This week I enjoyed an excellent tasting menu courtesy of Bourbon Steak’s 5th anniversary and I managed to eat plenty of the “pop-up” offerings that were part of Art Basel.
My week started off with a non Basel event though, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Brickell. Of course, I took the opportunity to eat at Edge Steak (Pictures Here), one of the rare food gems in Brickell. The service and food quaility at Edge was excellent, and I can safely say if I ever end up working in Brickell this would be my local. I’m not surprised fellow bloggers love this place so much. My Delmonico steak was cooked to perfection and was juicy and tender. The sides were perfectly seasoned and combined, and the pork belly that started me off was nicely paired with cabbage and sprouts and a lovely mango mustard.
Also non Basel but probably worth the same level of atttention was the 5th anniversary dinner at Bourbon Steak in Aventura (Pictures Here). 7 courses, all Michael Mina “signatures” were brought to us in perfect order and building up to what was one of the best beef dishes I have had recently. Chef Mina graced the room and was kind enough to introduce himself. Great guy! I haven’t had the pleasure of eating at any of his other flagship restaurants but clearly at the top of my to do when in San Francisco.
Of course we were presented to kick things off with the signature trio of french fries. I will say nothing else about these fries other than you need to come try these for yourself. The first course was an American caviar parfait which had layers of finely chopped egg, cream, salmon and toast. Next was a delicious tuna tartare with pine nuts and finely julienned herbs. What followed was impressive, not just for flavor but for presentation, a lobster and vegetables pot pie that came in a small copper pot with a crusty top. You broke inside and found large chunks of creamy lobster and vegetables, truly delicious. Next to last came the miso glazed sea bass, always a great dish to have but this one came inside an aromatic broth which made it much more enjoyable. Finally, the beef course. Here I couldn’t help notice the similarity with the beef course I had at Guy Savoy in Paris last month. Both had the grilled beef piece to the left and the braised ribs section to the right, with a combination of vegetables and sauce. I can tell you the Mina dish beat the Savoy dish, mostly given the added boost to the grilled meat from the foie gras puddle that was underneath it, but also given the intensity in flavor of the braised ribs. If this dish was on the regular menu, I would order it every time. Dessert was a beautiful molten chocolate cake that oozed chocolate sauce upon breaking in, and you can never go wrong with that. An amazing meal.
On to Basel. Basel must be by far the most important week in Miami’s calendar, a week where it seems to become as fashionable as Milan, as star struck as Los Angeles and as art crazed as New York.
The food catches and matches up nicely. There seem to be more restaurant openings prior to Basel than to the Wine and Food Festival itself, making it virtually impossible to keep up. Florida Cookery, MC Kitchen, Hoxton, Oak Tavern, Tosca, Cooper Avenue, South Street, plus many others opened their doors recently in preparation to the thousands of artsy visitors.
This year a new twist has made things more interesting on the food front. A couple of well established local restaurant groups have set shop or “popped up” inside the art exhibits, a welcome initiative which should help these groups get additional exposure to the thousands of visitors.
Overall, it was a really difficult week for locals and visitors not to eat well.
During Basel weekend I stuck mainly to eating at the pop-ups, and of the many, I managed to visit three: the “mybluedeli” at the Native Miami event, the phuc yea by The Federal group inside Scope and the Michael’s Genuine Cafe inside Design Miami.
MyBlueDeli (Pictures Here) is the name I have been giving the brilliant combination of My Ceviche, Blue Collar and Josh’s Deli that the Legal Art folks managed to pull off for their Native Miami event. My Ceviche had cup sized shrimp classic ceviches, Danny went to great lengths to create mini versions of his signature Corben sandwich, and Josh brought some gorgeous dates filled with goat’s cheese and wrapped in his exclusive house cured pastrami plus his tuna/chicken salads. What more can I say? Kudos to Power Rankings for being the mastermind behind getting this trio together.
On Saturday I hit Midtown and the Scope tent, where the Federal Group had popped up (Pictures Here). I was really looking forward to Phuc Yea since I never got to try it during its regular existence. I had the Banh Mi, a great pork sandwich on baguette, which impressed me for the freshness of the sauce, probably from mint. The pork egg roll was also delicious.
During my art day in midtown I also paid a visit to Sakaya kitchen (Pictures Here), where I hadn’t been in a while and where I had an incredible roast duck and herb sandwich. I’m glad Richard is growing his empire and happy to see them Sakayas opening up everywhere. The kimchi egg roll was also delicious and the coconut presence in the coconut rice is worth a lesson to many Asian places in town that also offer coconut rice yet it never tastes like coconut? His brussel sprouts are the kind of thing I really knew how to make. What might be the secret to such flavor and crispyness?
During my midtown crawl I also bumped into Andrew Carmellini ( Locanda Verde and The Dutch) and his wife. Andrew seems to be the “import” chef that has been enjoying the city the most, as evidenced by his passion for local eats and for all this art during Basel week. We had met at his Locanda Verde pop up at Harry’s pizzeria, and we talked about Paris restaurants, managing the Basel chaos, his upcoming french restaurant Lafayette which will open in February 2013 and Guy Savoy’s offspring! The 305 is lucky to have him.
Next day I went to Miami Beach and I visited the MGFD cafe inside Design Miami (Pictures Here). I guess by now we can all safely say that anything from Michael’s group will be done with the greatest attention to quality and good taste, and this cafe was no exception. It was visually gorgeous to start with, beatifully representing the brand with large chalkboard ingredients and menus illuminated by some strategically well placed lightning.
The food was really good. The salads were plated beautifully and dressed perfectly. I had the ultimate capresse panini lightly toasted which was gooey and crunchy with meaty heirlooms. A rock shrimp vegetable roll, a surprising Asian twist in the MGFD repertoire was beatifully crafted and packed some serious sweet n sour punch. I rounded things off with a gorgeous apple cake & salted caramel sauce. Definitely worth the visit to the exhibition, since everything else was pretty much unaffordable diner tables and weird lamps.
That’s it! Write to you next week