limited. You could either get a small or large tapas platter. Both came with piri-piri shrimp (very good, almost jerk in flavor), roasted pork tenderloin (good), manchego tart (not very good since it was mostly crust), ahi crudo (I hated it, very fishy, oily and salty, GF loved it). The platter was followed by a simple greek salad. For a place that just opened the service and food were surprisingly good. Granted the menu was extremely limited, it was a great idea to offer platters which sampled what will probably be on Brosia's regular menu when it's up and running. The decor is nice but the killer is the courtyard with the giant (not sure what they are) trees anchoring the center. I have a feeling the place will do well when it starts kicking in.

Domo Japones - not being full from the tapas place we hit the other new restaurant. This place was a madhouse and the hostess was not prepared for the mayhem (she reminded me of the Daria, the Beavis and Butthead spinoff). I'll make a long story short and say that a 20 minute wait turned into a 40 minute one, we were offered seats at the sushi bar but had them taken away when a party of 3 appeared out of nowhere and were apparently ahead of us, we were given a two top next to a couple who felt they could both sit on the bench side of the table and cuddle which they couldn't because the tables are literally 4 inches apart (the gentleman got irate when the hostess asked him to move to the seat across the table like everyone else), then we waited 20 minutes for a waiter who never showed up. We left. The food didn't seem that great or inventive and they were asking upwards of $20 for ramen and $5 per piece of nigiri/sashimi. I think it's a good idea we bolted.

We stopped at Michy's and had three small dishes and wondered how two entirely new places could have such vast discrepancies in service. We'll see how they do in the long run.

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  1. I feel like I should cross-reference this post from another thread - "If they close it'll be because they're not good, not because people won't drive there."

    I don't know why anyplace would choose Art Basel weekend to open. Way too much pressure.

    1. Nice report! I am wanting to try out Brosia. They also have a neat website right now at www.brosiamiami.com - even though there's no menu or even basic information up right now. It's just that it's the first time I've been served water while waiting for them from my house to open their restaurant! Haha.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mialebven


        The website actually does have a menu (and it sounds interesting) and all kinds of information about the restaurant. At the bottom of the page there are a few colored rectangles. Clike the green one above "menus" and it should give you an option to see breakfast, lunch, dinner and desserts.

      2. Didn't have a chance to eat at Brosia, but looking forward to it.

        Had a few meals at Domo Japones and the food was excellent. Great sushi (my favorite! wonderful salmon italiano, spicy tuna, proscuito and shrimp rolls) but also surprisingly good bistro food (best short ribs I've had; killer chicken soba). It was a madhouse for Art Basel--phenomenal energy--and post-Basel it was very civilized and super cool. Great art on the walls, sharply dressed staff, great mixed drinks. I think this place has great energy and amazing potential as a regular hang out. Will defintiely come back to check out the late-night lounge.

        10 Replies
        1. re: foodlover19

          You must've been in a parallel universe. I can't comment on the food, but I agree it was a madhouse. The drinks were OK but the liquor selection was very limited. And the staff was dressed in black jeans and black t-shirts (of their own choosing it seemed). I want to give it another try but seriously, $20 for a bowl of ramen? Don't you think that's excessive?

          1. re: lax2mia

            I ate at Domo Japonaias the other day. It was good but (in my opinion) not excellent. We ordered the Berkshire pork ramen (crazily pricey for a bowl of ramen) and the chef kindly split it in two portions. My companion raved about the pork in his bowl but all I got was fat and gristle in an admittedly tasty broth.

            The veal cheek dumplings were tasty. (Is cheek the new tuna tar tare)? Sushi was just mediocre. We had two rolls (one yellowtail with jalapeno and one souped up roll with prosciutto). Eh and double eh.

            We also ordered an app of eggplant and (I believe) hamachi. This could've been more texturally interesting.

            Dessert was that old standby- an oozing chocolate cake. It was nothing to write home about.

            I would go back for drinks. Alas, I am still in search of a good sushi place nearby...

            1. re: chocolada

              Good Review in Newtimes today in case anyone is interested. (domo japones)


              1. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

                I tried Domo for the second time and am still underwhelmed. It's chic as heck but the food is just okay. And it's overpriced. Perhaps the owners charge a premium because there are half naked pics of supermodels in the place?

                1. re: lax2mia

                  Lee Klein couldn’t find a parking space so he proclaims the “Design District has arrived” and issues another one of his over the top reviews to join in on the bandwagon. It must have been about the art on the walls. And just a few days ago someone on this board, who wouldn’t accept good reports about a chef, because no one really had tasted the food, proclaims “I predict this place will be THE hit of 2008.” & “You heard it here first.” He visited the location but never tasted any food. Now that had to be about the architecture. Right? For this kind of reporting, there’s and old theatre saying that I think is apropos here, “ham no eggs.”

                    1. re: 2top

                      Actually, yes. It was about the architecture, the layout, the location, and the waterfront bar. I proclaimed that red light would be the hit of 2008. I never said it would have anything to do with the food, because I haven't eaten any.

                      1. re: Miami Danny

                        In that case you would've claimed La Broche the hit of 2003 because of the layout, location and view of the bay? (And the food was apparently outrageous) We know what happend to that.

                        1. re: lax2mia

                          I'm afraid you are missing the point again. People in the neighborhood are clamoring for a new watering hole and this is going to be it. And I am rarely wrong when it comes to watering holes. As far as Lee Klein and Domo Japones are concerned, you can read my skewering at www.presschops.blogspot.com

                          1. re: Miami Danny

                            Nicely written!

                            Especially good points about reviewing resto after barely open, only 2 meals, etc. Also, I thought that VPE's statement about nobody came by to say hello was way out of line as well. Most food critics I have known prefer to dine in the "background".

                            Lastly, I happen to enjoy Fernandez but more for the writting itself than any recs.

          2. Menu for Domo Japones is now available on menupages.com


            $23 for a Tofu Dengaku entree? Absurd.

            1. I tried Domo Japones last night & would definitely agree that our meal was dissappointing. The chef lacks the creativity that is expected at a restaurant like this. The service was great until our server had two more tables & then he could not be found. Best sushi I had was surprisingly the sushi tempura, not tons of battered tempura tails like at other sushi restaurants. The lobster roll & the nigiri did not seem fresh. We are going back for drinks tonight after we try oishi thai in Aventura. Maybe we will try again in the future, it is nice to get away from the beach.

              9 Replies
              1. re: pierrem

                I tried the Miso Cod Entree recently (boring on my part but I felt like cooked fish). The fish was sauced in a gelatinous glaze that just tasted off. It came with nothing else on the plate- no rice, no veg, no garnish. For 26 bucks a plate I was expecting slightly more. It's a cool space but it leaves a lot to be desired.

                1. re: jessierandall

                  Lee Klein's rather odd review of Brosia here http://www.miaminewtimes.com/2008-02-...
                  And the rebuttal, here www.presschops.blogspot.com
                  I'm not sure how he liked the food-if you read it, he really doesn't describe his reaction to most of it at all. And he won't eat rabbit, even though it's the most interesting dish on the menu. Weird

                  1. re: Miami Danny

                    great article! The guy gets on my nerves. What a wonderful job and I'm not sure when he stopped trying

                    1. re: Icantread

                      Just a note-had lunch at Brosia today, and there was plenty of toilet paper in both bathrooms.

                      1. re: Miami Danny

                        That's what I want in a restaurant - plenty of toilet paper.
                        (What were you doing in the lady's?)

                        1. re: Frodnesor

                          Lee Klein is a horrible food critic. This is the same guy who dissed a restaurant in South Miami because they didnt have A1 for his steak. Anyone who puts A1 on a steak has no business reviewing restaurants or their dishes.

                          Sorry to hear that Domo Japonais isnt cutting it for the people here. I will probably give it a try after seeing it on my 1st trip to Michaels last weekend, but its nice to know its a bit outrageous price-wise and lacks quality going into it so I dont get hosed.

                          1. re: Blind Mind

                            Funny, I just recced Domo to someone Thursday and it turned out they had a great meal there. I was just thanked and have no details. I have never been myself btw and it was sort of an emergency vday situation which is why I threw it out there...

                          2. re: Frodnesor

                            "(What were you doing in the lady's?)"

                            Looking for the truth...and, yes, I found it...

                  2. re: pierrem

                    Oishi Thai is very good. The thai stuff there is fantastic. The rolls can be slightly small, but very good. Similar stuff as Nobu, as the chef came from there.

                  3. been to domo twice now. first for dinner then for drinks....for dinner its a really great place in terms of the atmosphere. my pork ramen was saltier and too much flavor for me ....and dinner was pricier than i would spend, but since its near my house and had the perfect atmosphere for a romantic special dinner i will keep going back. went for drinks tonight and it was great again. 2 for 1 ! cant complain about that.

                    still havent tried brosia...but am thinking about going for breakfast. anyone else know of any awesome breakfast places in the design district or wynnewood? the only place i really know of is lost and found..

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: gimmecarbs

                      Had a chance to try Brosia a couple of times-food was pretty good, service excellent. The rabbit rocked (I eat bunny, but only at dinner). Informally spoke to the chef and manager, and it appears that contrary to Lee Klein's pooh-pooh-ing, much of the staff has been with either or both of these guys for some time. The outdoor plaza is a great spot to meet for drinks and appetizers, the couches are really comfortable, and you can smoke, even cigars. The clam and shrimp dish and the mussel dish were outstanding, and even the flan was pretty good. The pork was excellent, the steak was a miss. Bring your own wine, corkage is $15. Pleny of room to spread out. They have only one major problem...

                      1. re: Miami Danny

                        So if someone sabotages Michael's we'll know who it is?

                        Glad you had a better experience than I. Service both times I went was comical. Waiters on the verge of fistfighting, a hostess who would disappear for long stretches, etc. The food was good, but when you've got Michael's just down the street, it'll always be, at most, good. Prices are excellent and that $15 corkage fee is a steal in Miami but the service is what kills me about the place.

                        One comment about the piquillo peppers you ordered. It's almost impossible to get fresh piquillo peppers from Lodosa. In fact, I don't even think people in Spain eat piquillos fresh. They're picked, fire-roasted, peeled and bottled/canned. Anyone claiming that their restaurant roasts their own piquillo peppers has no idea what they're talking about.

                        1. re: lax2mia

                          Regarding peppers- I hate to say this, but often it's not just the pepper that's canned/bottled, but the entire dish may be frozen (not at Brosia, of course) at your average tapas joint. I think that some chefs (Jose Andres in DC, perhaps) may have the wherewithal, the clout, and the burning desire to get fresh piquillo peppers. But I agree, it is highly unusual, to say the least.
                          As far as Michael's goes, he just has set the bar so damn high. Not everything there is perfect, but for Brosia to compete with him, they need to set themselves apart from MGFD. My suggestion would be to hang in there, and keep producing decent food, not to panic (not that they are), and maybe, as you seem to say, do a little staff retraining. It's a great spot for cocktails, but the menu is kind of short, also. Maybe throw in some stuff that goes well with drinks. And definitely try to expand the outdoor lounge area.

                          1. re: Miami Danny

                            I think Brosia will be able to get by even just on the overflow from MGFD. Even if you're not up to the same level as your competition in the neighborhood, having a great restaurant around the corner can't hurt too much - especially when it doesn't have the capacity to take on all comers.

                            My service experience on my one visit was also pretty shaky.
                            If the waitstaff have been with the chef and manager for a while, then they have a pretty have tolerance for error. But the food was good and showed promise.

                            1. re: Frodnesor

                              One visit here, one visit there, the place has barely been open three months, although the service on all of my visits has been phenomenal. They let me stay cozy, waiting for a guest, smoke a cigar, bring my own bottle of wine, and happily opened it, and poured it. The logistics of the place are a little tough-and I think that might be causing the delays/misunderstandings. Either way, they'll definitely survive. They own the damn building.

                              1. re: Miami Danny

                                MD - I'm not a professional reviewer, I'm allowed to comment on my one visit! I didn't say they weren't nice, but they f-ed up our order despite my repeated attempts to fix it. My table was about 10 yards from the kitchen and there were maybe only two other tables occupied, so I'm not sure what logistics problems could have presented themselves.

                                It is what it is - I went once, they had pretty good food but they screwed up my order. I think I made clear the first time around that this shouldn't be interpreted as too harsh criticism, as I liked the place and would definitely go back - especially if I couldn't get into MGFD.

                                1. re: Frodnesor

                                  I also had a pretty bad experience with service. I know they're a young restaurant and maybe still trying to work out some kinks but it's never good when there's bickering among servers right by your table... We were ignored for 20 minutes after our main course. On our second visit, we had the same server and this time around it was a little better, maybe because it was on a weeknight and the restaurant was emptier. It was funny, though, because we got the menus and our server just stood around by our table and asked us if we knew what we wanted probably less than one minute after she handed us the menu. However, my experience with the food was much better. I concluded that the place is better for appetizers and drinks. I found the appetizers much more interesting than the entrees I tried the first time. And the creamy polenta was addictive.

                                2. re: Miami Danny

                                  They obviously knew who Miami Danny was and gave him the VIP treatment. Did any other guests enjoy your cigar smoke?

                              2. re: Miami Danny

                                Stuff that goes with drinks is key. One thing the place has over Michael's is the plaza with the trees. If they had a small plates and snack menu a la Michael's and you could sit just outside and drink and snack I think it'd be an ace in the hole for them.

                                1. re: lax2mia

                                  Hey I have no problem, Mr. Frodnesor, with people doing quick meal-recaps, that's what so great/tragic about this stuff. No one expects or even cares to hear a full-blown review these days. But my point is that service problems can be worked out, and that's the shakeout aspect of the first few months.
                                  The logistics problem has to do with the way the kitchen's set up, which I'll let you examine on your next visit. Somehow, it seems that was the last thought when it came to the design. Maybe that's one of the reasons why the menu is so short.

                                  1. re: Miami Danny

                                    brosia is no good...service can be amazing but if the food is uninspiring it wont do well..i wouldnt go back for anything i tasted...hummus was no good it was to overworked, polenta was blah, tuna was blah, salad was blah, dessert baklava was ok, lamb was ok, shrimp were blah(dipping sauces were also blah), cheese platter could have been organized by kraft, this place was no good...unfortunate bc outside seating was very nice and relaxing..they need a new chef or some serious changes to that menu

                        2. Gave Domo Japones a second shot where we finally ate some of the food. I still don't like the place. Yes it's Japanese food, but the interior looks like Pottery Barn and could be appropriate for any type of food (American - sure, Noveau-German - why not...).

                          It was a pain to get a table but when we finally did it was broken so we opted to just sit outside because we were starving. Bartenders and servers were friendly. Beef cheek gyoza were tasty but tiny and cold. Some tiradito-type dish with blood orange sauce had no flavor and needed salt. The pork belly with fried egg dish was a mess of overcooked pork belly and overcooked fried egg. Some sushi with jalapeno might as well have had parsley instead of chilies for the spiciness it had.

                          Food just seems like an afterthought to image in this place. Everything just seems mediocre and non-chalant, which kind of goes with the clientele that seem to go to be seen versus to actually enjoy their meal. Too bad. Hope Pacific Time makes up the void of Asian food in the DD.

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: lax2mia


                            Oh no oh no you must be wrong because the Herald gave it a big wet kiss and hug in the weekend section and if everyone says it's good it's good and if the tattoo sportin' waiters are pierced it's also trendy so you must be wrong (bizarro wrong).


                            DJ = Huge case of Emperor's New Clothes!


                            Herald also mentions that you can get on a preferred e-list for Pacific Time 2.0 by e-mailing Jonathan directly - Eismann's Preferred Guest program, which will allow you a house account (that you will pay for in advance, of course), preferred reservations, event invites and food and bev credits. E-mail JEismann@the-beach.net for more information.


                            1. re: advisor_Girl

                              Re PT v.2.0 - that "Preferred Guest" program sounds awfully snooty for someone who was quoted recently saying how he was "forced" into doing fine-dining on Lincoln Road by the rents, and wanted to get back to doing a simpler restaurant:

                              "When Pacific Time first opened in '93, it was a neighborhood haunt, an American California restaurant with just an Asian influence. In the late Nineties, it developed into more of a fine-dining place out of necessity; because of continual rent increases we had to continually increase our revenue. The new PT is sort of like going back home again. It will be very accessible, very reasonably priced, open for lunch, dinner, and potentially breakfast."


                              1. re: Frodnesor


                                Funny he didn't mention why he decided to stall the evolution of the menu (as you pointed out in many posts) or if he had to raise prices to pay for his La Gorce Island hacienda. Maybe Lee Klein edited that part out in the name of - uh - brevity?

                                I like the part about how he had "been busy building another restaurant since before Pacific Time closed — working on menus and new vendors ... " because long-time staffers at Pacific Time found out about the restaurant closing When It Closed. Ouch!

                                Caveat Server I guess...


                              2. re: advisor_Girl

                                Must be a totally bizarro Herald. My Herald offers critical reviews of restaurants with a keen eye towards service, innovation and quality. This Herald you speak of seems like it bends over backwards to appease any restaurant that opens here.

                                What's funny is the place isn't even that cool. Let's compare. Katsuya in L.A. has the same type of vibe but with much better decor, vastly better food, much better drinks, a robata bar and two wall size pics of a Japanese woman's eyes and lips. Domo, on the other hand, has cheap Pottery Barn furniture with dated topless pictures of Naomi Campbell and other, unknown models and food that's passable at best. Maybe if bizarro Herald writer travelled outside the Miami area, he/she can have something to compare this atrocity to.

                                One thing I got outta my research to find a comparison to Domo Japones...Katsuya is opening a location in Miami in 2009. I'm loving it.

                                1. re: lax2mia

                                  I must say that we went to Domo Japones and were not impressed with the food or the service at all. No surprise it is from the Miss Yip people with their overpriced chinese food. In reading Victoria's reviews over time, she does do at least 3 visits to a location before writing a review, so maybe she hit it on 3 good nights or her cover was blown? Who knows. Granted I will never give it another try.

                                  1. re: jmdhsmiami

                                    Did you savor the starters? Was the wait staff really hip? Did their hipness make the food taste better? Was it ultra-cool, uber-cool, or ultra-uber-cool?

                                    After the review, I felt sorry for Domo Japones.

                                    1. re: taiga


                                      Ultra-uber-X-treme-kewl netted DJ the "Best Japanese Restaurant in 2008" in the Miami Gnu Times this week too.


                                      Praise be their flacks who managed to get all the Significant Kulinary Press in the City Beautiful to praise the Decor and HIPness,

                                      (Note to wiki to rewrite HIP definition > "Hire Influential Publicist."


                                      To wit <<A giant black-and-white print of a young, topless Naomi Campbell. Jesus, this swank sushi bistro in the Design District has it all! Hip, too, with a handsome brick/wood interior and eminently reasonable entrée prices (most $17 to $25). You cannot do better for Japanese food — lunch or dinner. Period.>>

                                      Note to all fledgling chefs - hire a lobbyist to hype your hip.

                                      I hear the Mint Leaf is giving out free papadams in honor of their Best Indian Nod...

                                      Don't feel sari.


                                      1. re: advisor_Girl

                                        Wow, this really proves how valuable this site is. If you just read the review, you would walk into DJ thinking you were going to have a great experience with fantastic food. Listening to fellow 'Hounds say the complete opposite has gotta say something about the joint...

                                        1. re: advisor_Girl

                                          I had dinner at domo last night. overall- what a joke. i had the salmon asparagus, spicy tuna, beef tataki, 12-piece sashimi, pan seared cobia, and broiled salmon (forgot the menu name). the servings are anorexic and the best dish was the 12-piece sashimi (difficult for anyone to mess this up- it was fresh). i don't know what the chef is striving for but seriously, broiled salmon over a bed of sauteed onions in a dark sauce and pan seared cobia over a boiled stew of asparagus and red grapes. please! i spent $200 on dinner for two and only drank beer. and the dj couldn't make a decent transition from one track to another the whole night.