|So Long, Red Light -- Hello Everyone Else!|
|Written by Pamela Robin Brandt - BT Contributor|
Food news we know you can use
Feelings of sudden loss, irritability, depression… Psychologists predicted all these maladies might torment people affected by “superstorm” Sandy. Similar symptoms were certainly displayed in the aftermath of last month’s major disaster in the food world: The announcement of the bankruptcy of Hostess Brands -- and possible doom for all its iconic snacks.
Locally this means that fans of deep-fried Twinkies had better run, not walk, to Burger & Beer Joint (900 S. Miami Ave.), or be prepared to console yourselves with their deep-fried Oreos.
Another major loss occurred last month for those who eat out in BT territory. But a humongous number of restaurant openings provides solace.
Red Light Little River (7700 Biscayne Blvd.). What was to be a temporary closing of this neighborhood-transforming eatery at Motel Blu (formerly a hooker hangout), to allow chef-owner Kris Wessel to concentrate on opening a new South Beach restaurant, turned permanent when the owners of the space, which changed hands during Wessel’s originally affordable five-year lease, refused to renew. Fortunately the similarly regional, and much-expanded, menu at Wessel’s new Florida Cookery (1545 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 786-276-0333) features all Red Light’s greatest hits, including the BBQ shrimp.
Pride & Joy BBQ (2800 N. Miami Ave., 305-456-9548) The outdoor beer garden is the most relaxing place to eat at this instantly popular joint from three-time Memphis BBQ World Championship winner Myron Mixon. From the full range of ’cue, I’d skip the smoked wings (which are mostly deep-fried) for perfect St. Louis-style ribs -- tender without being falling-off-the-bone overcooked, as well as bigger and enjoyably fattier than baby backs.
MC Kitchen (4141 NE 2nd Ave., 305-456-9948). In the former Fratelli Lyon space, modern Italian inventions from chef Dena Marino. Expect local ingredients utilized in unexpected ways (stone crab with faro, fennel salad, and lemon-lime vinaigrette instead of mustard sauce). And a dramatic stone oven is used for beyond-pizza items like “Pia-Denas,” a play on Italian piadinas: flatbreads folded, like soft tacos, around varied salads.
Oak Tavern (35 NE 40th St., 786-391-1818). From chef/restaurateur David Bracha of River Oyster Bar, this stylish tavern (which has a large oak tree on the outdoor dining patio, and lamps that look like oaks inside) does offer oysters and other raw-bar items. But most of the menu is modeled after Michael’s Genuine down the block, with prepared Snacks, Small Plates, Large Plates, etc. Highlight: artisanal charcuterie, much of it housemade.
OTC (1250 S. Miami Ave., 305-374-4612). OTC is a civilized gastropub with over-the-counter service that encourages frequent visits. See the Dining Guide (next page), “New This Month” for more.
Bar Louie (3201 N. Miami Ave. #106, 786-879-8260). Cheese/bacon-loaded tater tots; Bavarian pretzel sticks with cinnamon butter, cheese, and honey mustard; burgers like the Fried Louie (bacon, cheddar, and fried egg), triple-deckable with three times the meat for $6 more; s’mores martinis… This branch of a growing chain serves such over-the-top stoner food and drink every day till 2:00 a.m.
Toro Toro (100 Chopin Plaza, 305-372-4710). Chef/restaurant empire-builder Richard Sandoval’s first Toro Toro is in the upscale emirate of Dubai, so it’s not unexpected that this #2, in downtown’s InterContinental Hotel, is ideal for power meals -- either steakhouse stuff (including a mini “rodizio experience”), or refined Latin fusion small plates.
Porketta (43 NE 3rd Ave., 305-372-0034). To paraphrase food critic Homer Simpson: “Porchetta… Mmmmmmm.” [Add drooling.] See the Dining Guide’s “New Additions” for more.
Reggae Tacos (93 SE 2nd St., 786-425-9558). Think of it as Mexican-Jamaican fusion street/beach food: Taco or burrito shells encase jerk pork, curried goat, fish with spicy escovitch veggies, and other island dishes that are normally plated entrées, transforming them into portable packages. Snacks like “festival” (cornmeal mini-doughnuts), too.
MPP Brickell (14 SW 7th St., 305-400-4610). In the space vacated by elegant Mediterranean eatery Andu, MPP is an elegant Peruvian eatery -- an outpost of one of Lima’s most popular restaurants. The menu features both upscaled versions of classic dishes (lomo saltado with filet mignon) and fun fusion fare like causa maki rolls.
Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar (801 Silks Run Rd., Hallandale Beach, 954-455-0700). In the Village at Gulfstream Park, this new branch of a small chain serves just what South Florida has been missing: Pan Latin food from Cleveland! Ropa vieja with aji pepper aioli, “Cezar” salad, more.
Volume 11, Issue 10, December 2013
Some recommended stops on the mad dash through Miami’s Art Week
Sales, special events, and more from the people who make Biscayne Times possible