8. September 2009 17:21
Going out to eat in South Beach for less than the price of a used car is a privilege seldom afforded to those lodging around Collins and Ocean. This is why going to Tequila Chica’s for the farewell lunch was a welcome reprieve. Guacamole for $3 dollars, nachos with the fake movie cheese that we all say we hate but actually crave for $8 and a wonderful beef fajita wrap for $10. One can hardly eat cheaper at Mexican McDonald’s, I mean Chipotle. The only question I have is what do you use to heat your wraps? White Phosphorus? It was so hot that even after a few minutes of waiting, touching it would burn right through your nerve endings and you wouldn’t know what happened until you smelled your burning skin.
With such an intro, one may mistake this for a tale of compliment. Riiight. One of the newest tricks in SoBe is to charge customers for refills of soda, iced tea, coffee, lemonade and other beverages that have traditionally been bottomless. Having fallen victim to this on at least 3 occasions this weekend I began to notice the behavioral pattern that will predict the charge. The glass of soda, tea, etc., will hit bottom and stay there. In the quest of conflict avoidance, the servers will not refill the drink unless nagged. At no time is the extra charge mentioned. At Tequila Chica’s I enjoyed 12 ounces of Coke for 6 dollars. Making the same mistake at the Delano got me 18 ounces of tea for 18 dollars.
I love South Beach.
4. September 2009 19:12
In years past, never would we have trekked 2 whole miles north of the Delano to some gigantic resort for Chinese food but into the breach of fine-dining Chinese restaurants comes Hakkasan at the Fontainebleau resort, South Beach. If fine-dining Chinese confuses you into contradiction, think more Shanghai Terrace at the Peninsula than the de-ree-verry place with extra MSG.
As we de-cabbed at one of The Fontainebleau’s 4 entrances, we began a lengthy and winding walk to the restaurant that appeared to be so lengthy and winding for no purpose other than to take diners on a tour of the resort. Neat trick. The first time. Next time I’m demanding a golf cart.
The menu was very pretty but vast and confusing. Luckily, Hakkasan, like many other restaurants in Miami, were part of the Miami Spice network thus making selections very easy. And cheap. Relatively. At a place where a noodle dish can cost $40 dollars, 4 healthy appetizer portions of popular items for $35 is a treat. Unluckily for us and luckily for the restaurant, it was a Friday and Fridays mean drinking time. So although our food tab (for 3 people) was around $90, 11 drinks @ $14/drink made all the difference.
I don’t know what to tell you about fine-dining Chinese. I wasn’t convinced at Shanghai Terrace and I’m not convinced here. The only place that exceeded my expectations was Mr. Chow in Beverly Hills but that was not an experience for the squeamish. Does anything justify a $40 plate of noodles? I’m not sure. I bet people asked if anything justified a $50 steak some years back. Clearly the answer was yes. But for now, all hail the Miami Spice tasting concept and may every other city start its own.
3. September 2009 18:42
South Beach is not known for its affordability. Apparently, someone noticed and invented the greatest thing since sliced fish on rice: The Miami Spice Menu. For 35 dollars, restaurants offer sample portions of their popular menu items and in return benefit from a combined marketing budget promoting the Miami Spice program. Win/win. At Bond Street, we had edamame, miso, a roll and a sashimi platter for the paltry sum and then added on some rolls we wanted. A lot of rolls. Along with 2 bottles of house sake our bill was still barely scratching $100.
The sushi itself was better than average but not by much. Sashimi is sashimi and unless management is so cheap that they make the chefs use the sinewy tail portions of the tuna, everyone in America pretty much has the same supplier: the Tsukiji market in Tokyo. But I do like to see how creative the rolls are. And they were good. Can’t complain. But if the bill were 2x I’d complain a lot believe you me.