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Indomania, MIchy's and Others -- Specific Recs?

m
michelleats Apr 19, 2011 09:50 PM

I'll be back in Miami at the end of the month. Last time, I ate well, thanks to your recommendations. This time, I plan to try:

Indomania
Michy's
Naoe
Joe's Stone Crab (other than stone crabs, of course)
Hiro's Yakko San (a return visit; I know it's moved)

Do you have any particular favorites at these places? Actually, I am pretty sure I don't have any choice about what I eat at Naoe -- but for everything else, I'd love to hear your opinions.

Also, how is Latin Cafe? What's good there? I have it on my personal map for some reason, but don't have a description for it. I'm not sure where I got the recommendation from.

Thanks in advance!

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Michy's
6927 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33138

Joe's Stone Crab
11 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

Indomania
131 26th St, Miami Beach, FL 33140

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  1. t
    tpigeon RE: michelleats Apr 20, 2011 04:17 AM

    Rigsttafel at indomainia
    Michy's menu changes, but croquetas, sweetbreads and shortribs are done well there, my favorites are dessert though baked alaska and bread pudding in that order.
    Joe's Stone Crab - king crab claw, steamed with drawn butter, not mustard like stone crabs

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    Michy's
    6927 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33138

    Joe's Stone Crab
    11 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

    9 Replies
    1. re: tpigeon
      m
      michelleats RE: tpigeon Apr 20, 2011 09:53 AM

      I see you a lot on the NYC board, tpigeon. Fancy finding you here. :)

      Are the sweetbreads at Michy's breaded and fried or is it a different preparation?

      We'll do a stone crab / king crab comparison if they have any of the latter.

      Thanks!

      -----
      Michy's
      6927 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33138

      1. re: michelleats
        Frodnesor RE: michelleats Apr 20, 2011 12:30 PM

        Sweetbreads at Michy's are usually sautéed. They might be lightly floured to get a good sear but they're not heavily breaded.

        Not sure I could pick an individual dish at Indomania, since much of the fun of it is the variety of flavors and textures. It's a lot of little plates, but not a ridiculous amount of food (and not terribly expensive either at about $25pp).

        1. re: Frodnesor
          m
          michelleats RE: Frodnesor Apr 20, 2011 01:43 PM

          Thanks, Frod. Sounds like my kind of sweetbreads prep. I'll just bring a wetsuit to hide in, since it sounds like I ought to indulge at Indomania. ;)

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          Indomania
          131 26th St, Miami Beach, FL 33140

          1. re: michelleats
            Blind Mind RE: michelleats Apr 21, 2011 07:59 AM

            Michael's Genuine used to do a grilled sweetbreads app w/ a a sort of tropical fruit chutney )or something like that I can't recall) that was awesome

            1. re: Blind Mind
              m
              michelleats RE: Blind Mind Apr 21, 2011 02:33 PM

              Which restaurant do you like better, overall? It was actually a very close call between Michy's and Michael's Genuine. I did some reading on this board and it sounded like Michy's had a little bit more consistent praise, but I'm still open to your opinions!

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              Michy's
              6927 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33138

              1. re: michelleats
                Blind Mind RE: michelleats Apr 22, 2011 10:33 PM

                Michael's Genuine is better than Michy's.

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                Michy's
                6927 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33138

                1. re: Blind Mind
                  t
                  tpigeon RE: Blind Mind Apr 23, 2011 10:25 AM

                  i disagree but they are close

                2. re: michelleats
                  gblcsw RE: michelleats Apr 23, 2011 02:19 PM

                  I prefer Michael's Genuine to Michy's....Always surprised at the accolades for Michy's.

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                  Michy's
                  6927 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33138

        2. re: tpigeon
          m
          michelleats RE: tpigeon May 5, 2011 06:33 PM

          Good advice on the king crab, tpigeon. They were actually significantly better than the stone crab on the night we went. The stone crab tasted as though it'd been frozen, previously, and was a bit waterlogged. The king crab was sweet and firm.

        3. Frodnesor RE: michelleats Apr 20, 2011 05:41 AM

          Naoe is entirely omakase, so other than whether to pass up a round of nigiri, there are no choices to be made.

          Indomania, the best bet is to get one of the rijsttafels, which will bring you between ~12-15 little dishes of different things (there are 2 levels and only ~$4 difference).

          Michy's menu does change up some, but some stalwarts that are personal favorites include the white gazpacho, the bibb lettuce salad (w crispy onions and jalapeño buttermilk dressing), the croquetas, any foie or sweetbread preparation, the fried chicken if they have it. There was a fish dish (cobia?) with an uni risotto that I had several months ago and thought was wonderful. The short ribs (usually served over polenta) are also a big crowd-pleaser.

          Joe's - everybody has their favorite things other than the stone crabs. I like the "stuffies" (stuffed quahog clams), the cole slaw (an odd somewhat DIY version with vinegared cabbage topped with big dollops of relish and mayo) to start, and for sides, the lyonnaise potatoes, the grilled tomatoes (topped with a slice of cheddar cheese), and the creamed spinach. Key lime pie for dessert. For land-lubbers, the $5.95 1/2 fried chicken or the chopped steak are a fantastic bargain.

          Yakko-San - I've got a partial list of favorites over here ->
          http://www.foodforthoughtmiami.com/20...

          The menu has been updated some with their move. They have - for better or worse - added a regular sushi menu, some items that were typical specials are now on the regular menu, and there are some completely new items as well. I notice at least one personal favorite I didn't include in that post - the chicken livers itame with bean sprouts and chives. There was also something new called the "chefs five" or something to that effect, which was a little sampler plate of 5 different ceviches and similar items.

          If you mean "Latin Cafe 2000" - nothing particularly notable about it in my experience.

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          Michy's
          6927 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33138

          Indomania
          131 26th St, Miami Beach, FL 33140

          1 Reply
          1. re: Frodnesor
            m
            michelleats RE: Frodnesor Apr 20, 2011 10:03 AM

            I really, really, really hope that uni risotto is on the menu at Michy's when I go. It sounds fabulous.

            I probably will order the rijsttafel, but for the sake of argument, in the event I am feeling vain about looking good in a swimsuit and want to order a slightly lesser quantity of food, what would you go for? I recall not being able to move without assistance after a rijsttafel at Bumbu Bali in Indonesia.

            The chicken liver itame at Yakko-San also sounds extremely good to me. I'll look for it.

            Thanks as always!

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            Michy's
            6927 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33138

          2. Blind Mind RE: michelleats Apr 20, 2011 06:45 AM

            That's a nice lineup you've got there. I recommend the triggerfish jerky and chicken gizzards at Yakko San. Fun to snack on. Also any of the whole fried fish they might have fresh for the day. The other posters have covered the rest. Enjoy your stay in Miami/Miami Beach!

            6 Replies
            1. re: Blind Mind
              m
              michelleats RE: Blind Mind Apr 20, 2011 10:03 AM

              I'll look for those -- thank you, Blind Mice!

              1. re: michelleats
                Blind Mind RE: michelleats Apr 21, 2011 08:00 AM

                Mind...haha

                Cant believe I forgot to recommend my favorite - the takoyaki!!

                1. re: Blind Mind
                  m
                  michelleats RE: Blind Mind Apr 21, 2011 02:30 PM

                  Sigh. I did that last time, too. I'm sorry, I just think of you as being a blind mouse in my head. A mind is harder to picture. :)

                  I LOVE takoyaki. Very, very, very much. (You clearly have great taste. ;) I can't wait to try Yakko San's version.

                  1. re: michelleats
                    taiga RE: michelleats Apr 30, 2011 07:06 AM

                    Takoyaki: the funnel cake of Japan.

                    1. re: taiga
                      m
                      michelleats RE: taiga Apr 30, 2011 04:24 PM

                      But oh so much better, even than funnel cake. :)

                      1. re: michelleats
                        taiga RE: michelleats May 1, 2011 08:40 AM

                        I doubt they agree in America's heartland.

            2. s
              shishar RE: michelleats Apr 23, 2011 10:50 AM

              I definitely prefer Michy's over Michael's Genuine. Michy's is (sorry for being redundant) consistently consistent. The few dishes that are mainstays will always be prepared marvelously well. Michael's is very inconsistent, and the dishes are hit-or-miss. There seems to be a lack of flavor or seasoning in many of the dishes, and they oftentimes arrive at the table more simplistic than their menu descriptions. The desserts I've had there are unimpressive, often tacky, and sometimes disturbingly bizarre...not interesting, but bizarre. It makes me wonder where this woman learned pastry arts and why she's still at Michael's. I used to love his crispy pork belly with kimchee, until my last visit when it was subpar, and I realized it's just an expensive version of Haitian griot with pikliz (go up the street and you can get something comparable - maybe even better - for a 1/4 of the price)

              At Michy's, I recommend the truffled polenta with poached egg and bacon bits - kind of like a high-end Southern breakfast. The bread pudding is delicious, too. I always get the feeling that Michelle Bernstein serves the type of comforting, simple dishes that grandma would feed you....that is, if grandma was a gourmet chef. I've never been disappointed here. Even comparably average dishes are pretty stellar

              Joe's Stone Crabs has pretty decent fried chicken, and it's cheap, too.

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              Michy's
              6927 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33138

              Joe's Stone Crab
              11 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

              2 Replies
              1. re: shishar
                Frodnesor RE: shishar Apr 23, 2011 10:15 PM

                I like both Michael's Genuine and Michy's very much. I find myself going back to MGF&D more often. The menu tends to change, around the edges, anyway, more often, and there's more things I actively crave than at Michy's - but that is largely a matter of personal preference, not anything I would ever claim makes one restaurant "better" than the other.

                I might give you that Michy's is more consistent than MGF&D, though I think that was more true maybe 6-12 months ago than it is now at MGF&D. I've never experienced a lack of flavor or seasoning, though, nor have I ever been served anything that didn't match the menu description.

                I think you nail it in saying that Michy's "serves the type of comforting, simple dishes that grandma would feed you if grandma was a gourmet chef." At heart the menu is mostly somewhat conservative, "comfort food" type stuff that's executed at a high level. To me that's both its virtue and its downfall. There are exceptions (the foie and sweetbread preparations are always very interesting), but it's mostly true. Yet I've had some things there that have really blown me away, too.

                I don't remotely get your comparison of the MGF&D pork belly and kimchi dish to griot with pkliz, other than they both involve pork and spicy cabbage. You could easily say the same thing about Michy's $26 fried chicken, or $20 1/2 order of steak frites which is about 1/8 the size of what you'd get at an Argentine parrillada down the street. And it would be equally ridiculous.

                And yes, Joe's $5.95 1/2 fried chicken is excellent. And a quarter of the price of Michy's!

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                Michy's
                6927 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33138

                1. re: shishar
                  dmo305 RE: shishar May 10, 2011 07:30 PM

                  Shishar

                  With all due respect I have to seriously question anything you say from here on out- "unimpressive, often tacky, and sometimes disturbingly bizarre" desserts at MGFD?

                  Is that a joke?

                2. m
                  michelleats RE: michelleats Apr 24, 2011 11:44 AM

                  I love a healthy debate! Thanks, all, for the opinions! I think the only solution is to try both Michy's and Michael's Genuine. In the name of research, of course. :)

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                  Michy's
                  6927 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33138

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: michelleats
                    f
                    FoodDude2 RE: michelleats Apr 24, 2011 05:24 PM

                    For Yakko-San's, I always get the miso glazed sea bass or the hamachi kama if it is on the specials list. I also love the crispy bok choy and the tempura oysters.

                  2. m
                    michelleats RE: michelleats Apr 30, 2011 03:03 AM

                    Really enjoyed my meal at Naoe and actually thought it was a terrific bargain for the quality.

                    Photos accompanying the review, here: http://www.girleatscity.com/2011/04/n...

                    ----

                    In the most unlikely, lonely little strip mall in Sunny Isles, just north of Miami Beach, a modestly-sized, modestly-staffed and modestly-appointed restaurant called Naoe is serving immodestly good food. The tiny restaurant includes a six-person sushi counter and just a scattering of tables. Classical music recordings play quietly throughout dinner. It's the kind of place that inspires you to lower your voice, slow down and focus on what is really important: the meal.

                    At Naoe, all dinners are served omakase style. Diners first receive a bento box and after that, a "chef's sequence" of nigiri, which you can opt in or out of, by pushing your plate towards the chef or away from him. After the chef's progression, you can order even more by the piece, if you wish.

                    Chef Kevin Cory seems to personally prepare all the food (though he had a barely-seen assistant on the night we went, who came out to help plate and serve the bento boxes, and then clear, later): from rice to chawanmushi to tempura. Wendy Maharlika "manages", which includes acting as hostess, waitress and reservationist. It's a phenomenal amount of work for two (or even three) people and it truly seems to be a labor of love.

                    This was our bento box the night we went:

                    On the upper left, the chawanmushi (egg custard) with shiitake mushrooms and a type of meaty fish was gloriously tender and delicate. Shiitake mushrooms were fresh with a nice bite.

                    In the upper right quadrant, from 12 o'clock, there were two generous, tender slices of duck breast, seasoned simply to focus attention on the extreme freshness of the medium rare meat; a single, soft, mildly flavored ginko nut; delicious fried fish cake dusted with furikake; crisp, raw mountain burdock root topped with a beautiful, red moromi, a sticky, fermented, slightly natto-like soybean mash; crispy fried silverfish; and chewy whelk, snail-like in consistency, served in its own pretty shell.

                    In the bottom right quadrant, there was mildly flavored cobia sashimi whose buttery texture reminded us a bit of tuna; fresh kelp; a shiso leaf; fantastic, freshly grated wasabi; and lightly pickled baby carrots.

                    Finally, in the bottom left quadrant, there was a cake of lightly grilled or pan-fried sushi rice seasoned with soy sauce, fish sauce, mirin, dashi and tiny silver sardines (called shirasu, I think). This was deceptively simple and utterly delicious. The chewy rice was chock full of umami. I tried to leave some of it behind to save room for the nigiri course, but couldn't quite bring myself to do so. It was too good to leave behind.

                    After the (very filling) bento box, there's a "chef's sequence" of nigiri. In general, the neta we tried were world class: well cut and well chosen. Shari rice had a very good, chewy texture and was very lightly seasoned with almost no detectable sugar (to accommodate for warm weather, maybe) and also just the lightest touch of vinegar. Chef Cory adjusted the temperature of the shari according to the fish. Fatty cuts like salmon belly were served with warmer rice, which melted some of the fat and magnified the flavor of the fish. Gorgeous sea scallops were served with the warmest rice of all. Shari was a little bit more dense and served in a slightly higher ratio to the neta than what I've most enjoyed in the past -- Yasuda and Kanoyama both shape shari loosely -- but I think this may be a stylistic difference.

                    On the night we went, the first course was a fatty Scottish salmon belly, brushed with soy sauce or a soy-sauce based sauce. I don't usually like salmon as neta -- probably because I ate too much of the shoddy farm-raised stuff as a starving grad student -- but this was a good example of the genre. It was a very, very tender cut and the fat did, indeed, become nicely soft where it touched the warm rice.

                    The next course in the chef's sequence was poached Maine lobster, which my dining companion tried. I was being a bit difficult, unfortunately, and was holding out to make sure I had room for the Alaskan uni. Ms. Maharlika and Chef Cory were nice enough to sub in the Alaskan uni for me, while my dining companion had the lobster. The Alaskan uni was fantastic: buttery, sweet, flavorful and very fresh.

                    The next course was small poached octopus, very tender and pleasantly chewy, served with what I think was ponzu shoyu.

                    And after that, we each had a larger Kumamoto oyster with shiso and I think more ponzu shoyu, though I didn't really break down the individual components at the time; I was too busy slurping it down. Whatever the "mignonette" was, though, it was a good match.

                    Our final nigiri piece, before we threw in the towel, was live sea scallop, briefly boiled, shocked in cold water and served with what I think Chef Cory called orange soy sauce. It was a tad overdressed for my tastes, but only because the sweet scallop was so beautiful. It would've been wonderful without any sauce brushed on at all. (For the record, I think there was an option to have all the nigiri served without sauce brushed on and just soy sauce on the side.

                    )

                    For dessert, we had the fruit in "secret sauce" (which I think included dashi and vinegar!). The fruit was watermelon; very high quality, sweet and juicy organic berries; and a small, pretty star of kiwi fruit. It tasted surprisingly delicious with the slightly salty sauce.

                    I have heard some complaints about the length of the meal. My experience was that it was well paced. We did not stay for the entire chef's progression, since my dining companion was feeling very tired, but I personally liked that there was some time between the bento box and nigiri, to digest. When the first piece of nigiri came, our palates were once again alert. There was a pause between pieces of nigiri, too, but no longer than there would be at any other sushi bar (unless you're going somewhere that just wants to stuff food into you and kick you out as soon as possible). Also, if you are a the bar, there's always entertainment: Chef Cory is wonderful to see in action and both he and Maharlika are warm hosts.

                    Overall, this was an excellent meal for both food and service, one that would certainly hold its own in NYC.

                    -----
                    Naoe Japanese Restaurant
                    175 Sunny Isles Blvd, Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: michelleats
                      t
                      tpigeon RE: michelleats Apr 30, 2011 07:06 AM

                      Thanks for the review. I agree with your conclusion.

                      1. re: tpigeon
                        m
                        michelleats RE: tpigeon Apr 30, 2011 03:17 PM

                        Too bad they haven't done a reverse Sushi Samba / DB Bistro Moderne and opened up a northern branch, huh?

                      2. re: michelleats
                        Blind Mind RE: michelleats May 2, 2011 10:14 AM

                        Glad you enjoyed NAOE. The "secret" in that sauce is that there is fish sauce in with the rice wine vinegar ;)

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                        NAOE
                        175 Sunny Isles Boulevard, Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160

                        1. re: Blind Mind
                          m
                          michelleats RE: Blind Mind May 2, 2011 12:47 PM

                          I knew there was something fishy about it. ;) I was guessing dashi because I caught a hint of something smokey. Do you like the combination? I thought it was weirdly enjoyable.

                          1. re: michelleats
                            Blind Mind RE: michelleats May 3, 2011 08:18 AM

                            I love it

                      3. m
                        michelleats RE: michelleats Apr 30, 2011 04:07 PM

                        Accompanying photos, here: http://www.girleatscity.com/2011/04/i...

                        ----

                        Indomania is probably pretty well-discovered, by now, at least among the set that's serious about eating. This small, unassuming restaurant in Miami Beach is slightly off the beaten track in sceney South Beach, but most weekend nights, it's jam packed with patrons. Tables are set a bit too close together, making it impossible not to overhear (or even participate in) your neighbors' conversations. But on a midweek evening, it's a bit more low key.

                        Even before we'd ordered, our waiter brought by a plate of slightly warm emping melinjo, faintly bitter, faintly astringent, salty crackers made with melinjo seeds, served with a sweet, brown dip. We'd eaten these in Bali, where the crackers were often served on or with salads. The bitterness and astringency are oddly pleasant and very addictive, and the crackers went beautifully with our beers.

                        Indomania offers two rijsttafel options: the Sumatran rijsttafel and the Javan rijsttafel. The latter was slightly more abbreviated and came with babi kejap (stewed pork) rather than rendang padang (beef curried with coconut milk) and no sambal goreng udang (stirfried shrimp). Our waiter told us that the Sumatran rijsttafel was more "correct" -- though he couldn't specify why, exactly; there were more dishes, perhaps? -- so we went with that option.

                        Indonesian food varies a great deal from island to island. Just as in Chinese cuisine, the Shanghainese food tends to be sweet and mild, while Sichuan food tends to be spicy, in Indonesian cuisine, Javan food tends to be sweet, while Sumatran tends to be spicy. The Sumatran rijsttafel included a few spicy dishes, in addition to the sweet ones.

                        The rijsttafel involved a semi-elaborate ritual. First, a chafing plate was brought with two plates on top, placed there for warming. After a few moments, our waiter brought a huge tray, set it up next to the table, and served us. On our now-warmed plates, he placed (clockwise from 12 o'clock):

                        - A single krupuk udang / shrimp cracker. This was straightforward, well fried and well blotted, a bit denser and harder than the lighter, crispy Chinese and Thai renditions some may be more accustomed to.

                        - Sambal goreng udang / shrimps with peteh beans in coconut. The shrimp seemed reasonably fresh, though it was difficult to tell because coconut milk can cover up a great deal. The petah bean served with my portion looked like a cardamom pod on the plate and had an interesting texture similar to goji berries. The taste was very mild and difficult to detect in the presence of the other flavors.

                        - Sateh ayam / a skewer of grilled chicken with peanut sauce. This was easily one of the best bites of the evening, with a strong, smoky, charcoal grilled flavor and tender chicken. The sauce was a bit too sweet, but the fried onions on top added a lovely crunch.

                        - Telor besegnek / half of a hard-boiled egg in yellow curry. The sauce was slightly sweet, creamy with coconut milk, and flavored with cumin, coriander and just a hint of heat.

                        Our waiter arranged the remainder of the dishes on the chafing plate and the table. Clockwise from 12 o'clock, we had:

                        - Ayam opor / boneless chicken in mild coconut curry sauce. I think this sweetish sauce -- interestingly, sort of reminiscent of Indian korma or Thai yellow curry -- was the same as what was served with the egg. Chicken was tender and cut in flat, thin pieces.

                        - Smoor djawa / slow cooked beef in kecap sauce. This was a sweet soy sauce braise (Javan, I guess?) that included very, very tender meat. Actually, the meat was a great deal more tender than most renditions we had in Indonesia. There are similar sweet soy sauce braised dishes in Chinese and Filipino cuisines.

                        - Rendang padang / beef stew in thick, spiced coconut sauce. This (Sumatran?) stew was delicious and complexly flavored, but hardly made a dent on my now recalibrated spice-o-meter. It was one of my favorite dishes of the evening and I picked out notes of I think garlic, tamarind, ginger, cumin and coriander. I think this dish is also common in Malaysia and Singapore.

                        - Sambal goreng buncis / crispy, spiced green beans. The vegetables were stirfried to a crisp-tender stage, with coarsely chopped peanuts. The textural contrast of the beans was welcome after all the soft, braised meat dishes.

                        - Sayur lodeh / mixed vegetables in coconut broth. This was a straightforward preparation of crisp-tender carrots, green beans and zucchini, served with a bit of thin, coconut-milk-based, savory sauce and topped with a light sprinkling of fried onions. The vegetables didn't absorb much of the light flavors from the sauce, so I think they may have been cooked separately, in advance, and combined before serving.

                        Cold dishes like Gado gado / salad with string beans, cabbage, tofu and peanut sauce (below, right) were placed directly on the table. The tofu was freshly fried and brought back great memories of street vendors in Bali who sold a similar salad made with fried tofu, bean sprouts and peanut sauce, late at night, to workers going home for the day. Peanut sauce was fair. Salad was served with two small wedges of hard boiled egg, in addition to the listed ingredients.

                        The terong oseng / eggplant stew (left) offered a nice break from the meat. It included simply seasoned, slightly sweet eggplant that had been mostly cooked down to a very soft stage, but that still retained some structure and shape. I think the seasoning included a bit of ginger and soy sauce and the eggplant tasted as though it'd be pan fried in oil, before being cooked down.

                        And finally, there were the garnishes: sambal oelek / spicy sauce, which I discovered too late to have with the food, since it was on my dining companion's side of the table; atjar ketimoen / sweet and sour cucumber similar to quick pickles or Vietnamese do chua, but sweeter and less acidic than my rendition; and nasi putih / steamed white rice.

                        The dessert component of the rijsttafel was rudjak manis / Indonesian fruit salad, which included mango, apple, pineapple and orange, served with a brownish, sweetish sauce that included either brown sugar or possibly molasses. The flavor was hard to pin down, but it was interesting. A salty, sweet, crunchy garnish of serundeng / fried coconut and peanut, sprinkled over the fruit before eating, added great textural contrast and a pleasant touch of salt.

                        Overall, I liked, but did not love, this rijsttafel meal. It's probably the best Indonesian meal I've had in the U.S., and ingredients used were of good quality -- but the dishes could've been more varied and balanced in terms of preparations and ingredients. It would've been nice to have had more representation of grilled items and perhaps a few cooked in banana leaves, more variation in the vegetables and proteins used, and perhaps more acrid or spicy elements to counterbalance the sugar. Dishes seemed to be uniformly sweet across the board and after a while, it became a bit cloying. But Indomania deserves high praise for doing what it's doing. Indonesian food is woefully difficult to find in this country. This restaurant is doing its part to represent the cuisine at a fairly high level.

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                        Indomania
                        131 26th St, Miami Beach, FL 33140

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: michelleats
                          taiga RE: michelleats May 1, 2011 08:50 AM

                          Very impressive deconstruction.

                        2. m
                          michelleats RE: michelleats May 2, 2011 01:19 PM

                          Sorry I'm a bit slow at these reports. We didn't end up going to Michael's Genuine, since friends we were dining with wanted the vegetarian options at Sustain, instead. We did get to Michy's, which I'll eventually write up. Here's a review of Sustain. (Pics here: http://www.girleatscity.com/2011/05/s...

                          )

                          -------

                          Walking into Sustain, a four-month-old, eco-conscious newcomer to Midtown Miami, is a bit like walking onto the set of a Wagnerian opera. There are large, battle-ready (recycled aluminum) shields hanging from an exaggeratedly high ceiling, curved (sustainably grown) wooden bows slung from the walls, and an upside-down mangrove tree by the entrance, whose naked, inverted roots loom above the host. The decor has a distinctly theatrical and vaguely martial vibe. Even the heavy front door requires a struggle to open as a fortress gate might.

                          Happily, Alejandro ("Alex") Piñero's menu is rather more down-to-earth. The food is comparable in style to what you might find at Market Table in NYC, but with occasionally more avant garde plating. Most ingredients are sourced from within a 50 mile radius of Miami, according to the restaurant.

                          At a recent dinner with friends, we tried a range of dishes. The 50 Mile Salad (so named because it included only ingredients from within a 50 mile radius of Miami), contained Paradise Farms brassica (a general term that includes many types of cabbages), Swank Farms carrots, Borek Farms beets, Teena's Pride heirloom tomatoes, pickled onions and Hani's fromage blanc, according to the menu. The version we tried also included an unlisted, crispy white vegetable that I'm fairly sure was jicama. The vegetables were good and fresh. The young carrots were a tad hard, a sign of having been underwatered in life, but lightly pickled in a vinaigrette, I think, and overall a pleasure to eat. The tomato was ripe, juicy and delicious, despite the fact that it was tinged with green. I'm not sure I share Fred Bernstein of the New York Time's Magazine's enthusiasm, when he called this salad a "wonder" in a recent review; vegetables in my version were good, but not revelatory, unlike equally simple preparations at, say, JoLe in Calistoga, California. But this was a competent salad. The small dab of fromage blanc (the cottage cheese-looking white blob in the middle) was very good.

                          By contrast, a gazpacho with Teena's Pride heirloom tomato, cucumber, onion was surprisingly bland and undersalted. This was a smooth style of gazpacho, where vegetables were completely pureed into a creamy, cool, watery liquid. I can see how it would be very refreshing in the middle of Miami's notoriously humid, hot summer, but I would probably not personally order this soup, again.

                          For my main, I had the local yellow eye snapper with Borek Farms beets, Swank Farms turnips (actually radishes on the day we visited), fennel-vanilla puree. This was a well cooked and well seasoned cut of fairly fresh fish, with a nice, crispy skin. It'd been seared in a hot pan, which helped keep the fish moist. It paired interestingly with the fennel vanilla puree, a pretty greenish sauce that tasted strongly of vanilla. It's been trendy in many restaurants around the country, recently, to pair savory dishes with vanilla. I'm not certain I liked this combination, but it is thought provoking and it can bring out interesting notes in the food when it's done well. Here, I thought the vanilla was a bit overwhelming. Tender beets and crisp-tender radishes (long, French breakfast radishes sliced length-wise) were fresh and sweet.

                          One dining companion was very enamoured with his Four Arrows grass fed "Fork and Knife Burger" made with Benton's smoked bacon, Wisconsin cheddar, caramelized onion, brioche bun, fries. The bite of burger meat I tried was excellent: seasoned very simply, without much salt, and very flavorful. It's pretty self explanatory how good this meat was when eaten with crispy slices of smoked bacon, sharp cheddar and sweet caramelized onion.

                          For dessert, I had the intriguing Elixir Magnifique from Daniel Toral's erudite cocktail list. The Elixir included Moon Mountain vodka, St. Germain, Chartreuse, strawberry, and black pepper. One dining companion said it tasted like a salty, hard lemonade to him, which wasn't far off from the truth. The strawberry and black pepper were a clever combination, though, and added an interesting twist.

                          Service seemed a little bit impatient at times. Our smiley and otherwise nice waiter came to our table three or four times within a few minutes, while we were trying to decide on our food and drink orders, to ask whether we were ready, yet. And he came to our table so many times while we were still finishing our dessert and cocktails that we felt pressured to ask for the check and leave. (There were, by this time, many empty tables in the restaurant, so it wasn't that he needed to turn the table. It also wasn't close to closing time.) Other this this, though, we found the service to be competent. Food came quickly, water glasses were filled (with the restaurant's "house-filtered" water) and meats were cooked exactly to order. The host was very sweet, helpful and open to questions.

                          Sustain is another solid option in Midtown Miami and a welcome addition to what has become something of a restaurant row (alongside NYC import, Mercadito, and Sugarcane). Judging by the lavish critical praise Sustain has already received, I'm sure it'll be around for a long time.

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                          Michy's
                          6927 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33138

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