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Dec 29, 2007 12:44 AM

biscayne blvd eats

Since moving near the design district, I've made some pretty fantastic discoveries. My favorites:

1. Bin No. 18 - cobb salad to die for!!!!!! The service is also really great. They're on biscayne and 18

2. UVA 69 - creative specials of the day. Biscayne and 69

3. Andiamo pizza - biscayne and 54?

4. Hiro's sushi - ok, so its cheap, fast food sushi. BUT, I have to be honest - they pull it off unbelievably well. Try their new caterpillar roll. Biscayne and 40-something?

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  1. I got to say I like the Daily on Biscayne and 19th for Breakfast and Lunch.

    Obviously, Michy is the Queen of the Blvd since setting up her shop on +/- 69th?

    Dogma has filled a frank need...and I thought I saw another doggie joint down in the 20's or teens named Frankittude or some such name?

    Canela is pretty good too.

    3 Replies
      1. re: netmover

        I like the Daily too (I live in the building) but they're just *too* good - the wait times are absolutely ridiculous when they're busy!!

        I tried out Franktitude for lunch the other day (yeah, around the 20's) - it's not bad, but they're bread is a tad too chewy. And the fact that they call it "Franktitude" and not "Frankitude" really just happens to bother me. I'm sticking to Dogma.

        Good to hear you like Canela... been wanting to try it out, but I always end up at Hiro's right next to it.

        Have you guys eating at Spyro? I love it! They have some guy playing the piano during dinner most nights I believe. Sad to see they're never busy (at least when I go)

        1. re: ellynet

          I love the Daily..but you are right...way too much wait.
          try S&S's the district hidden gem for feel good breakfast...Sundays the wait could be prepared to sit next to Jack Nickolson or the bum from your corridor, Great vibe..I feel like im in NY :)

      2. Waiting for the verdict on Red Light.

        Le Glacier isn't bad for basic bistro type food.

        The only bump in the road is Ver Daddy's taco place. I wish it'd go away.

        6 Replies
        1. re: lax2mia

          Do you really think that Red Light will be worth the wait LAX? Aside from the Panniotecca (sic) what has this chef done that's worthy? Which btw is your basic sammie shoppe with an Italian twist.

          Glacier is decent...and I have heard good things about Casa Toscana too.

          1. re: netmover

            I am hopeful that Red Light will be worth the wait. Kris Wessel is the guy behind Red Light. He did Liaison on Espanola and Elia at Bal Harbour. I don't believe he had an association with Paninoteca.

            Any word on the sushi place opening next to Bin or the Bengali place on 21st and Biscayne? I'm hungry.

            1. re: chocolada

              I'm 99.9% certain that he owned/started Paninoteca.

              1. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

                Yup, you're right. He is/was an original partner.

          2. re: lax2mia

            What bothers me about Red Light. Its not consistent, the service is also not consistent. Not only do the dishes come out different from one day to the next but Ive arrived at opening and the door isn't even open, waiters not there and after 10 min ur given an excuse no ones showed up for work. Other days you'll sit for 20 min without anyone asking you if you care for something to's a bit TOO laid back to tell you the truth. Im glad they've survived this long but I don't know how they do it.

            Should you go try the appetizers, they are the best. Ox with figs, mussels, shrimp (dont do the ribs, chewy)

            1. re: District_foodie

              They have some on the staff that are great and some that are just awful...the valet guy is a complete jerk...But the food makes up for it IMO. Every time we go it is better. Last week we had some incredible oxtail and a whole snapper there. Delicioso... we are big fans of this guy...

          3. Canela Cafe - good if somewhat untraditional tapas and Cuban food, sort of funky place, Biscayne & 50th.

            Casa Toscana - pretty good Italian, charming hostess/owner, decent wines, Biscayne around 70th.

            If you're willing to venture around the corner at 79th St ->

            Renaisa - very good Indian food in a sort of hole-in-the-wall space on 78th.

            Boteco - casual Brazilian place, great feijoada lunch first Saturday of the month, cheap capirinhas, south side of 79th between Biscayne and the causeway.

            Schnitzel Haus - decent German food in a cozy little spot on north side of 79th just before the causeway

            Magnum Lounge - nice classy continental fare, and also great burgers, in a dark, loung-y piano bar on north side of 79th.

            Captain Crab's takeaway - just before the causeway on the south side of 79th Street - I like the fried catfish sandwiches, their greasy conch fritters, and picking at some garlic crabs.

            As for Red Light - Kris Wessel's former places, Liaison and Elia, are both places that I kicked myself for not having gone to more often before they closed. I believe he's originally from New Orleans or at least spent some time there, and Liaison did some very nice updated NO-style food. Elia had a similar approach to Mediterranean food and was also quite good. Both were in somewhat tough spots - Liaison in an odd, big space on the west end of Espanola, past all the foot traffic; Elia in Bal Harbour in the cursed spot across from Carpaccio. That space in the Motel Blu seems challenging as well, hope this one works.

            8 Replies
            1. re: Frodnesor

              Frod, I think if he were so revered, one of those places would've made it. And Motel Blu's location may be just the excuse this "paninni chef" will fall back on when the inevitable occurs there too? We'll have to wait and see. I have low expectations, but I have only had his Paninnis...perhaps he exceeds all our expectations and the wierdly laid out place flys in spite of his failed past? Time will tell, I am shocked he's not open yet!

              1. re: netmover

                Net, why so down on the place before it even opens? Seems to me that lots of good chefs with good restaurants have not succeeded in this town. I remember when Johnny V opened a casual spot years ago. The food was fantastic but the place flatlined anyway.

                I think the Motel Blu is an inspired though untraditional site for a restaurant. It's a gutsy move.

                As for not yet having opened...ever try to open a resto in Miami? It's no cakewalk. Permitting in this city is a nightmare.

                1. re: netmover

                  Net -

                  Many very good restaurants fail for reasons other than the quality of the food. Location is certainly one - and this was possibly even more true 10 or even 5 years ago. Wessel is far more than a "panini chef" but if you never tried either Liaison or Elia then it's understandable why you're not - like I am - excited for this place to open.

                  1. re: netmover

                    Come on net, haven't we been throught this before? How many great, independent restaurants have prematurely closed in Miami because of lack of local support? La Broche anyone? I loved Liason but it was gone in a flash.

                    And just to tell you about the character of the owner, he had a booth at the very first Grand Tasting of the South Beach Wine and Food festival even though Liason had recently closed. Sure the guy probably had paid for the booth, but why go through with it and spend $ on food for a place that was no longer around? I guess he still wanted to get his name out there.

                    1. re: netmover

                      Kris Wessel didn't own Elia -- and the owner had.. uhm.. issues that forced him out of business that had nothing to do with the quality of food at the restaurant.

                      Liaison apparently had a curse -- shortly after Kris opened, the city announced what would be an 12-24 month construction project that kept the road, Española Way, blocked in front of the restaurant.

                      If you''d ever had Kris' food -- you'd understand that he has a stellar gift for flavor. But, please, if you're going to be so negative -- don't go and waste the space - -there are many of us who will cherish the seat you don't take. :o

                      Oh, and as a tidbit of local chef history: Michelle Bernstein of Michy's worked under Kris Wessel when he headed up the kitchen at Mark's Place.

                      1. re: karmalaw


                        You seem to know a lot about Kris. But can you answer the $64K question: When's Red Light opening!?

                        1. re: lax2mia

                          as soon as the temporary liquor license is approved -- which should be imminent...

                      2. re: netmover

                        WOW, well excuuuuse me! Was I really that negative? Most of what I said was followed by a question mark. Jeez...

                        Alright...I will wait to see what becomes of this revered chef and his Red Light before passing judgement. I was simply curious as to why he was so well regarded by you all.

                        Construction delays are part of the game, no doubt. Having never tried any of the other places, other than panniniotecca (or whatever it's called) it's easy to understand why I don't "get" what all the fuss is about. If Michy was his understudy at Mark's that's good enough for me. Again, we'll have to wait and see.

                        The good thing is it's another reason to traverse Biscayne Blvd and should be a welcome addition to what was once the HO HWAY of the south... whoops, did I just say that? 4-get-a-bow-tit!

                    2. elly,

                      Have you tried the pulled pork cuban sandwich at Bin 18? Just wondering since Fernandez from the Herald named it one of his best "bites" of 2007. Also would like to know if you ever tried Ver Daddy's what your thoughts are.


                      29 Replies
                      1. re: eatnbmerry

                        Kingdom for wings and burgers...67th(?)
                        Pineapple Blossom for tea...81st
                        Filipino Food Market...87th-88th-it's a grocery store, but they also cook-ask for pancit and adobo
                        Daily-try the MAP Sandwich-egg salad, bacon, lettuce, tomato

                        1. re: Miami Danny

                          Does anyone know if Red Light is going to have a full liqour selection or just beer and wine?

                          1. re: sanman

                            full liquor -- that's why the license is taking a bit longer -- and some of the other permitting is still to be done... all soon though.. very soon.

                            1. re: karmalaw

                              If you drive by you can see that they've got the bar fully stocked and ready to go.

                                1. re: jessierandall

                                  Haven't tried. I've heard some good things though.

                          2. re: Miami Danny

                            Not sure why, but that strip of Biscayne from about 80th to 60th always seems a little dead to me, and some of the restaurants seem, dare I say, a little sketchy? I drive by there daily, usually in the middle of the day and the construction doesn't seem to help.

                            Nice to know that some of those places (kingdom, pineapple blossom) are actually decent! I'll have to give them a try. Has anyone been to that pizza place, I think its called Soprano's, around 70th and biscayne?

                            1. re: jessicam29

                              Be brave! The neighborhood is actually much improved over the past couple years, though north of 79th especially still can seem pretty dodgy. Especially during daylight hours, the stretch around the high 60's and low 70's can be downright pleasant. What's particularly nice is that these are real neighborhood places, and folks are generally pretty friendly.

                              Che Soprano in the tiny little house is a sister restaurant to a place near Normandy Circle. We get takeout from the Normandy Circle one often. Argentine/Italian place. Their pizza is reasonably good, as are the empanadas. Fugazza, an Argentinian white pizza w/ sauteed onion, ham & mozzarella, ain't all bad. I've also gotten a lomito sandwich, which is sort of like a Uruguyan chivito - steak sandwich topped w/ ham, mozzarella, fried egg, lettuce & tomato (not recommended by your cardiologist). Nothing is fantastic but it's not bad either. FWIW, it's our usual pizza delivery place.

                              I popped in on the Biscayne Blvd. location once and sadly it was empty.

                                1. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

                                  We'd seen the Biscayne restaurant closed Saturday night and were wondering why. Totally senseless.

                              1. re: jessicam29

                                Dead? Sketchy? If you're looking for Cocowalk you're not going to find it on Biscayne. And all the way from 80th to 60th you're calling it dead, but that stretch holds Michy's, Uva, Dogma, Wine 69, etc. It has more action than most of US1 further south. Is this the same Biscayne Blvd.? And the construction from 60 to at least 70th has been done for a while. Give some of these places a try (except Ver Daddy's, avoid Ver Daddy's).

                                1. re: lax2mia

                                  That area of Biscayne is a recent disovery for me. I am not "looking for Cocowalk", just merely commenting on the fact that I see plenty of shops and restaurants there that look empty when I happen to drive by. It just seems sad to me that all these businesses are popping up in that area but I don't see how they stay afload. I also don't see parking readily available in that area. Just not used to it, I guess. Maybe its bustling on the weekends when I don't drive through there.

                                  Now I know that Kingdom is a good neighborhood place to have wings and beer, and Che Soprano has decent pizza.

                                  Any word on Moonchine? Also, what does Pineapple Blossom offer? Is their tea selection any good?

                                  1. re: jessicam29

                                    Michy's is packed every night of the week. Soyka's and the rest of the 55th Street complex (Sushi Siam, Andiamo) are steadily busy and have been so for years, even though the food's not that great (Andiamo's pizza is OK). Canela Cafe seems to always have a crowd, Uva seems to generally be doing OK, as is Dogma (closes early in the evening), as is Kingdom, Casa Toscana ... Other places are slow - Moonchine, Che Soprano, Sushi Square, Le Glacier definitely seem pretty quiet.

                                    But that's always the nature of the restaurant business - many places fail. The good news is that these places presumably have much lower rents than they would get elsewhere and thus have a little more "room for error".

                                    Most of these places have parking on the side street or behind their buildings (for instance, Kingdom uses the parking lot behind the building, which is clearly marked if you go up the side street just south of it).

                                    As for Pineapple Blossom, I haven't tried, but here's some links ->

                                    1. re: jessicam29

                                      Only tried Moonchine once. It's a sister restaurant to Indochine in Brickell. If you've been to that one the menus are almost identical.

                                      You're right, depending on the time of day it could look a little dead, but those times are early morning and probably early (home commute time) then later evening (when everything shuts down). Frod's post is pretty informative and indicative of what's there and what's open when. As for rumors of upcoming places, I'd heard a while ago that Balans (same as on Lincoln Rd) was going to build a cafe/bookstore in an empty lot. Lot is still empty, but at least there's now a covered fence around it.

                                        1. re: mialebven

                                          I thought it was where Jenny's is?

                                        2. re: lax2mia

                                          L2M -

                                          You apparently had good info. The construction at around 65th & Biscayne on the east side now has a sign up for Balans Restaurant and Residences.

                                  2. re: Miami Danny

                                    I tried finding Kingdom last night and failed miserably. I know my eyes are getting bad and it was dark and people in typical Miami style started honking but didn't see on 67th? Is it in a building/motel? A sign at least?


                                    1. re: eatnbmerry

                                      It may not have been your fault. Kingdom has odd hours and opens and closes randomly. It could very well have been shuttered when you drove by.

                                      It's on the west side of Biscayne around 67th. Look for a large, pink building with a flower shop and barber shop. Kingdom is the last storefront to the right if you're facing the building. There's a sign that looks a little medieval.
                                      If you're traveling north and hit the BP you've gone too far. If travelling south, keep an eye out after you pass the BP.

                                      1. re: lax2mia


                                        I swear I thought I was going nuts. They were probably shuttered like you say (or my eyes are worse than I thought). Will try during the daytime next.

                                        1. re: eatnbmerry

                                          I don't know if it helps, but on the second floor there's a floral store. It's a two storied building - not a motel, condo, or anything like that.

                                          1. re: mialebven

                                            Ty Mia,

                                            I guess I am just a blind hound without my nose and/or tastebuds to guide me! But the burger is worth a second try right?

                                            1. re: eatnbmerry

                                              The burger I had was a little too blackened on the outside, but I'm thinking it was a little gaffe on their part. Overall though, the burgers are high quality and worth returning for.

                                              I went to Al Carbon on Coral Way the other day and I saw burgers being served to patrons. It reminded me a lot of Kingdom's burgers, at least by looks (either that or I didn't get a good look). Could anyone do me a favor and let me know if the burgers are similar?

                                              1. re: eatnbmerry

                                                A surefire way to know if they're open is during a football game. Seeing as there are only three left those are three definite opening times! Otherwise they're randomly open for lunch weekdays and Saturdays. Only time I've seen them open on a Sunday it's for a game.

                                                1. re: lax2mia

                                                  Intriguing. Almost sounds like a dive kinda place. In a good way, top notch burger with some devil may care tude to boot! Can't wait to try after I Find of course.

                                                  1. re: eatnbmerry

                                                    I think I would have to say Kingdom is more of a sports bar slash burger joint, not just a stand-alone burger joint that cares nothing about sports. But it's a worthy find, and it's probably open for happy hour too, since I've went in the afternoon.

                                    2. re: eatnbmerry

                                      all the food there is fantastic. My wife dreams of it sometimes. I'm not so obsessed, but it's quite good

                                    3. Michy's. Dined there last weekend. It's like tapas, so you can order 1/2 portions. The food and service are excellent.

                                      19 Replies
                                      1. re: LifeisGood58

                                        Arguing about Red Light is perfectly normal, NM. The food will speak for itself. Apparently kris wessel's claim to fame now is that he bumped hips with Michelle Bernstein. LOL. Let's see what happens, and hope he's at least as good as the celebrity chef down the street at Ver Daddy's.

                                        1. re: Miami Danny

                                          *His* claim to fame has nothing to do with Michelle Bernstein.. He was a noted young chef long before she was.. and remained noted to those who knew food and where to find him.

                                          1. re: karmalaw

                                            Looks like we'll just have to wait and see if he's got good karma this time around. If the past is a predictor of the future, he's definately got an uphill battle! The place could just be cool and funky enough to make a splash, and if his food is as good as everyone says, he may be around for some time to come. That cajun thing has yet to be embraced in this town, so it'll be interesting to see how much he draws from his homeland, if at all. What were his stand out dishes in the other places? Anything you'd call signature?

                                            1. re: netmover

                                              This was all before my time here so I never tasted his cooking. But others have been impressed by his ..“signature creativity” .

                                              1. re: 2top

                                                wow, thanks for the schooling twotop! Great link. That's some serious accolades from some serious critics...let us see what this guy can do in his new digs. One thing I know for sure is he won't be regurgetating some Greek dude's idea of Med cuisine. He seems to have carte blanche here and will instill his very own version of haute cuisine. I have been through the space (it's been a while now) and must say, he'll have some logistical obstacles to overcome ala Mundo(by Norman Van Aken) whereby it's not really a traditional sapce with a contiguous dining room and the kitchen in the back...or so it seemed way back when I snuck thru there.

                                                1. re: netmover

                                                  From a story I read a few months ago it certainly sounds like an unusual space. It seems that front room has space for less than a dozen tables and a bar, and that he was going to do a lot of outdoor seating along the little river there (which seems like it would have to be on a different level). Gonna be interesting.

                                                  1. re: Frodnesor

                                                    The space is unusual.. and the first time I saw it, all I could think of was -- "I want to have my sunday brunch at one of the river-front tables and watch the manatees swim by". And damnit, that's just what I'm going to do, too.

                                                    1. re: karmalaw

                                                      That's if you can stand the it a river or a sesspool canal? I think you're more likely to see bodies floating by...:-) ok I'll STOP!

                                                  2. re: netmover

                                                    Lee Klein and Lyn Farmer. Jen Karetnick-yes, 'serious critics' all. Not one word about his food, oddly. 'Restaurant on the rise..." which immediately closed. His 'signature creativity' is a phrase that means what, exactly? What kind of food is his 'signature' other than sandwiches, or cooking Militello's recipes? I say give him his due, but explain the hype, please.

                                            2. re: Miami Danny

                                              Ah yes. I knew Ver Daddy's would come into this conversation somehow. How can this place still be open!?

                                              1. re: lax2mia

                                                Oh yes,

                                                Cause their Steak and Fries Taco rule :) :). Honestly, the way he has been changing staff who knows if they will survive. So let a Taco Dull take it over, oh wait there's already one right down the steet.

                                                1. re: lax2mia

                                                  Standard celebrity chef puffery is not going to make me want to watch the detritus roll by on the canal, Kris may or may not be a talented chef, but I'll wait and see if the food is any good, or if they can stay open long; of course I wish them luck, I live around the corner. Oh, and L2M, the reason VerDaddy's still exists is because the chef makes his beans just like his Mexican grandmother's. Just read this, and weep, or, like I did, chuckle.

                                                  1. re: 2top

                                                    Without any rancor (believe me, I'm not trying to be harsh), I'm not on this board to read old issues of the New Times-I'm interested in what people who post here have eaten, and their opinions of the food. I've seen none so far. Has anyone eaten Mr. Wessel's food? What is it? How did it taste? Do ya see what I'm driving at?

                                                    1. re: Miami Danny

                                                      Um, yeah...I hear you loud and fact I feel you!

                                                      Frod says he's tried his cuisine...I'm sure he must have something worthy to tell us.

                                                      That Prosciutto Paninni I had 8 years ago was pretty good!

                                                      1. re: Miami Danny

                                                        *Has anyone eaten Mr. Wessel's food? What is it? How did it taste?*

                                                        Yes. I went to Liaison on the far end of Espanola Way, and Elia in the cursed spot in Bal Harbour that now harbors (sorry, unintended) La Goulue.

                                                        Liaison was a genuinely interesting and good place. Upscale, creative, with a strong but not overwhelming influence of New Orleans creole cooking. Regretfully I only got there a couple times and can't remember any dishes, but it was very good and I was sad when it closed.

                                                        Elia was also quite good, sort of "Nuevo-Mediterranean" (at least a little bit before everyone started doing Mediterranean), and was also good, somewhat healthy (which I usually don't like as a focus for a restaurant, but didn't mind here). Again, another place I kicked myself for when it closed for not having gone more often.

                                                        The guy's got a good touch. And I say that without having any knowledge of him bumping hips with Michelle Bernstein or whatever else is on his resume.

                                                      2. re: Miami Danny

                                                        Did his grandmother teach him to stuff a tortilla with french fries also? And the comment "I make everything from scratch" must mean that those packages of corn tortillas lining the kitchen must be there for show.

                                                        Thanks for the laugh.

                                                        1. re: Miami Danny

                                                          Interesting that the Wash Post thinks more highly than Most local hounds and even says that "Ver-Daddy's (a play on the Spanish word for "truth") brings a new level of authenticity to Mexican food in Miami" and also adds "But what it lacks in ambience it makes up for in flavor".

                                                          Perhaps this is why its still open.

                                                          1. re: eatnbmerry

                                                            Washington DC is not exactly a mecca for Mexican food either so any comments about authentic, or even tex-mex or cal-mex, Mexican food from the Post need to be taken with a grain of margarita salt.

                                                            1. re: lax2mia

                                                              Forget the salt just give the margarita pleeze!