[Updated: Table 8 closed]
D and I celebrated our anniversary at Table 8 on Friday. It was our first visit to the Ocean Drive restaurant that many have raved about. I had read repeated complaints about long waits to be seated, but we must have lucked out for we were seated immediately upon arrival five minutes before our 9 p.m. reservation.
The menu at Table 8 is two pages, one of appetizers and one of entrees. Simple, like a lot of the dishes featured on it. The wine list is long and the prices range anywhere from the high 30s to the 200s. It was hard to read the list with the restaurant’s dim lighting but we opted to order by the glass of which they have a decent selection.
Crispy, thin bread slices were brought to the table with tapenade. Our waitress told us the specials, stone crab claws and the salt-crusted porterhouse which by the end of our meal we concluded is a regular off-the-menu offering. The gay couple sitting next to us raved about it later after the meal, calling it the best steak on South Beach. I’d have to try it, but for $100 I would hope it to be, even if it feeds two.
I decided to go with the dishes recommended by chef Govind Armstrong when I interviewed him a few weeks ago: the burrata with heirloom tomatoes, arugula and croutons, and the local snapper which is now served on a spicy lobster bisque with shrimp. D ordered the hand cut pasta with braised lamb shank and the Kobe-style flatiron. The burrata, which Armstrong flies in from California, was fresh and buttery, and it was satisfying like that, alone with a green salad. The lamb in D’s appetizer was very tender. Our waitress explained it is marinated for four days prior to cooking.
I would have probably enjoyed my snapper more without the sauce, which was OK, and I wish the snapper’s skin would’ve been crispier. I cared more for the sauce on D’s steak, which if I remember correctly was a red wine reduction; it complemented the meat and the cremini mushrooms with it nicely.
To end our meal, we had a trio of fruit sorbets served with miniature cookies and D ordered a dessert wine. Our waitress brought him a half-glass, all they had left, apologized and said it was on the house. It’s too bad because we both loved the citrusy, refreshing taste of the wine, a Michele Chiarlo Nivole Moscato d’Asti. At around dessert time, Armstrong was making rounds to every table and around the bar chatting with patrons and asking how everything was. A nice touch, I thought. D mentioned he was sorry they were out of the dessert wine to which Armstrong responded, “it’s very popular.”
We followed dinner, or shall I say, I followed dinner with a cocktail from their bar, a Basil 8. The mix of vodka, crushed white grapes, simple syrup, ginger ale and basil was refreshing, not too sweet, very basily and sneakily potent — at least for me. By the time we left, the lounge was bustling while the restaurant was dying out. Overall, I walked away with a good first impression. Next time, I may just hit their lounge for another Basil 8.
[tags] Table 8, Govind Armstrong [/tags]