August 2nd, 2010

Miami Spice: The Restaurant at The Setai

Restaurant_logoMaybe because I had one of my favorite Miami Spice meals at The Setai, I decided to go to The Restaurant last night for the first day of this year’s Miami Spice.

Our server brought us three menus: the Miami Spice menu ($35), the regular menu and another $50 three-course prix fixe they have been offering during the summer. We thought this was unusual but then learned that the difference between the Miami Spice option and the other prix fixe is that the dishes in the Miami Spice menu are not on the restaurant’s regular menu. I personally had no issue with this but some might see this as a drawback.

Dinner starts with a basket of naan and pickles. The Restaurant offers a wine pairing option for the Miami Spice menu for $28 (one 3-ounce pour per course). We considered it but our server also showed us a list of discounted wine bottles as an alternative and we went that route instead.

For appetizers we ordered the Peking duck spring rolls and the crunchy fried squid salad. The spring rolls (four to an order) were nice and crisp on the outside and the Chinese mustard provided a nice sweet and spicy contrast to the rich filling. The lightly fried squid and the sweet and spicy papaya alone made for great flavors in the dish, which also had greens and avocado.

Since dishes at The Restaurant are served family style, D and I shared the curried grouper with Tandoor-roasted eggplant and the ramen noodles with roasted pork belly in a kimchee broth. My noodles came topped with a soft cooked egg, a few small slices of extra crispy pork belly and tender pulled pork. I liked the intense flavor of the broth but wish there would have been a little more pork.

I ended my meal with the yuzu lemon cheesecake served with black sesame ice cream and sake-poached cherries, which offered an interesting array of flavors. I seemed to enjoy each component more separately, particularly the sesame ice cream and tart cherries. D ordered the more straightforward Jasmine, a rectangular block of rich, creamy chocolate atop a base of crunchy cocoa nibs with a candied banana on top. It’s hard to go wrong with chocolate so no complaints there.

Overall, we enjoyed our meal. Service was attentive and professional, portions were not big but just right and the options were interesting, but those looking to get a taste of The Restaurant’s regular menu offerings won’t find it in the Miami Spice menu. If you go, keep in mind that valet parking at The Setai is $15, so park at the public lot next to the hotel. See The Restaurant’s Miami Spice menu here.

The Restaurant at The Setai
2001 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach

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