This week I got to visit a new “Import” from New York City (Catch), was offered some Tonkotsu and tasted the sweet side of Lucali.
I’m gravely behind on my writing and all thanks to the Sony Open tennis tournament. I’m an avid tennis player and fan, and the ATP 1000 represents two of the most important weeks of the year for me. I went almost every day and saw more tennis than I could ever imagine. Of course, my writing has taken a toll, but I did manage to eat a new thing or two, which I will write about during this week in two parts. As a side note I can tell you there is absolutely nothing to write about when it comes to food from the Sony Open, since everything I ate (had to) was atrocious. What a shame that such a prestigious event has such low culinary standards. No wonder Roger decided not to come!
One of the new places I managed to get to during these two tennis intensive weeks was Catch, located just outside the James Royal Palm Hotel on Collins Avenue. It’s an “Import” from New York City’s meatpacking district, and the brainchild of Top Chef Hung Huynh. It is focused exclusively on seafood, and opens only for dinner. I tried a few of their warm appetizers and was pleasantly surprised with everything I tasted, to the point where I don’t understand why the local food bloggers and critics aren’s raving more about this place. The kitchen was humming and is open towards the upstairs room, and there is also a downstairs dining area.
One of the things I tasted, which to me is the best in town until anyone proves me differently, was the lobster roll. The actual roll was buttery and slightly toasted, and the lobster salad was chunky, chilled at the precise temperature. It tasted amazing, all three bites! (it is quite small). The Po Boy yielded a similar reaction, but I would prefer the lobster roll any day. I also tried some scallop dumplings which came bedded on a delicious broth which were quite tasty. Some mahi mahi tacos, although probably tired from replication across town, were also very nice. I will gladly go back to try the other bigger elements of the menu, probably very soon, and can tell you with confidence that Florida Cookery has some serious competition on it’s front porch. Think about giving it a try next time you go there.
When I started this TWIF (This Week In Food) series months ago, I wanted to dedicate it to either new restaurants I get to try, or great new things at places I have already been to. This week I also got the chance to go back to two of my current favorites in town, Momi Ramen and Lucali, of which I have already written about but where I recently had the pleasure to try some great new things.
At Momi Ramen, the tiny Ramen Soup temple in Brickell, I have managed to try a different flavor of protein ramen every time I have gone back. Brisket, pork belly, hog cheek, all in my repertoire. But recently, I was offered something that quite literally blew my socks off. I was about to finish my bowl recently, when a bandana sporting giant character emerged from the kitchen to ask me what I thought of my meal. After looking at my empty bowl and happy face, he turned around and quickly went back to the kitchen. Minuted later he came back, with a small bowl between his hands. He carefully placed it in front of me, looked at me and simply said the word “Try”. I asked him what it was, and he repeated. “Try”. Of course I did, and a single spoonful turned by conception of what a simple stock can be upside down. It was incredibly rich, probably the richest soup I have ever tried. It had only some scallions scattered on top, and it quite possibly required nothing else.
I had to dwell deeper into the mystery of such a bowl, so I stuck my head into the kitchen to find out. It turns out it is Tonkotsu, a broth made with bone marrow. It’s “hidden” on the menu so I guess can be ordered in the future and potentially with all the other regular components of the traditional ramen soup. Looking forward to that.
The other current favorite I have been going back to frequently is Lucali. If there is little to add to such an amazing Margherita pizza, a twist I recently tried was adding portobellos to the calzone. It works. The new item I felt compelled about writing about though is the newly introduced Nutella, Ricotta and Mint pizza. You can’t go wrong with that combination, but I do believe it can be screwed up. This is were Lucali excels, the dough and crust are absolutely perfect for this experiment, and the ricotta and mint proportions are measured precisely to make every bite perfect. Powdered sugar around it completes it, and now there is another “sweet” reason to keep going back to the best pizza in town.
Soon I will continue playing catch up with my writing; I have Cypress room, the new MyCeviche and Bulla to tell you about.