In the wake of Irma, where ruble dresses the streets and electricity serves as currency, Miami is gallantly finding its way back to normalcy; and we have never been hungrier.
As hurricane snacks dwindle and stale, locals are in search of a stiff drink, good meal and strong AC. Thankfully, Miami Spice offers just that.
Miami Spice is the coveted sampler platter of South Florida’s restaurant year. Every August and September, hundreds of top-ranked eateries slash their prices and foodies flock to their tables like it’s Black Friday. Prix-fixe menus crafted by world-recognized chefs— in other words, a tableau of signature dishes that will cure your Irma blues.
Being the new kid on the block is never easy, and for these Miami Spice newcomers Irma has definitely served as the proverbial bully, cutting their premiere short. Not to fret, Miami Spice has been extended till the end of October, plenty of time to welcome these newbies to your Miami Spice round-up.
Please note that some menu offerings may have changed subject to the storm.
This place offers much more than just tacos. Chef Santiago Gomez offers a mercado or “station” dining style, which employs preciseness and expertise for every dish. To start choose the octopus ceviche, topped with pico de gallo or the mini guacamole for the less adventurous. For your entree, I highly recommend the lobster tacos, butter poached and topped with black beans and rich chipotle sauce. The special rib eye tacos are also notable. They are crested with spicy chorizo, crispy chicharron and salsa. The fattiness of the chorizo and crunch of the chicharron are a delightful union for the senses. Wrap-up your evening with the creamy, cinnamon-rich arroz con leche, this rice pudding is the perfect remedy to soothe all that self-inflicted pain from Tacology’s many hot sauces.
This place offers a unique marriage of Vietnamese and Cajun spices; gristle-rich flavors juxtaposed to Vietnamese crispness. Although Phuc Yea is a newcomer to Miami Spice, owners Cesar Zapata and Aniece Meinhold are veteran Spice purveyors with their former eatery The Federal. Phuc Yea’s premiere offering includes a thorough collection of appetizers like country-fried oysters, jelly fish crudo and crispy imperial roll. The menu continues to impress with Cola confit duck, lemongrass chicken, peppercorn churrasco and vegetable curry. The fun continues with your choice of fried rice, chilled spicy beef noodles or mangoes and cukes. Phuc Yea’s hearty selections will leave you, well… saying Phuc Yea!
El Portal’s hidden gem. The off-beat kitchen that houses a clean menu of locally sourced produce and sustainable proteins kicks off the season with an underground, off-spice menu. Pinch’s prix-fixe menu includes their “K-town Guac”, a creamy guacamole blended with kimchi and topped with bulgogi. Options for entrees include their signature Fideua, an aromatic pasta permeated with cockles and fish, a hearty and rustic dish perfect for sharing. Although the scallops are not included in their prix-fixe offering they are worth sharing; tender morsels blanketed with fragrant beef sauce beneath cauliflower puree. Chefs John Gallo and Rene Reyes’ food truly displays the farm-rich, free-spirit that Pinch embodies, and best of all, their natural wines won’t give you a hangover. Cheers to that!
Gili’s Beach Club
Lastly, this restaurant is for the hands-on diner who doesn’t mind doing some of the work. The restaurant offers a lava stone experience where entrees are delivered on hot stones allowing patrons to cook their dishes to their likeness. Offerings include skirt steak, organic chicken and jumbo shrimp, accompanied by paella style rice, steak fries or chorizo potato salad, along with an assortment of sauces. Conclude your unique evening with house-made key lime pie or a sinful snickers cake. This beachside eatery is the perfect escape post Irma.
Thank you to all the local restaurants offering post-Irma deals and refuge for Miamians. We will rebuild one bite at a time!