Last week, Amy and I took a trip to Miami. It was really fun, although I was a bit disappointed by the cuisine down there. Our first night there, we wanted to try some Carribean food. I asked the concierge at our hotel, where the best place to go was. It was our anniversary, and price was no consideration. The concierge said that we should go to Yuca (we have a Yuca here in DC, but I don't think they are affiliated in any way). Listening to the concierge turned out to be a big mistake. Yuca, was OK, but in the end, we had a bill for close to $200 for one of the most mediocre meals we have ever had. I mean, when you go to a Nuevo Latino restaurant in Miami, and you find yourself wishing you were at Ceiba back in DC, it is not a good sign. Props to Christopher Clime for kicking some serious Miami ass. Now maybe our concierge just sucked and had no clue what constituted quality food, but after asking around to other people later in our trip, just about everyone mentioned Yuca. Oh well. I'm not even going to bother posting pictures because it is not worth the effort.
After our experience at Yuca, we decided to not ask the concierge where to go anymore and venture out on our own. We were staying at a little boutique hotel on 12th St and Ocean Dr. called Hotel Ocean. The second night we just started walking down Ocean Dr. Amy said one thing to me which indicated where we would eat, "I'm on vacation...And I want lobster!" Walking down Ocean Drive, just about everyone had lobster. This was our first time in Miami, and never before had we witnessed the show. Just about every restaurant had a host (or hostess...actually, most of the time it was a hostess with a low cut shirt and hotpants) that would try to sell you on their place and get you to come in. Honestly, I don't know why restaurants in DC don't do this in high traffic areas. I mean, if I owned a restaurant on M St., I would have my host out there showing people the menu and trying to get more people to come in. Anyway, we ended up going to this one restaurant called Fox Cafe. It actually took us a while to decide where we wanted to go and ended up walking past it two or three times, but the host was the main reason we came back. I ended up ordering a veal chop that was a little over done (I asked for it medium rare and it was medium well) and Amy, of course, got the Lobster (which was very good I have to say). Overall, the meal ended up costing us a little over $120. Quite a bargain compared to our other meals when you consider we had a bottle of champaigne and both ordered appetizers as well.
After we were done there, we went to a nightclub called Mango's...I forget what it was called exactly, but basically it is a tourist trap. I think Amy referred to it best when she called it a Hooteritas. It was pretty fun, cheesy, and we got totally loaded. They had dancing girls on the bar too (a lot like Coyote Ugly). I know, I know. I'm such a tourist.
The third night we were in Miami Beach, we decided to go to Emeril's. I had completely given up on finding decent local eatery. So we gave in and went to the most overrated place we could think of. To our surprise, we ended up having a wonderful night. No, Emeril was not there, but there was a chef there that kind of looked like him. The whole dinner was very typical of what you would expect from Emeril. A lot of dishes that are overseasoned and contain too many different ingredients to make them out. However, we really did enjoy all the food we had there.
For wine we decided to be a bit extravagant. The sommelier recommended a wine that was way out of our usual price range. We were ordering both fish and beef and I wanted a pinot noir. He suggested a wine from the Flowers Vineyard in Sonoma priced at $85. When I agreed, Amy's mouth hit the table and she started to shake. "Are you kidding me?!", she said. I think it was the most expensive bottle of wine we have ever ordered. We didn't regret it one bit though. You get what you pay for. We liked it so much that we bought a bottle of it at Calvert Woodley on Connecticut when we got home.
For appetizers, I had a crab cake (that was in no way as good as those of Jerry's Seafood, but also did not cost $30 a piece) and Amy had some spicy tuna wraps. I wished I had ordered them myself. The tuna was extremely fresh and buttery - it melted in your mouth. For entrees I had a special bacon wrapped grouper dish and Amy had the beef tenderloin. We were both pretty impressed with out dishes although mine was so overpowering with flavor that I could not finish it. Seriously, Emeril, I expect to be able to taste my grouper and not just heavy cream, bacon and mushrooms. We skipped dessert because we were so full, plus we had some wine left over so we just sat there a while and sipped it. At the end of it all, the bill was close to $230, which looking back was probably not quite worth it. We DID have a great time there though, and the service was absolutely perfect. Still, there are MUCH better restaurants that I would rather eat at in DC, but for Miami...it'll do.