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Jan 24, 2008 06:32 PM

Valentines Day... Emeril's or Barton G's??

She mentioned Barton G's to me a few weeks ago so I made 2 reservations. Emeril's at 8 or Barton G's at 6:45 (kinda early but it was the best they had)


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  1. Emeril's at Universal in Orlando? No, no, no. I don't know Barton G.'s, but it couldn't be worse than Emeril's.

    1. I"m assuming this was Emeril's South Beach.


      1. Eating out on Valentine's sucks. Period. I have never had a good experience dining out on Valentine's or any other holiday-type night (i.e. New Years) and gave up on it long ago. You've got an entire restaurant full of people all hoping it's going to be a special night, and in the meantime you've got an entire kitchen and waitstaff (all of whom for mysterious reasons seem to be entirely incapable of actually handling a full restaurant even though they're usually cranking out a fixed menu) all just struggling to keep pace, and almost invariably both the food and the service suck. But (1) I've been married for some time now; and (2) I always cook up a pretty fine meal for Mrs. F at home on Valentine's, so I can afford to be a curmudgeon.

      2. The food is not particularly stellar at either of these places. Barton G is all about the shtick and the spectacle - if you order the swordfish, it comes on a sword. If you order the duck, it comes in a wooden duck decoy. Get it? The food for the most part ranges from inedible to mediocre with, every so often, something that's actually good thrown into the mix. Emeril's is sort of a cartoon version of a New Orleans style restaurant, just like the man himself has become some sort of a cartoon version of a chef. If I had to choose on the food, I'd definitely go with Emeril's over Barton G any day of the week, though.

      3. Having gotten out all my nastiness, I should add that both restaurants are pretty impressive spaces, Barton G in particular. Barton G is in a funky old house which has had various restaurants in it for decades, and it really does have a neat feel to it (and the place is very much a party place where just about every night it's people there for special occasions, so perhaps they will be better equipped to deal with a Valentine's dinner). I think the dining room of Emeril's is also quite pretty, though a lot more bare, open and minimalist.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Frodnesor

        I completely agree with Frodnesor. Barton G is all about spectacle. Flash but little substance. Only think great there is the chocolate cake and coffee. I would go just for that.

        Maybe you should get some wine and good cheeses and sneak onto the beach with a blanket. A night picnic is loads better than either of those options.

        If sand is not your friend, why not eat at The Raleigh? It's the most romantic spot on Miami Beach. (I can't vouch for the food but am sure it's on par with Barton's). Your girlfriend will swoon....

        1. re: jessierandall

          Anyone know how the cheesecake dessert at Barton G's is??

          Its getting late to make a new reservation, but I'd be open to other suggestions for V-day. . .

          1. re: FoodDude2

            With all the great places to eat on Miami Beach, I would not waste my time and money at either place. Emeril's is CHAIN...and the service is good, you still feel as if you are eating in a hotel restaurant. The bartender made a great martini and I thought the presentation was lovely, but everything seemed just so very salty.

            I hate to complain twice, but BARTON G was even worse. I agree with the earlier post that the place is a stunning restaurant, and redone old house tucked in a residential neighborhood is cool. However the schtick and the PRICES are out of control, especially for things like Macaroni and CHeese and Chicken Fingers. I was so excited to go, and I thought the presentation was awesome, the food mediocre and the bill OUT OF CONTROL. Dinner with cocktails, wine and dessert was more than some people pay for a months rent!

            I would advise you too take the money you would spend on dinner (which are barton G would be a lot) and use them for a nice his and hers massage, with some of your favorite foods from a gourmet market....and spend some quality time together

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. Food Dude, what kind of food and ambiance are you looking for?

          1. re: jessierandall

            Nice, semi-romantic with high quality food. After reading the board, the food at barton g's seems to be consistently disappointing so I'm leaning towards Emeril's or another place. She's not a big steak eater and I'm not feeling italian. French/New American/Gourmet ish type food. Money is not an issue for this night, but at the same time, I'm not looking to spend $500 either

            1. re: FoodDude2

              Maison d'Azur. French seafood brasserie. New place, opened by a team that has a couple restaurants in NY. Can be fairly moderate or pretty expensive depending on how you order (they fly fish in from around the world and some items are quite pricey, others pretty reasonable). Romantic spot.

              Or, if the place doesn't have to be too posh, Talula is my favorite restaurant on South Beach and fits the "New American" genre. The place is not a dump by any means, just not quite as overdone as some SoBe places. I only have a couple hesitations recommending: (1) as I said in the first place, Valentine's dinners suck; I'm reluctant to recommend a place I like a lot on a night when it's unlikely to be showing its best; and (2) service can be a little flaky, which will only get magnified on a high-traffic night.

              1. re: Frodnesor

                I looked at both their menus online and I am a bit underwhelmed. Not that the food isn't going to be superb, I'm sure it is, but I find spending $30-$50 on a fish dish to be a waste. Fish to me, usually tastes like fish. I'm much more inclined to find a lobster/crab/shrimp dish with an amazing sauce etc to be more to my liking. Of course beef works just as well. ( for me at least).

                In contrast, I find the selections at Emeril's menu to be more varied, more choices, and in all honesty, more interesting.

              2. re: FoodDude2

                Nothing beats watching the sunset at the standard for dinner in the romance dept. Go grilled food and you will have a better meal than barton (which is underwhelming) and at least as good as emeril (haven't been in a while though).

                For the ultimate, do a late afternoon spa for 2 followed by a sunset dinner. This will be worth at least one get out of jail free card for any future screwups you may do in the future.

                1. re: tpigeon

                  Now that's a winning romantic combo rec!!

          2. What exactly are the prices at Barton G? I just looked at the menu prices, but the dishes seem to be a creative take on American comfort food, mostly. Disappointing that it gets bad reviews. Is it even worth a try?

            4 Replies
            1. re: jessicam29

              Don't recall specifically since I've tried to block out from my memory my one visit there, but it's certainly a lot more expensive than it ought to be for the quality of the food. To give some idea, the menu doesn't list individual prices, but does list some group menu options which START at $75 for a 3-course meal and go up from there (plus 20% tip, they're kind to note).


              No, it is not worth a try unless you're going just for the spectacle of it (and on someone else's dime, and on a night you're not particularly looking forward to some good food).

              1. re: jessicam29

                You can get mac & cheese for a bargain basement price of $30.

                1. re: tpigeon

                  But it probably is served in a cap with a feather in it.