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Last day for Taste of the Grove today

Today is the last day for Coconut Grove's annual "Taste of the Grove" festival. Booths with various samplings from area restautants, live jazz, and wine tasting. A good excuse to get outside too!

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  1. Is there anywhere in the Grove worth tasting anymore? At least there's jazz and wine.

    27 Replies
    1. re: lax2mia

      Too bad you seem to have forgotten: Jaguar (according to Netmover some of the best ceviche in town), Le Bouchon du Grove (according to Frodnesor decent French), Las Culebrinas (according to me and many others solid Cuban), Ideas (according to both Blind Mind and Frod a worthy upscale Spanish place), Flanigan's Loggerhead (according to many a great place for ribs), Mr Moe's (according to many a solid spot for sports bar fare), and Scotty's (hard to beat a burger and brew overlooking the bay). So fortunately yes, to answer your rhetorical question, there is plenty more to taste in the Grove than you happen to remember.

      1. re: eatnbmerry

        You're wrong eat, I remember all of these places. And most of the them stink enough to not make me want to go into the Grove. I'll give you Jaguar. And I haven't tried Ideas but it's on the list.
        But both experiences at Le Bouchon du Grove have been bad and it's off the rotation. And if your list of places worthy of making a trek into the Grove are Flanigan's, Mr. Moe's and Scotty's then I guess I was right.

        1. re: lax2mia

          Berries is good for the food but the service is par at best and Im not a fan of the owners. lax2mia - you should try Ristorante D' Il Frasca between Cristabelles and Moes. Phenomenal authentic Italian. Nikki Grove could also be a nice new addition. Bizcaya is good as is Baleen. I love Jaguar and I also like Tu Tu Tango for variety. I also like French Kiss which is next to Flanagans and does a great margret de canard and escargot.

          Sure, its no Gables or South Beach, but I like the options in the Grove because you dont have to sacrifice a major part of your paycheck for one meal...

          1. re: Blind Mind

            Thanks for the suggestions. It's just that whenever I think of Grove I think if traffic, drunk college students and exorbitant parking. I've been meaning to try Bizcaya but haven't made it. Baleen I think lost its swagger a while back, but I haven't been in a couple of years.

            Whatever happend to Anokha, the outrageously priced Indian place on the same street as Moe's? And that Spanish place with the outrageous windmill that looked totally out of place?

            And yes Frod, Scotty's location is 98% of the allure, with the other 2% being the beer.

            1. re: lax2mia

              "just that whenever I think of Grove I think if traffic, drunk college students and exorbitant parking."

              And I guess of SoBe would be: "I think if (sic) traffic, drunk clubbers and exorbinant parking."

          2. re: lax2mia

            Been a while since I've been to Bouchon du Grove - it was decent when I went, but that was some time ago.

            Scotty's in fact IS one of the reasons I make a trek to the Grove, but for the view and the cold beer, not so much for the food.

            1. re: lax2mia

              I agree about Bouchon (but then again I'm not always right either :) but as to the others, they each bring individual aspects of goodness to the party which I can and do appreciate. Fortunately, my life is not a non-stop haute cuisine expressway. I don't mind "slumming" and in fact kind of enjoy the uniqueness and non-sterilized ambience to be found out there.

              When it comes to food, or anything else, you do better by managing your expectations than thumbing your nose at self-perceived imperfections. A good plate of wings with some cold brews watching some playoff football in an emotionally charged atmosphere is also good for the soul. A decent plate of ribs (at a very good price I might add) is not a bad way to fill a lunch hour from work. Like Frod says below, there are worst places to spend a few lazy SoFla afternoons than looking out over the bay at Scotty's with friends, a few cold ones and some solid burgers.

              I'm sorry L2M if you don't enjoy these options. But fortunately I can and do. Which is not to say that I don't also enjoy the creativity/touch of a Boulud, Puck, Takayama, Matsuhisa, etc, but more to say that "variety is the spice of life".

              1. re: eatnbmerry

                Variety is exactly what I'm talking about. It just seems like the Grove could be so much more than wings and Le Bouchon. Ginger Grove in the Mayfair hotel is awesome, but everytime I've gone it's been nearly empty. I'm not sure it's still open. Jaguar was the best addition to the Grove in a while but nothing's had that big of an impact since. For a place that once had an offshoot of Le Bernardin the Grove has gone a bit downhill.

                1. re: lax2mia

                  What was the off-shoot of Le Bernadin? Wish that were still around.

                  As a law student who lives near the Grove, I feel I can comment on Grove dining. To be honest, I enjoy Jaguar and Tu Tu Tango (though have had problems with their managers in the past) and food-wise, my interests stop there. Moes is fine if I am really drunk and want bar food, but I would rather eat at Hooligans or the Bar. I have had nothing but bad experiences at Bouchon and Green St. Throw in the fact that there are several good dining options 5 minutes the other direction towards the Gables, and there is really no incentive to frequent the Grove for food.

                  1. re: mikek

                    La Bernandin was behind mayfair. damn.. I can't even remember what year it opened.. had to be early 90's

                    1. re: karmalaw

                      I think what you're thinking of is Brasserie le Coze, which was in a big long space across the street from Mayfair. Gilbert le Coze was the founder of Le Bernardin in NY, and opened Brasserie le Coze with his sister Maguy.

                      Opened in 1990.

                  2. re: lax2mia

                    Agreed it could be better and probably should be. But always seems to be stuck between catering to the UM crowd (no offense Mikek), being a bohemian destination (ok not so much anymore darn!) and catering to the upper-end. While this eclectic mix might lead to the current state it also gives the grove its uniqueness as well.

                    I remember that the Grand Bay had one of the top, if not the very best that all of Dade had to offer back in the late 80's. As BM mentions, Baleens used to be top notch as well and the Mayfair has also had some decent places to boot. Oh well, you can't live in the past, but I still don't think its good for only "jazz and wine" and I think you also would agree.

                    1. re: eatnbmerry

                      Don't you think South Beach falls into that same mix of catering to the high-end, the bohemian lifestyle and the younger crowd? They manage to pull it off relatively well on the island.

                        1. re: mikek

                          You both seem to have conveniently forgetten that they have a big advantage in the tourist arena and oh yeah, they have a beach. The latter serving to attract both the former and the rest of us landlubbers that want to feel some sand between our toes and the sea breeze in our hair before, during, or after a meal.

                          So to recap, the tourist dollars and their myriad of tastes (a lot of internationals) and us land side natives needing to enjoy the beach (or why live here anyways?) make all the difference in this case.

                          1. re: eatnbmerry

                            And the Grove doesn't get tourists? If not, then you'd think it'd be the type of place to cater to locals. But if ever a touristy spot there was, the Grove is up there. Probably explains the decline in quality of food (a la Ocean Drive). But wait, it'll come back in about 5 years or so, just like Ocean Drive is trying to mount a comeback.

                            On a sort of tangent, is the cheese place still open there? I remember they made a big deal about it's opening and when I went the selection was worse than that at a Publix. It ended up focusing on sandwiches but retained the "cheese" in its name. Can't recall it but it fell so short of my meager expectations that we never went back.

                            1. re: lax2mia

                              hmm I haven't seen a cheese place... but the selection at the South Miami Whole Foods is pretty decent -- as are their wines (try the 2006 Altocedro Malbec for, I think, $15.99)

                              1. re: lax2mia

                                I didn't say "doesn't get", I said SoBe "has big advantage". You can't seriously want to dispute that do you? And it was only in response to Mikek and you saying that SoBe does it better, what a revelation!

                                Lets just leave it at, the Grove will never be SoBe, BUT, it has some redeeming qualities, and yes, they include some worthwhile restaurants (lets not get into how many again And Yes ANYPLACE could always use more good eats) instead of "only jazz and wine".

                                As to the cheese place ? I do think Cefalo's offers some and Gardner's does as well. Karma's SM WF has a wide variety for sure.

                                1. re: lax2mia

                                  I think you're referring to:
                                  The Cheese Market
                                  3409 Main Hwy. Coconut Grove
                                  Last I was there it was much more a sandwich shop & art gallery.

                          2. re: lax2mia

                            Agreed on Ginger Grove L2M. I went there a bunch of times when they opened and havent been back since even though the food was outstanding. I need to get back there. You know, a lot of people complain about parking but if you arent too lazy to walk a block or 2, there are plenty of options. In the Gables, if you find a meter a few blocks from where you want to go, dont you walk? People who visit the Grove dont do this for some reason...

                            1. re: Blind Mind

                              Some people mentioned in another thread that they thought the Grove was surrounded by "danger" and perhaps thats why some are more reluctant to park off the main arteries. I don't buy it, but no doubt that a lot of people are definitely in a cocoon mode nowadays.

                              BTW, how was the festival anyways?

                              1. re: Blind Mind

                                I don't mind walking at all, but meters even seem hard to come by. It's either CocoWalk or municipal parking, both of which are more expensive than the ones on the Beach I believe. Correct me if I'm wrong.

                                1. re: lax2mia

                                  The Mina BSteak fan is concerned about relative pennies in parking? BTW, the private lots are cheaper for the most part.

                                    1. re: lax2mia

                                      You remind me of law school. When the facts are against you argue the law and when the law is against you argue..... In either case, argue!

                                      As to "you get what you pay for", I surely try/hope so as do most hounds for that matter..

                                      1. re: eatnbmerry

                                        L2M - the meters are the same hosing as everywhere else - 25 cents gets you a lousy 15 minutes. Ok, maybe not everywhere as I believe there are some that are 20mins for 25 cents. Also, the Cheese Market was suffering so they started doing sushi with the idea that eventually theyd phase out the wine & cheese. That eventually became Siam Oshi which is actually pretty good sushi at a decent price. Sure, theyll be strugglin once Akashi opens, but its the best in the Grove for the time being because Somoto is sewage.

                                        eatnbmerry - your comment that the Grove is "catering to the upper-end" is a tad off base. If you had said "mid-upper end" thats one thing, but there certainly arent any places in the Grove I would call high end like I would P112, Nobu, etc.

                                        Finally, the argument of "Grove vs SoBe" is completely and utterly absurd. Its not even a contest. The Grove cant touch SoBe with a 10ft pole. While both enjoy the benefits of tourism, we're talking totally different types of tourists. Most tourists in the Grove are college students, college families, prior residents, festival participants, or people who booked a trip to "Miami" and didnt realize how spread out it was. You never really here of the Grove unless someone was shot in West Grove (which is a dangerous area for the most part). SoBe, on the other hand, is in the nationwide or worldwide media almost daily for one reason or another. Celebs go there, vacations, beach, etc. To argue that SoBe and the Grove experience the same amount of exposure and tourism is an exercise in futility.

                                        Oh, and Milams has a better wine selection at way better prices that Whole Ripoff any day of the week.

                    2. Berry's puts out a decent meal too .

                      1. Correct me if I am wrong...but isn't Taste of the Grove just a nice day in Peacock Park that happens to have some local chow and brau by the bay with a little music thrown in for good measure?

                        There's a whole lotta of fussin' goin' on here for a day at the park...no?

                        BTW, what's up with Cefalo's? Did it bust already? I thought I heard where it changed names...

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: netmover

                          I popped into Cefalo's wine store last friday night to pick up a bottle of 2003 Altocedro Malbec Reserva (overpriced in Florida thanks to the layers of distribution).. the restaurant was open, but not busy.

                          1. re: netmover

                            I know of several different group events that have been done at Cefalo's and folks seem to like it. I haven't been yet but will be going in a couple weeks.

                              1. re: netmover

                                Not that I know of - I mean, it's always been Cefalo's. There's a few different components to it, though - there's the wine bar, and then there's the "Cave Club" which he's trying to pitch as members only.

                                1. re: Frodnesor

                                  There must lie my confusion. Cuvee Club may have been a better name, no? That's a tuff spot...as it's just off the beaten path. I wish him well, but I have yet to see any wine places succeed in this town...kinda like the yogurt craze!

                                  1. re: netmover

                                    I have been to Cefalo's for drinks. A couple of people have told me the food is average. I went last week, they had extra meats and cheeses from a party platter that never got used that they gave to my girlfriend and I gratis. However, their wine selection seems somewhat over-priced, even by Miami's standards, with very few bottles under $20. It is definitely created with the higher-end customer as its target.

                                2. re: netmover

                                  I haven't been there but I know that in the beginning the restaurant element of Cefalo's in the Grove was supposed to be run by Marcanio's. A group from Montreal who have two other stores in Canada.

                              2. re: netmover

                                Would rather have the Taurus back thats for sure! Talk about an institution and dive and not bad eats either. But I do hope the best for Jimmy.