My associates and I decided to lunch at Table 8 on Ocean Drive this past Friday afternoon and overall we enjoyed a positive experience that in some ways could have been better while looking forward to another visit to this well-known establishment.
The weather was pretty nice if you like perfect and we opted to dine on the terrace in front. When we arrived, the hostess was no where to be found and a waiter told us to sit anywhere we'd like and did. We were in a bit of a celebratory mood so we ordered drinks and to our chagrin it seemed like an eternity before they showed up.
We ordered two appetizers, one an appetizer and one not. We ordered the ahi tuna appetizer and it featured diced, raw tuna on top of diced tomatos and variety of other goodies. This was a very pleasing dish to the eye as it was molded in a round, flat fashion that's en vogue these days. Unfortunately, while there was a reasonable amount of tuna there was overwhelming amount of diced tomatos that definitely detracted from the overall taste and spoiled what had the possibilities of an extraordinary appetizer selection.
Also part of our appetizer order was Table 8's lunch specialty which is a grilled cheese sandwich with short rib meat combined to rest squarely between two really delicious pieces of toasted bread. This definitely met expectations and lived up to the billing as this nouveau sandwich was packed with flavor and was nothing less than spectacular.
For lunch, one of my associates and I both ordered the sea scallops that sat on top of nice pillow of risotto which also included Stone Crab Claw meat. The scallops looked as if they had been cut in half into lighter medallions, well-seasoned and pan-fried. That gave them a medium brown hue and they were loaded with savory flavory. Combining a bite of scallop, buttery risotto and the carmelized lemon zest that surrounded this culinary cloud made for an exciting combination of flavors. Another associate ordered the same dish but with shrimp instead of the scallops and he also enjoyed it immensely.
For dessert we ordered a banana bread pudding and a chocoloate creme pudding with marshmallows on top. Both were sumptuous and flavorful and the portions were certainly good enough for three to share with room to spare.
The only knock would have been on service from our waiter and from the bar. Our waiter was polite and knowledgeable but sometimes disappeared for far too long - especially after the meal had concluded and time for the check. Service from the bar was also disappointing in that it took far too long to get cocktails and the establishment was far from busy. What should have been a leisurely 1-45 minute lunch evolved into nearly a 3-hour drag and not everyone that eats lunch on South Beach is on vacation.
Overall, Table 8 was a very good experience and would look forward to returning for their dinner menu and hopefully more attentive service from the wait staff and bar personnel. Parking is also a MAJOR issue in that neighborhood so speak nicely to your parking angels.
re: Blind Mind
I don't think the food is meant to be imaginative. The chef's philosophy is getting the best ingredients and preparing them plainly. No over the top sauces or fancy presentations. It works well in L.A. where he can source good ingredients fairly easily. It's a little tougher in Miami and I think that's why the restaurant suffers a little here vs. L.A.
That being said, you can get the short rib grilled cheese as a snack at the bar. Be warned, they're small and you may order more than one.
Thanks for the tip
Not to Lax:
I really don't care about imaginative, I just care about good. Why should a place get dinged for not being the "state of the art" of cooking? I suppose Katz's deli and Peter Luger is terrible according to this standard.
My issue with Table 8 is I have noticed a food quality decline in everything I had there but their steaks which remain great and amongst the best south beach has to offer.