Let’s call Miami Spice what it is: an unconquerable beast of a countywide feast.
It’s impossible, say, for an adventurous epicure to take part in all 141 restaurants (and growing) offered by the summerlong promotion running Aug. 1-Sept. 30, even if they visited two eateries every day.
So Miami Spice eaters will have to settle for their favorite deals, which abound – if you know where to look. Miami Spice will dish three-course prix-fixe menus at $28 for lunch and brunch (up from $25 last year) and $42 for dinner (up from $39 last year), which doesn’t include tax, tip and libations. The price hike, organizer Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau explains on its website, is “a result of direct feedback from restaurateurs… to help offset rising costs of ingredients and operations” since the pandemic.
Don’t forget to call ahead for reservations. Many restaurants absorb a loss drawing offseason traffic with Miami Spice menus, so most offer the deal for dine-in only. There should be little surprise that most eateries will refuse to honor meals on Fridays and Saturdays, and expect upcharges for premium supplements like filet mignon.
Broward and Palm Beach already have summer promotions to call their own, but Miami-Dade wields far more world-class chefs and multimillion-dollar dining rooms. Picture Jose Andres’ Art Deco dreamscape at South Beach’s The Bazaar, or the warm, subtropical splendor of Marcus Samuelsson’s Southern stopover Red Rooster Overtown.
Red Rooster is one of many newcomers joining the Miami Spice 2021 fray, including David Lee’s Asian-focused vegan hotspot Planta Queen, Cantonese restaurant Hakkasan inside the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, and David Grutman and Pharrell’s Mediterranean spot Strawberry Moon inside Miami Beach’s Goodtime Hotel. Note: Curiously absent from the lineup this year are all of Michael Beltran’s restaurants (Ariete, Nave, Taurus Whiskey Bar), along with chef Jeremy Ford’s stellar Miami Beach haunt Stubborn Seed.
Here are five picks for Miami Spice 2021.
Reunion Ktchn Bar
18167 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-931-7401, ReunionKB.com
A casual bistro with a mishmash of global cuisine and crafted cocktails, Reunion is one of those newcomers worth taking any family members who simply can’t decide. Start the $42 Sunday-Thursday dinner menu with miso-glazed Japanese yams with feta and mint, followed by choice of tagliatele with basil pesto and shrimp or French wild mussels in creamy white sauce. Finish with tropical tiramisu made with passionfruit, mascarpone and rum-drenched ladyfingers. Reservations are required, and the deal is available for lunch and brunch.
6730 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-756-0366, BlueCollar.com
Danny Serfer’s comfort-food restaurant offers a terrific mix-and-match deal, charging a flat Miami Spice fee for any appetizer, entree or dessert on Blue Collar’s lunch (Monday-Friday only) or dinner (daily) menu. This can result in a sharp discount for adventurous diners who order, say Blue Collar’s brisket- and veal shoulder-stuffed Big Ragout Sandwich ($19) or, better still, its filet mignon ($28). Pair either with an appetizer (say, $11 Cuban sandwich spring rolls) and dessert ($9 butterscotch Heath bar bread pudding), and the value far exceeds the $42 price tag.
The Bazaar by José Andrés
1701 Collins Ave., Miami Beach (inside SLS Hotel South Beach); 305-455-2999, Sbe.com
At this global tapas restaurant one could unironically describe as “whimsical,” one of the hottest tables in town highlights José Andrés’ flair for molecular gastronomy (now trendy again) and designer Phillipe Starck’s luxe Art Deco dining room. On its $42 Sunday-Thursday dinner menu, start with bao con lechon (pork belly inside a Chinese bao bun) or kueh pai ti, a Singapore street food with shrimp, peanuts and chili sauce. For entrees, pick the slow-cooked chicken thigh in black garlic, or splurge on the Iberico ham mashed potatoes and Catalan-style bread for $30 more. Finish with Andres’ Key lime pie or flan, the latter crafted with Catalan cream foam and passionfruit. Reservations are required.
1665 Alton Road, Miami Beach; 305-690-0743, Chotto-Matte.com
As a Lincoln Road restaurant and laughably expensive to boot, don’t bother with this Peruvian-Nikkei eatery unless the Miami Spice deal is offered. On its Sunday-Thursday dinner menu, choose between lychee ceviche or barbecue chicken karaage in seasoned buttermilk marinade for starter. Next, order Chotto’s slow-cooked asado de tira in a puddle of teriyaki jus and a side of purple potato puree. Finish with Strawberry Garden, a semi-frozen wild strawberry granita infused with sweet crema and mixed herbs. Reservations are required.
Red Rooster Overtown
920 NW Second Ave., Miami; 305-640-9880; RedRoosterOvertown.com
A sequel to Marcus Samuelsson’s Harlem flagship, Red Rooster is the celebrated chef’s (winner of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” and Food Network’s “Chopped All-Stars”) homage to soul food and the Latin and Caribbean flavors of the Overtown neighborhood. Start his generously portioned Sunday-Thursday dinner menu with an amuse bouche of chicharron deviled eggs, followed by an appetizer of chicken-fried green tomatoes in lemon pepper jelly topped with trout roe. Next, unhinge your jaw for the Fried Yard Bird, his hot-honey fried chicken, plated with side of cookout pigeon peas. Finish with Viking of the Keys, a Key lime curd tart with white chocolate fennel crémeux, almond graham crumble and strawberries. Reservations are required.