December 19th, 2009

Cobaya Dinner No. 3: Previewing Jonathan Eismann’s Fin


Warm Curried Davenport Oysters

Maybe Jonathan Eismann should get a street named after him in Miami’s Design District. Once his two new restaurants Fin and Q open, Eismann will own four restaurants in less than a one-mile radius.

I was among 35 diners who caught a preview of Fin Thursday night during the third Cobaya experiment this year. Fin is a small (about 35-seat) seafood restaurant that occupies part of the old Sheba space, what used to be its gift shop I believe. The adjoining Q takes up the larger space where Sheba used to operate. But back to Fin.

The restaurant promises to serve the freshest seafood available off the boat. And did we get fresh seafood – nine courses to be exact.

I won’t go into every dish in detail but I’ll go through the highlights. There really wasn’t a bad dish anyway but some stood out more than others, and while not all the dishes will be on Fin’s menu, the meal was an excellent preview of what one can expect once the restaurant opens.

We started off with a sea scallop crudo with coriander, cilantro, lime and sea salt. The scallops just melted in my mouth. This dish was followed by warm curried Davenport oysters served with a little cucumber, a little ikura (I think) and a delicious wakame salad.

A third course of fluke and squid tiradito was a favorite, not just for me but also for many at my table. It was served with bright red grapefruit that added a wonderful flavor to the fish and squid. The dish was refreshing, with a little bit of sweetness and a little tang.

A stone crab cake with a Cantonese black bean vinaigrette and Napa cabbage kimchi was a pleasant surprise. The crab cake wasn’t dense or mushy as some can be at restaurants, and the breading didn’t overpower the flesh of the stone crab. But it was the creamy vinaigrette that made the dish for me. It was one of those dishes in which the individual bites were good but the combination of all the parts was just so much greater. A variation of this dish will be on the Fin menu.

Up next: steamed clams from Sebastian, Florida with green onions, crushed tomato in a sake broth. Chef Eismann told me this dish will be on the Fin menu. The sake broth in which the clams were served was full of buttery flavor but perhaps because this was a more straightforward dish it didn’t seem to impress as much. Some at my table found the clams to be overcooked.

I personally could’ve stopped eating at this point of the meal, but I geared up for four more courses.

They were a pan-roasted snowy grouper with braised fennel and preserved lemon risotto, a wild-striped bass with cucumber salad, mustard oil and soy, Hong Kong yellow tail and a pan-roasted North Atlantic cod. I suppose it was white fish four ways.

Hong Kong Yellowtail

Hong Kong Yellow Tail

As I mentioned earlier there was no bad dish but to me the beginning of the meal was much more impressive than the end. Out of the four fish dishes the end, the wild-striped bass and the Hong Kong yellow tail were my winners. The Hong Kong yellowtail will be on the Fin menu as well. It was beautifully presented, the whole fish came standing curled on a plate hugging pieces of its perfectly fried meat. Each of us was served a little dish with soy sauce and ginger to dip the fish into. (Excuse the bad pic above but camera died before the meal started so I had to rely on my iPhone).

Thankfully, there was dessert. Yes, after the nine courses, but after all that fare from the sea I think everyone needed a little sweet in their palates. A lime and apricot sorbet drizzled with honey and almonds was just what we needed. Thank you to Frod at Food for Thought for organizing yet another successful dinner.

Chef Eismann says he hopes to open in about three weeks but no specific opening date has been set.

4029 N Miami Avenue, Miami

Fin on Urbanspoon

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3 Responses to “Cobaya Dinner No. 3: Previewing Jonathan Eismann’s Fin”

  1. I was away all weekend and need to post on this dinner but I might pass it up now haha. Unless, of course, I can find a way to not ramble on and keep it short and sweet…

  2. Have you been back?

  3. […] Back in December, the Cobayas had a dinner at Fin, Jonathan Eismann’s sustainable seafood restaurant. Back then, you may or may not remember, I wrote that the chef expected to open in three to four weeks. Well, it didn’t quite happen that way. It took six months but Fin is now officially open. Here’s the recap of our December dinner. […]

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