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Dec 26, 2007 10:34 AM

2007 "best bites" Miami Herald

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    1. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

      Interesting thoughts, especially "we stand in danger of becoming Las Vegas-ized. Govind Armstrong, David Bouley, and Michael Mina are big-name chefs, but, like Vegas, all we get are the big names — not the chefs. We have, as I've mentioned, developed a fair amount of homegrown talent, but eminent food cities likewise rely on the import of professional culinarians from other parts of the world. Miami is very much deficient in this regard."

      It sounds that in search of more mula, some of the top guys could begin to spread themselves to thinly. This unfortunately is an ever present potential evil in a business oriented society that always wants incerasing profits each year.

      As to why Miami doesn't attract more "professional culinarians" I really don't understand? We seem to have the ingredients to attract everybody else LOL. But seriously, that is an interesting question. Michy and Michael are a great pair but it seems like we gain one lose two (Norman/Eismann).

      1. re: eatnbmerry

        I certainly don't always agree with Lee Klein but I thought his article had a lot of good points.

        However I don't think Miami lacks for "home-grown" talent - it's just that a number of them don't currently have restaurants operating in Miami. Michael Schwartz (Michael's Genuine), Michelle Bernstein (Michy's), Cindy Hutson (Ortanique), Douglas Rodriguez (Ola), Andrea Curto and Frank Randazzo (Talula), Mark Militello (Mark's Place), Johnny Vincencz (Johnny V), Norman Van Aken (?), Jonathan Eismann (?), Alan Susser (Chef Allen), Dewey Losasso (North 110), Kris Wessel (soon to be Red Light) (not quite homegrown but been here a while) ... and while a lot of these folks are "first generation" "mango gang" folks, there are a number of "second generation" folks who trained under them who are now starting their own places - Tim Andriola (Allan Susser, Mark Militello alum) at Timo, Jeffrey Brana (Van Aken alum) at now-departed Brana's come to mind ... this is not a bad list! I don't think either Van Aken or Eismann are lost so much as looking carefully for another opportunity.

        1. re: Frodnesor

          I was shocked that I was agreeing with Lee Klein as well.

          He did have a couple of dumb comments such as when he included PF Changs as "among some of the finest Chinese...establishments in town". Did he get paid for that? Tell me, does PF Changs specialize in Szechuan or Cantonese food? Do they do dim sum?

          Another comment is his griping that everything popping up is a steakhouse, Italian or sushi due to our residents' fickleness. Granted it's a little overreaching, but not too far from the truth.

          Some of his points ring painfully true, like the lack of bakeries, butchers and fish markets that should be more prevalent.

          1. re: lax2mia

            Yeah, saying that PF Chang's is among the finest Chinese establishments in town is about as outrageous as claiming that I invented the question mark. Nor exactly Miami's strong suit, but still ...

            1. re: Frodnesor

              I agree with both of you; however, there is virtually no Cantonese food in Miami which is like that in Guangzho, and no Szechuan food that you can find here that would be like that found in Szechuan, China. Therefore, I guess Lee Klein does have a right to bend the "truth" since it is untrue to start with.

        2. re: eatnbmerry

          According to the staff at Michael's (and I think but am not 100% sure, but Michael Schwartz himself) Eismann is opening a place in the Design District.

          1. re: mikek

            Been lots of rumors to that effect.

        3. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

          BTW, can anybody vouch for Fernandez's top hamburger at Kingdom or Cuban at Bin 18?


          1. re: lax2mia

            I always wondered about Kingdom.....I pass by it a few times a week and wondered if it's any good. Anyone else been there?

            1. re: jessicam29

              Had a burger hankering and tried Kingdom's for lunch today - excellent. Tasted just like a 4th of July buger off the BBQ. Nice big meaty patty (comes in 8, 12 or monster 24 oz versions), plain or with lettuce tomato onion and a few choices of cheese. Done a perfect medium, super-juicy and tasty. Fries and onion rings were only OK but a nice casual place to kick back, have a burger and a beer, and watch a game. Decent selection of beers incl. Red Stripe. Menu also had a few other regular items and then a list of daily specials.

              1. re: Frodnesor

                Thanks for the report will have to stop by soon to partake.

                1. re: Frodnesor

                  Finally made it over to The Kingdom. GREAT burger. Frod, I thought the fries were very good as well. this place really reminded me of a place you'd find in New Orleans.

            2. the link is no longer working... anyone want to elaborate some more on the "best bites"?

              2 Replies
              1. re: dmo305

                I think it read something like this

                Victoria Pesce Elliott loves the gumbo at Maia's Creole Cafe, Linda Bladholm prefers deep-fried Japanese eggplant at Hiro's Yakko-San, Enrique Fernandez craves Bin No. 18's Cuban sandwich, Rochelle Koff likes the butternut squash purses at Himmarshee Bar & Grille, and Charles Buhman is a fan of the guacamole at Cantina Laredo. [Miami Herald]