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Official Miami Spice 2009 Thread

Icantread Jul 29, 2009 08:24 AM

No, Frod didn't die and make me king. I just noticed that the list is up and it's a pretty big one this year. I won't be here most of August, but with such a large list it would be nice if any of us taking advantage of Spice this year could let the rest know if they had a good experience or more of what has become the same old.

I haven't looked through most of the menus yet, but kudos to Neomi's Grill for putting something fun and different together.

  1. HabaneroJane Jul 29, 2009 09:10 AM

    I can't wait to see what all the Hakkasan hype is all about for $35!

    1. lax2mia Aug 3, 2009 08:41 AM

      Here's some quickies:

      BLT Steak
      Pluses:
      Get the whole BLT Steak treatment (chix liver, popovers)
      Miami Spice menu presented with regular menu
      Menu choices are good, (gnudi is fried though which I didn't expect)

      Minuses:
      Entrees aren't entrees, they're a la carte so you must order sides (which are good, but run around $10 so three sides is almost as much as dinner)
      Sauces are offered with no price on the menu but appear on bill at $3 a pop. No big deal, but they should tell you beforehand.
      Would recommend.

      Scarpetta:
      Pluses:
      Great service
      Menu choices are excellent, inlcuding the spaghetti w/tomato and basil
      Spice menu is within regular menu
      Valet is free thru 9/30!
      Minuses:
      Can't really think of any
      Highly recommend.

      1. Icantread Aug 3, 2009 10:07 AM

        I had my first Paradigm dinner in Neomi's this past Friday, which was an amazing dining experience, excellently done and nowhere near "test" level as far as I was concerned. When the chefs came out at the end they wholeheartedly invited us to come back and try their Spice menu. To have a restaurant embrace and promote the spice menu was such a breath of fresh air when compared to some places that seemingly post their menus reluctantly.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Icantread
          Blind Mind Aug 3, 2009 11:15 AM

          The lobster is unreal. I recommend trying this place for Spice. Its not every day that a restaurant puts lobster on a $35 prix fixe menu.

          I went to Hakkasan last night with the intentions of ordering off the Miami Spice menu. When I got there and looked at it (after having to ask for it) it just didnt inspire me much. I guess I just wasnt in the mood for those 2 main choices. Ordered of the regular menu and thought the food was very, very good, albeit very pricey in some areas. The decor of the place is probably my favorite in all of Miami/Miami Beach. Absolutely stunning.

        2. Frodnesor Aug 3, 2009 10:45 PM

          OK, I have given the Spice menus the once-over, and here is my potential "hit list" ->
          http://www.foodforthoughtmiami.com/20...

          There's a few places I haven't tried yet - Hakkasan, Gotham - a few I've tried the regular restaurant and liked - Scarpetta, Bourbon Steak, BLT Steak, Petite Rouge, - some intriguing menus - Neomi's, Area 31's "sustainable dinner" - and some old favorites like Michy's (which is a relatively new participant to the Spice thing).

          1. lax2mia Aug 9, 2009 10:20 AM

            Sra Martinez

            Comes with salad and your choice of two tapas + dessert, all a subset of the main menu Waitress was not the best. She brought the salads and mixed up the ones for two in our party. When we told her she said "Oh, I thought you were all sharing". The salads were small and not enough to share. My charred fava bean salad was lacking (I don't expect a fava bean salad to be predominantly fava beans, but if you're going to name the salad after the fava beans there should be more than 4 in it, and the blood orange somehow got the True Blood treatment and was the color of a plain orange). Crispy artichokes were awful as the tender heart was destroyed by tough outer leaves that weren't removed. Pork belly with watermelon was good, but it's a takeoff of pork belly watermelon salad that's everywhere now. Untraditional Patatas bravas, ordered in addition to Spice, used the adjective Untraditional as an excuse to give you four tiny potato skins and charge $9 for them. They somehow took potato skins and rolled them into tiny almost balls and filled them with a weak huancaina sauce. Croquettes likewise are ridiculously small for $11. Butifarra, ordered in addition to Spice, was delicious and I'd take advantage of the pimientos de padron while they're in season.

            Don't think I'd go back as I'm finding Sra. Martinez a bit of a rip. I don't think $150 for two people for tapas is right, and these tapas aren't extraordinarily better than what I'd get at Xixon or other tapas places around the country.

            3 Replies
            1. re: lax2mia
              yomyb Aug 10, 2009 06:27 AM

              I agree with you on the rip comment. I think the place is very good, but it is so overpriced for those tapas!

              1. re: yomyb
                t
                tjc1222 Aug 10, 2009 03:21 PM

                I also agree with the rip comment. $150 for tapas for two people is totally outrageous. There wine is also obscenely over priced. She charges $55 for bottles of wine that I have seen in the store for $14. I find the markup to be excessive. I think Michelle B is laughing all the way to the bank with this place.

              2. re: lax2mia
                Blind Mind Aug 10, 2009 07:47 AM

                I agree L2M. Sra Martinez jumped the shark for me the night we had a Chowdown there. That meal was mediocre at best and the few I had after were worse.

              3. netmover Aug 9, 2009 11:06 AM

                DeVito's was spot on! I went for lunch yesterday and had to ask for the Spice Menu (they didn't bother to give it to us). Started off with the gargantuan Meatball which is uber decadent for a meatball. Followed with their Rigatoni Bolognese which has to be the best in the city. And finished off with the Tiramisu. I have a very hearty appetite, but could not come close to finishing this 3 course extravaganza. I waddled out of there in pain with my doggy bag which came in mighty handy last night at about 4am when I got in from a hard night out on the town.

                Lunch served until 5pm which makes for a great early dinner. Well worth the pain!

                1. b
                  bettyford123 Aug 9, 2009 06:41 PM

                  Sra. Martinez: We went with a couple of friends to experience this new and highly recommended hotspot and we were not disappointed. On thier spice menu, there were so many choices, it was hard to choose, but in the end we decided to get different tapas so we could taste alot. The flavors were incredible and every dish was well constructed and memorable. Our waitress delievered polished service with a smile and the food flowed nicely throughout the evening. I was blown away by the crispy artichokes and the sauce (can't quite remember what it was) was to die for. The atmosphere was great, the food and service excellent, and the overall experience is a notch above. Two thumbs up for Sra. spice menu. We will definitely be back.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: bettyford123
                    d
                    dlgc Aug 10, 2009 10:16 AM

                    We tried Red the steakhouse and we loved it. The spice menu was inserted inside the regular menu, and there were plenty of choices for us. We started with the gazpacho soup, which had just the right amount of spice for us. Then we had the salmon, cooked perfectly and a large portion and the CAB filet which was very small but tender and flavorful. Desert was sorbet for both. The service was excellent and the restaurant was filling up quickly at 7:30.
                    We will be trying Gotham with friends next weekend.

                  2. butrfli1227 Aug 10, 2009 02:34 PM

                    I went to Wish on Friday for dinner. Corn Soup = AMAZING! But Snapper and Brownie left alot to be desired. Below is the link to my lengthy review

                    http://www.willjogforfood.com/2009/08...

                    1. dmo305 Aug 10, 2009 06:48 PM

                      NEOMI'S

                      We had dinner here late Saturday for the first time. I don't no why it took me so long to get here but that was clearly a mistake on my part as this meal was delicious.

                      The breads served included pretzel bread, flat bread, and some light rolls, served w/ european butter. Compliments of the kitchen, they also brought out truffled potato chips with a fresh green onion dip, which were delicious. Off the spice menu, we ordered a snack of "canned tuna", which was a nice little tuna salad served with flat bread. We also ordered "taste of spain", which was a nice wad of thinly sliced jamon iberico, a slice of manchego dressed w/ olive oil, compressed melon and boquerones. As part of the spice menu, I went with the Kogi tacos while my gf went with the fish tacos to start. The tacos (2) were served in a single toasted flour tortilla, shredded shortrib, pickled cucumber and kimchee. They were good and bigger than I expected. I think corn tortillas might have been nice here but i'm not complaining. My gf devoured the fish tacos, but did save me a bite and those were pretty good as well, much more traditional and way different flavors going on than the kogi piece. For mains, we both went with the lobster and that was just ridiculous. Butter-poached lobster laid over two nice potato skins w/ melted st andre cheese. The plate was dotted with spheres of spinach puree which lent moisture and flavor. The lobster was delicious and the combination of ingredients went quite well together. The dessert plate brought out three items, a white chocolate molten lava cake with cacao sorbet and a cardamom macaroon. The cake was neither molten nor lava however it was tasty. We ended up packing that to go with my gf's coffee for the next morning. The sorbet was delicious as was the little spiced cookie. Afterwards, they brought out little pistachio bonbons with toasted sesame seeds on top.

                      Highly recommend

                      1. dmo305 Aug 10, 2009 06:55 PM

                        GRILL ON THE ALLEY @ Aventura Mall

                        Ordered off the lunch spice menu here. Started with the gazpacho, which was definitely a very chunky american rendition, not particularly my favorite but still a cool and refreshing starter in this miami heat. For my main, I went with the kobe burger, which is served with a nice black and white truffle mayo which lent a nice flavor to the burger. No cheese, and it wasn't necessary. Patty was nice a big, slightly overcooked but still juicy. Dessert included a choice of many different desserts which are offeref there, although I was full so I gave it to my mom to take home. Spice menu was good here but not necessarily a great value at lunch unless you are hungry and planning on ordering alot, in which case it does the trick.

                        1. r
                          rebus1805 Aug 11, 2009 05:36 AM

                          Went to Timo's, an old fave, in Sunny Isles Beach on Saturday night and wife and I ordered Miami Spice. She had the scallops app, snapper as the main and the peach dessert. I tried the squash tortellini, duck breast with balsamic glazed figs and the chocolate peanut butter mouse. Every dish was excellent. Nice service and ambiance. Interesting wine list, I had the viognier by the glass. I had not seen this wine BTG on a Miami wine list. Excellent meal.

                          10 Replies
                          1. re: rebus1805
                            d
                            dlgc Aug 15, 2009 06:58 AM

                            Gotham Steak - DON'T GO!

                            Last night we drove to South Beach to enjoy an evening at Gotham Steak....What a disaster! The restaurant was more than half empty, no spice menu was given to us by the server, so I asked for one. We started with the tomatoe and watermellon salad. It contained 4 tomatoe wedges and one small piece of watermellon, two tiny cubes of feta.
                            Our main was the black miso cod. The plate arrived with one mushroom, 2 bok choy leaves and the cod that measured 2 inches by 2 inches at the most! We both looked at our plates and laughed. I asked the server if this was the correct size and he said oh yes, you are on Miami Spice, not the menu. Gotham should be ashamed and embarrased to serve anyone such a meger meal. We ate the tiny morsel and left, never to return again.

                            I really feel that if a restaurant is not going to serve an acceptable size portion they should not be part of the Spice program. If our meal had been such I'm sure we would return again to have one of their famous steaks. Why should we now consider returning when we can just as easily go to Red where they serve a regular portion on Spice, don't try to rip off the patrons and their steaks are fabulous. That's just my opinion.

                            1. re: dlgc
                              HabaneroJane Aug 15, 2009 07:09 AM

                              Thanks for the heads up on Gotham. Was going to go. Booked for Hakkasan next Friday instead. And agreed on Red The Steakhouse on all levels--spice and otherwise..excellent!

                              1. re: HabaneroJane
                                t
                                tpigeon Aug 15, 2009 08:22 AM

                                HJ did you read my hakkasan spice review? To sum up it has tiny portions and is not a better value than the regular menu. I do not recommend it. Scarpetta spice is getting good reviews but I did not do the spice there, but I did go non spice and think it is great.

                              2. re: dlgc
                                a
                                almostinamerica Sep 27, 2009 10:48 AM

                                A couple of weeks ago I brought a group of about 20 people to Gotham. We had the spice menu, basically. Everyone really enjoyed it ... except me. I like the crab soup, as a native of Baltimore I'm picky - it was good! Had nice lumps of crabmeat. But then I chose the veal cheeks because otherwise I think it was cod or skirt steak, and I wanted something different. You know, I have somewhat of an unsophisticated palate, so please take that into consideration. The veal was so soft, almost like butter. But somehow this meat lover (and former steakhouse waitress) found it unpalatable. Someone else really liked it. No one else got it. Then dessert - it was this bread pudding that was really just bread and disappointing. Service was excellent, though. Overally, I had a better spice meal at Red. But even better - Meat Market!!!!!!!

                              3. re: rebus1805
                                Blind Mind Aug 19, 2009 06:34 AM

                                I went to Timo's for Spice last week with some friends. Ordered the scallop app, duck main, and peach dessert. On paper, this couldnt have been a more perfect meal for my tastes as I love scallops and duck. Unfortunately, the dishes were poorly executed. The scallop was cooked perfectly but waaaay over salted, to the point where it ruined the dish for me. I did really enjoy the tender octopus that was served as part of the dish. Probably the most tender octopus Ive ever had. The duck main came out and was really, really overcooked. I felt like I needed a hacksaw to cut through it. Friend's duck was the same and other friend's lamb (off reg menu) was waaay overcooked as well. Peach dessert was the highlight if I had to name one. It was refreshing.

                                Im fully aware that the dishes I was served were only off by a bit (over salted, overcooked) so I wont rule out going there again sometime. At the same time, while I was impressed with the menu choices, the execution failed and there are other restaurants in the area that I'd likely select first (Neomi's, NAOE) before trying Timo's again.

                                1. re: Blind Mind
                                  z
                                  zook Aug 23, 2009 07:24 PM

                                  We ate at Timo's tonight. This is our regular go to restaurant when meeting up with my in-laws. All four of us ate off the Spice menu. Between the four of us, we had all 12 of the choices offered. Because of BM's comments, I shied away from the scallop/octopus app, although both my in-laws had it and enjoyed it so maybe the oversalting was just a fluke. I had the butternut squash ravioli (5). They were good although not the best that I've had elsewhere. My husband truly enjoyed the towering eggplant app. My father in law had the duck and he didn't comment on it at all, so perhaps it was still not well cooked like BM's. My mother in law and I had the snapper which had a corn and ? topping served over roasted potatoes allegedly in a lemon confit. The fish was well cooked and tasty although the lemon flavor was noticeably absent. The portion was huge, two large filets over about a dozen potatoes. My husband had the gnocci which he enjoyed. They looked pretty bare on the plate as there was no color, just plain white potato gnocci. For dessert, two of us had the roasted pineapple with ice vanilla ice cream (nothing special), the peach dessert did look as good as BM described, but the clear winner was the chocolate and peanut butter concoction. Overall, it was very good value for what we got, but compared to many other choices on Timo's regular menu (such as their delicious short ribs), it paled in comparison.

                                  1. re: zook
                                    non sequitur Sep 4, 2009 10:31 AM

                                    I did the Spice lunch at Timo yesterday and loved the value for $22.

                                    The butternut squash tortellini appetizer is about as fine an app as you can hope for, and I'm not limiting that to lunch.

                                    I'd planned to take the duck breast and risotto main, but it's unavailability yielded 2 substitute offerings. One was the short rib "pot roast" (on the regular menu for $33?!). If I'd seen that price before ordering I probably would have gone with that option, but instead ordered an excellent gnocchi with truffle oil, porcini mushrooms and fresh peas (it's amazing what a revelation a fresh pea can be here in SoFla, even though they can probably be grown here).

                                    If I wasn't sharing with a 3-year old carb-lover, I would have had trouble making it to dessert, which was peanut butter mousse (very thick) in a candied 'tower' with a side of carmelized bananas.

                                    Altogether, a fantastic lunch bargain, and a great quiet lunch (much less busy).

                                    So this year, my spice experiences have been 3 for 3 (also recommend Scarpetta dinner and Bourbon Steak dinner elsewhere in this thread).

                                    1. re: non sequitur
                                      z
                                      zook Sep 4, 2009 06:16 PM

                                      just an fyi, their short rib dish is deeelish. While it is expensive, I find it hard to resist ordering it each time we're there.

                                      1. re: zook
                                        non sequitur Sep 6, 2009 04:22 PM

                                        zook: I'm going to head back there and hope they are still out of duck!

                                        I note both from your dinner review and the spice menu posted on the Timo website that the lunch options and portions seem to very closely approximate the dinner options (same dessert, same apps, and the gnocchi I had as a substitution appears on the dinner spice menu - and mine was a dinner sized portion).

                                        Conclusion: the $22 spice lunch at Timo is one of the better bargains out there (particularly if you are offered the short rib pot roast as a substitution).

                                        1. re: non sequitur
                                          non sequitur Sep 10, 2009 07:18 AM

                                          The day after writing my last (Sept. 6, above) update, I returned to Timo in the hopes that they were still out of the duck, and making substitutions as they had 3 days earlier. I'm disappointed to report that the spice menu got a complete overhaul.

                                          The lunch apps are now a soup and a salad (lacking the same pinache of the squash tortellini), and the mains are pork tenderloin (which is ample in size, but uninspired as far as flavor) and a macaroni pasta (artfully presented in an eggplant wrap, but ultimately unimpressive on the tongue).

                                          I'm sure the lunch is still the better value than the dinner, but there are other options to explore before the promo ends at the end of this month, so my run at Timo is at an end for the time being.

                              4. non sequitur Aug 15, 2009 05:02 PM

                                Back in town after a summer of city-hopping, and having missed pizza crawls I, II, III AND IV (AND the underground dinner... *$^@#&!), I'm gearing up to make up for lost time. And so, instantly hitting chowhound for the lowdown, I am relieved to find the "official thread" (don't want to waste time with pretender threads!).

                                I was looking to try out some new places, but with negative feedback on Hakkasan and Gotham Steak (where I'd already reserved), it seems a change is in order (wish you were reading, Mr. Portale, I mean c'mon: you offer a $25 anniversary lunch right now in NYC, and your overhead there must surely eclipse the rent here in foreclosure central, no?).

                                Bourbon Steak in (nearby for me) Aventura is making this year's list on the basis of last year's performance.

                                Looks like I'll be substituting Neomi's (where I've only been for a wine dinner) for Gotham on my b-day in September. I still haven't been for a paradigm dine, so this would be a nice foot in the water. I keep reading about how in the recession lobster has approached the price of sandwich meat, so I'm glad to see a spice menu taking advantage and passing the savings on.

                                I'd like to hit BLT Steak for a lunch, since they offer it on the weekend. On a related note, I'm sorry to see China Grill opted out this year for weekend lunch (and that Tuscan is out altogether).

                                Keep the feedback coming people - we are performing a public service!

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: non sequitur
                                  non sequitur Aug 18, 2009 12:12 PM

                                  Mini Review: Scarpetta Spice - a "must do"

                                  Was going to do wife's birthday dinner at Escopazzo, but based on number of hounds that put Scarpetta on their "to do" list, and seeing as how it is upscale italian, we went there instead last night (Spice is our opportunity to try something new).

                                  Scarpetta, I'm pleased to say, "gets it" when it comes to Spice. This is an opportunity for a restaurant, and particularly a new one (Scarpetta opened last November), to showcase itself like an "open house." Based on what I've read here at CH, Gotham has not taken the opportunity, and is missing out on a lot of free foodie buzz. In the long term, Gotham's skimping on portion size will be to its detriment. Not so at Scarpetta (even though both are located within the Fountainbleu).

                                  Scarpetta (a) put some of its best dishes on the spice menu and (b) did not downsize them, and the results impressed us greatly.

                                  The creamy polenta appetizer was so good, I would have had it again for desert. In fact, I would have had it for breakfast the next morning too. In fact, I would just like to spend the day sitting in a corner with a vat of it and a spoon. Get some.

                                  We also got an app of short ribs ("braised short ribs on vegetable and farro risotto). This was also impressive, and would have paired amazingly with the right red (not the bottle of champagne I brought for the occasion, which still wasn't bad). I would say the short ribs would be the perfect appetizer (as far as flavor, portion size, use of reduction), if not for the fact that it was eclipsed by the aforementioned Polenta (that's right, I'm going to capitalize the "P" now).

                                  I had to see what all the fuss was over a $23 spaghetti, so we tried that as one of 3 mains. Well, I guess I didn't know everything there was to know about spaghetti, because this stuff was pretty fine also (it seemed to have a tensile characteristic like a slingshot string - I wonder if it would have stretched if I'd been so inclined...).

                                  The black cod listed on the sample was not offered (sadly), so we tried a scallop dish that was good, but not a highlight, and the roasted baby chicken (this one on the sample menu), which was another winner. I would have loved to try the 4th available option (a pappardale pasta with short rib), but the scallops and chicken were $28 on the regular menu, and spice for me is all about aiming for the higher price points (also we'd already had short rib in the appetizer course).

                                  There were also 4 choices in the dessert course (so 3 app choices, 4 main, and 4 dessert - like I say, Scarpetta "gets it"). We got a chocolate cake, a cheesecake (well suited to people not so into 'sweets'), and the standout winner: the panna cotta (its deliciousness matched by its generous portion size).

                                  Were it not for spice, and the free valet parking (the valet reminded me to validate, to avoid the usual charge of $18?!), I may never have tried Scarpetta. Obviously, I'm glad I did. Now I just wish everyone (and particularly Gotham Steak) took the same view of the opportunity Miami Spice CAN be.

                                  Now if I could just get a little more of that polenta...

                                  1. re: non sequitur
                                    non sequitur Aug 29, 2009 06:43 AM

                                    Bourbon Steak gets a Spice thumbs up from me again this year.

                                    One year-round plus is that even though it is a very wine-focused restaurant, they have a fair corkage policy ($25), and an online wine list that is updated in real time, so that you can check to make sure the bottle you intend to bring isn't listed (if you have a $100 bottle at home, and it's $225 in the restaurant, clearly paying the $25 makes sense).

                                    Gone is the truffled potato bread starter that was a big hit last year (though there are rolls), but the trio of duck fat fries (no longer listed on the menu as a side dish) are still complements of the chef (pictured).

                                    Solid Appetizers: gazpacho was excellent. I'd expected the Duck rillette to be something akin to a pate, but it was actually confit shaped in a disk and lightly fried. It was good, but if you aren't alone it is better to share half of it with your dining companion (it's a little salty, but great in alteration with the gazpacho).

                                    Since we brought a heavy Shiraz, Mrs. NS and I both opted for the American Kobe ribeye. It was not a large portion, but as I learned on my last visit, with substantial appetizers, bread, fries, etc., a little goes a long way. In retrospect I wish one of us had tried the snapper (the third option is an uninspirational-sounding chicken dish).

                                    This is only my second spice outing this year, and I think the crown still goes to Scarpetta at this point, but Bourbon Steak is a worthy outing in August and September (especially if you live in the North end, as I do).

                                     
                                    1. re: non sequitur
                                      Frodnesor Aug 29, 2009 08:14 AM

                                      I am a big fan of reasonable corkage policies, but I've never regarded a corkage policy as an opportunity to bring a wine that is on the restaurant's list in for a cheaper price. In fact, many restaurants will not permit you to bring in a wine that is on their list. Rather, I've always seen it as a chance to bring in a bottle that you WON'T find on the restaurant's list - something that is small production, or that you've cellared for a while. Yes, that often may be a savings against what's on the wine list, but to me that's a secondary, not a primary, benefit.

                                      Having said that, Bourbon Steak's current wine list is perversely and shockingly lacking in value wines, particularly among the reds. There is almost nothing under $50 and I would hazard a guess that the average price point is $100+. That's just crazy in this environment. I don't know what they're thinking.

                                      1. re: Frodnesor
                                        non sequitur Aug 30, 2009 08:06 AM

                                        Re-reading my own post, I see that I was misleading - Bourbon Steak does NOT permit you to bring in a bottle that they have on their list (which is why the real-time online wine list is a valuable tool - to make sure you don't bring in something they have).

                                        My point was that when you see a bottle on their list for $225 that had a release price of $100, you can appreciate the value of bringing in a bottle (not that 2x or even 2.5x retail is out-of-whack at a restaurant, but applying that markup to a $20 bottle it isn't as big a shock as it is on a $50 bottle). And as Frod points out, there are precious few bargain wines on the menu (so if you want wine, it behooves you to import your own at Bourbon Steak, since the corkage price is moderate and the wine list options are expensive).

                                        1. re: non sequitur
                                          netmover Aug 30, 2009 08:20 AM

                                          For real, these people need to lower their multiplier as the price of the wine increases. 2.5x is fine for a 20 dollar bottle, 2x for 50, but when you get up beyond a 100 1.5x would entice a lot more sales of said wines as opposed to grimaces.

                                          As for not letting you bring in a bottle already on their list, well that I must say, I beleive to be appropriate whatever their multiplier may be.

                                          1. re: netmover
                                            Frodnesor Aug 30, 2009 09:07 AM

                                            The thing is they are well over 2.5x for most low-end bottles, though - with plenty of inconsistencies - there are in fact some more reasonable markups on the higher end.

                                            For instance, Sea Smoke Ten Pinot could be bought off the mailing list for $80, and being a highly sought-after wine now retails for $120-150 (per winesearcher.com). On the list for $190.

                                            Almost right next to it is Talley Rincon Vineyard Pinot with an average retail of $55, being sold for $143!

                                            It's a minefield out there.

                                  2. p
                                    Pandabug Aug 15, 2009 09:02 PM

                                    Ok, I'm trying Blue Door. The menu doesn't look hideous though they do have the boring chicken dish. The lobster, which I hear is great, is a $15 upcharge which I am not happy about. I'm going with an out of towner who wants to go to South Beach. I know there are other places, but this seems to work for us. I'm definitely trying Neomi's soon but since I'm coming from Broward, I'm going during the week so I don't have to travel so far south. Has anyone heard anything about Blue Door? If it's horrible, I'm gonna cancel; I refuse to waste my time on subpar food.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: Pandabug
                                      non sequitur Aug 16, 2009 07:40 AM

                                      I've enjoyed Blue Door on several prior Miami Spice outings, and though I can't comment on the menu this year, I would go based on those experiences (the seating outside is great, but pack a mosquito wipe just in case).

                                      1. re: non sequitur
                                        p
                                        Pandabug Aug 16, 2009 10:25 AM

                                        Thanks! I was getting a bit worried since I couldn't find much one way or another. I'll let you guys know how it is.

                                        1. re: Pandabug
                                          p
                                          Pandabug Aug 17, 2009 11:31 AM

                                          Went to Blue Door last night. Ordered the fois gras off the regular menu; it was slightly overdone for my taste but otherwise excellent. The flavors all went well together and my date, who had never tried it before, even loved it. Off the Spice Menu we both got the crabavocat, snapper, and raspberry napoleon. Crabavocat was very good; larger than I thought it was going to be. Nice pieces of crab and tons of avocado, tomato coulis, with one piece of fried shrimp on top. Yummy. The snapper was HORRIBLE. Do not get that. The breading was thick and salty and completely overpowered the fish (which was also just slightly overcooked). I expected a light breading. Once I took some of it off and tried the fish by itself I still was not impressed. The flavor just wasn't there. The tomatos were eh and the fennel tasted like boiled celery: limp and devoid of flavor. After our first two courses this was a huge let down. When the waiter came by and saw how disappointed we were with the entrees he offered to get us another one. (He was a great waiter, btw) I was kind of full and saving room for dessert so I declined, but my date went with the pork loin. After a long wait for it, we got the pork loin to share. This is what we should have ordered all along. The sweet flavors along with the perfectly cooked pork loin were right on par with our previous excellent appetizers. I could not get enough of the black thai risotto. It was even slightly underdone and I still gobbled it up. It paired so well with the meat. I would go back for that dish and I'm not even much a fan of pork loin. The dessert was good, nothing to write home about, but a nice, small, sweet way to end the meal. Fresh raspberries, some sort of ice cream, and crispy phyllo. All in all it was an enjoyable meal. My date referred to the good parts of the meal as there being "an orgy in my mouth" so I'm fairly certain he enjoyed it too.

                                          1. re: Pandabug
                                            a
                                            almostinamerica Sep 27, 2009 10:52 AM

                                            I went to Blue Door for lunch a few years ago and the service was awful. Topped off by the silliness of the Delano, not inclined to go back.

                                    2. tarepanda Aug 16, 2009 08:44 PM

                                      Has anyone been to Au Pied de Cochon? I've been wanting to go but as they don't post the spice menu I am kind of wary.

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: tarepanda
                                        t
                                        tpigeon Aug 16, 2009 09:41 PM

                                        You should go anyway. The food there is good and you can eat well there without spending a ton of money, spice or no spice.

                                        1. re: tpigeon
                                          HabaneroJane Aug 17, 2009 07:40 AM

                                          I so disagree on Au Pied. Prices are outrageous and food is mediocre, at best. Go for Spice if you must even though it is shady they are the only ones not posting their menu.

                                          1. re: HabaneroJane
                                            Frodnesor Aug 17, 2009 08:06 AM

                                            Pricing at Au Pied de Cochon is incredibly variable. It can be quite reasonable or quite expensive depending on how you order. On one hand, $33 for braised veal cheek seems awfully high; on the other, $22 for the massive pork trotter is a hearty meal for a good price.

                                            I've now had a couple good meals there, including one via their $25 "Yelp" menu - nice ragout of escargot over puff pastry for a starter, andouillette for a main, tarte tatin to finish seemed like a darn good value. They were also not shy about promoting it. I didn't think the execution was quite at the same level as Petit Rouge, which I really enjoyed, but it wasn't bad either.

                                            I'm not particularly distressed that they're not posting their menu, if they really are changing it every day (as they indicate on the Spice website). That's really just like a typical European prix fixe, and it avoids the kvatching of people who come in and say "But I saw "X" on the website" (which invariably happens even though many places make clear it's just a sample menu).

                                            1. re: Frodnesor
                                              HabaneroJane Aug 17, 2009 08:35 AM

                                              Frod, I have been hearing tons of praise for Petit Rouge..

                                              1. re: Frodnesor
                                                lax2mia Aug 17, 2009 09:07 AM

                                                Andouillette? Don't know whether to commend you or think WTF!? What was it like?

                                                1. re: lax2mia
                                                  Frodnesor Aug 17, 2009 10:41 AM

                                                  I actually liked this version of andouillette better than the one I had at Le Procope in Paris several years ago. Softer texture vs. the bouncier qualities that pig intestines can sometimes take on, which was what the Procope one displayed (a bit of a rubber-band quality). Indeed, the kind of soft that might scare many people. Sort of interesting spice to it too, maybe mace. Also it was lightly breaded and fried, the same way they do with the pig trotter. It was pretty amusing when I ordered it - I asked the waitress if it was "real andouillette" and she replied, "I don't know, but it's not been the favorite of many people ordering the Yelp menu." That was when I knew it must be real deal.

                                        2. yomyb Aug 17, 2009 04:15 PM

                                          Michy's Friday Night with friends. We tried everything on the spice menu and then some. Excellent excellent. She had a lot of her best dishes on the spice menu. I would have ordered the truffled polenta, pork belly and short rib anyway and was so glad they were part of spice. DELICIOUS! Portions were perfect we all left stuffed. I love her for Michy's so much more than Sra Martinez........

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: yomyb
                                            g
                                            gquest78 Aug 18, 2009 11:10 AM

                                            I have to agree with yomyb, I was at Michy's last weekend and the food was incredible! The portions were appropriate and the menu included many of her most popular items. I would definitely return again.

                                            I’m disappointed to hear all the negative reviews about Gotham that was next on my list. I was planning on going there for my birthday the week of August. Looks like I might need to look elsewhere.

                                            1. re: gquest78
                                              HabaneroJane Aug 22, 2009 06:54 AM

                                              did Hakkasan Miami Spice last night. Was my first time at the restaurant . I think Hakaksan is Chinese for "Overpriced PF Chang". After having to ask for the Spice menu two times and begrudgingly receiving it as if it were a steaming hot rag, I was impressed by the offerings and ready to eat with an open mind. Not to mention I was starving. We were a party of four. 830, Friday night . Place was mobbed and very much like a night club, loud, blaring music and proving that the fontainebleau really is a bit of Vegas without the gambling, several tables of men with women on their laps, in their laps and doing things that should be reserved for Club Madonna or the Bunny Ranch. I won't run anyone's appetites any further but it was more than Showtime After Dark. Anyway onto the food. We had fried dim sum and steamed dim sum off the appetizer list---each had three pieces...fried had duck and shrimp and steamed was shrimp....delicious. Then you got to choose a soup, hot and and sour or vegetarian hot and sour. We all had the original. I am a huge fan of H&S soup and thus far in So Flo haven't found the best. I do like PF Chang's version and I loved Hakkasan's version as well. It was the perfect balance of its namesake with chunks of tofu, mushrooms and pork. Then the main courses---pepper beef--which was a nice sized plate (hubby and I both ordered it so it was on one plate of beef chunks in a savory garlic sauce with too many cloves of garlic to count...tasty..our friends got the steamed fish and said it was ok. you also each got to choose a side, so two had lotus fried rice..which tasted like tea..one got fried rice which was dry and I got mushroom noodles which were tasty, greasy and mushroomless. dessert was an afterthought and not good---sorbet or strawberry soup. meh. now for the reason why it's overpriced PF Chang...the food was good, not falling off my chair fabulous. Chinese food should not cost upwards of $100, not this kind anyway. All four of us went through several tiny bowls of chili sauce to boost the flavor. Great Chinese food doesnt require ample sauce. Anyway, I am of the old school Chinese takeout ;/delivery mindset. Not the fancy schmancy. But nothing , at least on the Spice menu, separated this food from my old school NYC Chinatown takeout. Glad I went, but no need to go back, really. For the bombshell---so we had a $60 bottle of wine , one cocktail and two separate glasses of wine, plus the spice menu times four. Bill was $300, as they included $40 tip and $20 tax. Without the wine it still would have been, in my opinion, overpriced PF Chang.

                                            2. re: yomyb
                                              3
                                              365wchef Sep 11, 2009 08:59 AM

                                              The pork belly is AMAZING!!!!!!!! you are absolutelly right, Michy's spice and recently the fried chicken is incredible.

                                            3. netmover Aug 22, 2009 10:01 PM

                                              OLA was solid! Asked for the Spice menu...which 2 out of 3 of us induldged in. One salmon ceviche with lamb chops and the deconstructed key lime pie and one with the goat cheese ? emapanada with mahi and papas criollas ala huacaina + chocolate bread puddin'. Be sure to ask for bread which is Pan de Bono from Colombia and is very tasty.

                                              1. j
                                                JFarah Aug 24, 2009 09:23 AM

                                                Went to Baleen last night for Miami Spice and enjoyed it very much.
                                                We got to sample all of the first course options because there were 4 of us at the table. All were good, but the ceviche was the best by far. Not a traditional peruvian ceviche, but still great. The melon added a nice contrast to the acidity and the malanga chips were great for the crunch factor. The clams were very tasty, but I thought that the dish would have worked better with larger clams. Finally, the oysters tasted extremely fresh, but it could have used a little more of the habanero granita (if i'm going to be picky). We also ordered an heirloom tomato salad with mozzarella burrata to split (not part of the Miami Spice options), which was the star of our meal. Our waiter mentioned that they overnight the cheese from Italy and the tomatoes from Canada, so we figured that we should give it a shot and I'm glad that we did. It was AMAZING, for lack of better words.
                                                For the main course, 3 of us had the filet and 1 of us had the swordfish. I didn't get to taste the swordfish, but my filet had great flavor. The sweet potato mash was a great accompaniment - the smokiness of the chipotle offset the sweetness of the sweet potato, which I appreciated very much (sometimes sweet potato mash can be a bit too sweet for my taste).
                                                For dessert half of the table ordered the pana cotta, and the other half ordered the cheese cake. I was happy with my pana cotta, but can't say that it's the best I've had. I personally didn't care for the cheese cake, but then again I'm not a huge fan of cheese cake to begin with.
                                                All in all it was a great dining experience and would do it all over again if I could.

                                                1. j
                                                  jessicam29 Aug 26, 2009 08:41 AM

                                                  Went to BLT Steak last week. Someone had commented that the restaurant is literally in the lobby of the Betsey Hotel. Well, it is, but the atmosphere is nice. There is a huge blackboard explaining the differences in cuts of beef as well as the different types (kobe, wagyu, grass fed, etc). We started with the complimentary pate and country bread. The day we went it was chicken liver, i believe. I'm not into that sort of thing, but it was very tasty. Next they brought over the famous gruyere popovers. WOW. Those things were the size of my head and delicious. Crunchy outside, soft and warm inside. I would go back just for the popovers!

                                                  We ordered from the Spice menu. Both of us had the watermelon pork belly salad. It was ok. We had the one at Michael's Genuine a few months ago which was a lot better. The salad consisted of watermelon, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and strips of fried pork belly. I would have preferred more watermelon in the salad.

                                                  For our entree, I chose the fish (grouper?) and my SO chose the flap steak. The portion of fish was tiny, but very tasty and well prepared. The citrus marinated flap steak was cooked to perfection and the portion was a good size. NOTE, the Spice menu is a la carte, so you still have to order sides. We ordered the potatoes gratin and hen of the woods mushrooms. Both were excellent, but the portion size of the potatoes was really small.

                                                  For dessert, we had the cheesecake in a "watermelon soup" and the coffee pot de creme with pistachio ice cream. Both were delicious. I didn't think watermelon and cheesecake would be a good combination, but it was very tasty. The cheesecake had a caramelized top similar to a brulee which gave an unexpected crunch. The coffee pot de creme was deliciously silky and creamy. I could have done without the pistachio ice cream.

                                                  Service was excellent. Our server, I believe her name was Maria, was always smiling and friendly. We had two managers come by our table to ask how everything was. Water was constantly refilled. I would definitely go back! I saw some other choices on the regular menu I would like to try. Overall, a great deal for the money. Also, we went on a Saturday night and it was not crowded or noisy at all.

                                                  1. j
                                                    jessicam29 Aug 27, 2009 08:56 AM

                                                    Anyone tried the Asia de Cuba Miami Spice Menu? I'm going tonight and wanted to know your thoughts.

                                                    Thanks!

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: jessicam29
                                                      s
                                                      Sobe4u Aug 30, 2009 03:40 PM

                                                      How was Asia? I am going to do it too!

                                                      1. re: Sobe4u
                                                        j
                                                        jessicam29 Aug 31, 2009 07:28 AM

                                                        Asia de Cuba was pretty good! Its one of those sharing menus where if you have 2 people, you get 2 apps, 1 entree, 1 side, etc. There were 3 of us, so we ordered 2 apps: the short rib egg rolls and the crispy calamari salad (both were great). The calamari salad had pieces of banana and cashews. So unexpected and so good! For our entrees, we ordered the cuban style bbq chicken and the lamb. Both were really good. the lamb was one large piece of very thinly pounded meat, grilled with a salad of peppers and onions. The Cuban bbq chicken was also very good. The sides were underwhelming. We ordered the plantain fried rice and cuban style black beans. I didn't see any plantains in the fried rice, which was cooked well but tasted like any other fried rice. We were told the black beans had sriracha (sp?) sauce in them which made them extremely spicy, so we opted to get the sauce on the side. The beans were ok. The seasoning (without the spicy sauce) was like regular black beans you get at a cuban restaurant. We also opted to try the lobster boniato mash as an additional side. (We got 2 sides with the spice menu) The lobster boniato mash was outstanding! I don't know if I would have paid more than the spice menu for the food we ordered, but the portions were generous. Without cocktails, this would be a very decent dinner for the Miami Spice price. Cocktails were a little outrageous at $15 to $16 each, but that is to be expected at a South Beach hotel. I saw bottles of wine for $45-$55 on the menu. Oh, i forgot about dessert. Some coconut caramalized banana cake which was too rich and too sweet. By the time dessert came we were really full, but luckily we didn't miss out on much.

                                                        1. re: jessicam29
                                                          s
                                                          Sobe4u Sep 1, 2009 12:26 PM

                                                          Yeah, thats always been my main gripe with China Grill Mgmt places.... they raise up the wine prices higher than any place I've seen. You'll get a $12 bottle for about $45 - $50 usually.

                                                          Thanks for the great review about Miami Spice there, sounds good!

                                                    2. OysterHo Aug 30, 2009 08:24 PM

                                                      So far the only lunch menu liked was DeVito's. Any other lunch menus on spice that were great?

                                                      Por Fin's menu was pretty good, although we opted for the lunch specials and regular menu because neither of us wanted to eat dessert. (see the Por Fin thread). the lunch specials menu was the same as the spice menu, only you add dessert and you select from the less expensive entrees (column A). ;)

                                                      1. lax2mia Aug 31, 2009 07:57 AM

                                                        Blue Door @ The Delano

                                                        Will make this brief. Miami Spice seems to be an afterthought. Menu was not given and needed to be requested. Most diners looked like out-of-towners so they possibly had no idea of the promotion.
                                                        Apps were OK, mains were crusted snapper fillet which came out way overcooked accompanied by confit of fennel and tomatoes which were undercooked. Other main was the mango porco which just looked like sad slices of mango atop black rice. It looked rather pitiful. Desserts were chocolate cigar and a raspberry napolean (the former being meager and the latter not bad). Service spotty at best. Wouldn't recommend.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: lax2mia
                                                          HabaneroJane Sep 4, 2009 01:04 PM

                                                          I wouldn't recommend Blue Door anymore at all. We were there recently with some biz peeps from Singapore who wanted to go there..the fish was undercooked and vile and they were appalled..service was terrible...and cost was outrageous (this was before Spice).

                                                          1. re: HabaneroJane
                                                            t
                                                            tpigeon Sep 4, 2009 02:08 PM

                                                            I am actually a bit surprised at the spice menu being bad China Grille companies usually do a pretty good job. Not a huge fan CG food in general btw...

                                                            1. re: tpigeon
                                                              lax2mia Sep 4, 2009 03:13 PM

                                                              Menu good. Execution bad.

                                                        2. s
                                                          Sativa Sep 8, 2009 07:20 AM

                                                          Went to Por Fin for lunch yesterday. Spice menus were given when we say down, didn't have to ask. Lots of great choices on the menu. Pick one app, then pick one entree from the left column for a total of $19.50, or choose one from the right for $22.50. Add $2.50 if you want dessert. I had the ceviche to start with sea bass, shrimp, and calamari. It was tasty and the sweet potato was a nice balance to the acidity. My friend had the gazpacho which was excellent, the best I've had in a long time. For my main I had sauteed shrimp with potato foam, asparagus, and serrano ham (from the $19.50 menu). It was very good and was a nice size portion, almost couldn't finish it. My friend had a shrimp risotto(also from the $19.50 menu), not so good. The risotto was overcooked and was not creamy at all. We had both desserts, key lime pie, and the flan. The key lime pie was good. Not the normal presentation, it was a bowl of the custard with almond streusel, vanilla ice cream, and merengue. We didn't really care for the flan.

                                                          1. j
                                                            jessicam29 Sep 9, 2009 02:43 PM

                                                            Has anyone tried Gotham Steak's Spice menu recently? I saw all the bad reports on here, but I was wondering if it's improved. I'm between Gotham and Scarpetta.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: jessicam29
                                                              non sequitur Sep 10, 2009 07:20 AM

                                                              I'd also like to hear if Gotham got its act together. I wrote the maitre d' to direct him to this thread and the disappointment expressed in it, and wonder if it was to any effect.

                                                              Until the ambiguity is resolved, Scarpetta was a home run for me and would get my vote.

                                                              1. re: non sequitur
                                                                d
                                                                dlgc Sep 10, 2009 08:37 AM

                                                                We have friends that ate at Gotham last week and it was still a disappointment. Small portions, lack luster service and the same attitude we expierenced. We will never return there, there are too many good steak restaurants to put up with Gothams inability to treat people the proper way.

                                                                1. re: non sequitur
                                                                  Blind Mind Sep 11, 2009 06:42 AM

                                                                  Scarpetta was a huge home run last as far as the quality, quantity, and inventiveness of the food is concerned. The service was a tad annoying but generally ok.

                                                                  Creamy polenta is MONEY!!!
                                                                  Scallop main had 3 ENORMOUS scallops! I noticed they charge $27 on the regular menu for this item and I cant believe that the portion could possibly be larger than what we got as part of the Spice menu. Incredible value.
                                                                  Panna cotta was delicious and refreshing.

                                                                  Highly recommend to anyone looking for a killer Miami Spice meal for both flavor and value.

                                                              2. 3
                                                                365wchef Sep 11, 2009 08:54 AM

                                                                I normally take advantage of Miami Spice in the newest participating restaurants. For the most part avoiding most hotel restaurants becasue well. they are hotel restaurants. One of them worth mentioning and that has not dissapointed yet is Bistro One LR at the Ritz in South Beach. Bernardo Espinel is a Chef that has always flown under the radar and does not try to make a big fuzz about himself but those of us who are fans of his food are always treated to an amazing experience. First of all this restaurant suffers from a perception that is stuffy and well too "ritzy" and expensive. This is not the case at all, starting with no hidden fees and full portions for Miami Spice and also no day of the week restrictions. My favorite, the young roasted pussin, Chef Bernardo's take on Coq au vin, incredible taste and perfectly balance with the server's wine suggestion, all servers are trained with at least a Sommelier Level One certificate. Bernardo's wine list is incredible as well, with over 160 selections featuring lots of boutique wines from all over the world that has kept me coming back for more.

                                                                1. The Chowfather Sep 19, 2009 06:45 AM

                                                                  Two winners- Eos for lunch(flatiron steak with bone marrow and mushrooms plus unlimited Boutari wine) and Scarpetta for Dinner (creamy polenta with truffled mushrooms was the best dish of night followed by the panna cotta and I'm not a dessert fan. Scallops were very good. The spaghetti is spaghetti....overhyped)

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: The Chowfather
                                                                    Blind Mind Sep 19, 2009 04:13 PM

                                                                    I had that exact same meal @ Sardinia for Spoice and it was awesome.

                                                                    1. re: Blind Mind
                                                                      non sequitur Sep 19, 2009 06:14 PM

                                                                      Me too! And like Blind Mind, I also thought it a "home run." Great minds think alike.

                                                                      I want to try and hit Scarpetta one more time before Spice ends.

                                                                    2. re: The Chowfather
                                                                      j
                                                                      jessicam29 Sep 20, 2009 06:44 AM

                                                                      Agree with Scarpetta for dinner! Polenta was awesome, short rib appetizer was also really good. SO ordered the scallops and loved them. I ordered the over-hyped spaghetti. It was good, but I did't see what all the fuss was about. Also had the coconut guava panna cotta. A-mazing. Chocolate cake with salt caramel sauce is good for chocolate lovers.

                                                                      Did anyone else love the "stromboli" in the bread basket as much as we did??? Salumi and smoked mozzarella rolled in dough? Delicious!

                                                                      1. re: jessicam29
                                                                        t
                                                                        tpigeon Sep 20, 2009 09:19 AM

                                                                        even better is dipping the stromboli bread in the polenta :)

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