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The Grill at The Setai  - 2001 Collins Ave., South Beach. (305) 520-6400

“Everything on the menu is prepared from recognizable, even familiar elements, but in a sublime way.”      “Stands up to many happy returns and definitely stands out in the Miami dining scene.”


appp 1appp 2 octopusappp 3 scallopsbread 2c veal 1dessert 
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
by Simone Zarmati Diament

The mother-of-pearl tables are gleaming in the cozy Grill at The Setai, behind the wide window panels which frame the Zen-like courtyard with its pool of infinite tranquility.

Behind the counter, where a violin-shaped Iberian ham placidly sits opposite a window case of caviars, Executive Chef David Werly turns out a new menu as if he were in a Michelin-starred restaurant — not surprisingly his long career includes the Michelin starred, Five Diamond Award AAA Le Cirque in Las Vegas, the Michelin-starred Ritz Paris, and the three Michelin-star Le Pré Catelan in the Bois de Boulogne in Paris.  Yet, the youthful-looking Werly insists that his “French-European concept is relaxed and the dishes at The Grill are simple to match the ambiance of the restaurant, so that diners don’t feel intimidated to drop by and share one or several plates.” All complemented by a wine list cleverly put together by The Setai’s sommelier, Dwayne Savoie,  showcasing regional and boutique wines at very reasonable prices.

“Cold” plates list a board of Iberian ham — aged 18 to 36 months — and Jamón Serrano cuts with Parmigiano cheese and arugula ($13 to $18); a tray of French cheeses — Tête de Moine to Crottin de Chavignol — with fig cake, cocoa almonds, apricot jam, Champagne grapes and membrillo or quince paste ($24); followed by a Raw Bar and a choice of Osetra Caviars with fresh blinis, crème fraîche and garnishes.

Everything on the “Hot” menu is prepared from recognizable, even familiar elements, but in a sublime way, starting with the basket of home-made breads and the amuses of seared tuna with fried sweet shishito peppers and croquetas with veggies served on the night I went.

That night, dinner progressed seamlessly.

Taittinger brut “Prestige cuvée” was wisely paired with two appetizers I would not hesitate to return for:  a light and refreshing salad of the tenderest octopus carpaccio  served over baby gem lettuce with a delicate orange and avocado vinaigrette and topped by a substantial and crisp Florida prawn tempura; and stunning-looking, plump and juicy roasted scallops with langoustine “en Kadaïf” ­— that is under a golden maize of crispy kataifi threads – resting over mineral-tasting yet deeply sweet red beets drizzled with a white balsamic dressing.

A Russian River Chardonnay, Buehler 2009 enhanced a foie gras custard with duck magret and duck consommé ($19). “The idea of the foie gras custard came to me one day as we were shaping foie gras for searing and we had a lot of left over cuts,” explained Werly who, like a good Frenchman, never likes to see anything good go to waste. “The rest is simply French,” he said of the heavenly broth and baby mushrooms and veggies. The result was the most delightful and sophisticated comfort food I’ve had in a long time.

A Carmenère –Syrah “Amplus One” Santa Ema 2008 from Colchagua Valley in Chile, fruity, with great acidity and velvety tannins perfectly paired with another comfort food taken to a higher level: the amazing, fork-tender veal cheeks “Provençal” ($35) with Brussels sprout leaves over sunchoke mousseline,  topped with a red rib of salsify doing a circus act with a dehydrated circle of butter nut squash!

Just for your information, other no-less delightlful dishes on the menu are Soup of Frog legs and Nantucket Bay Scallops ($18); Venison Capelletti with mascarpone, venison consommé, candy stiped beets and scallions ($25); Ibérico suckling pig (34) and Prime Creek Stone corn-fed beed filet 8 oz (45) with potato soufflé and green pepper sauce.

And for dessert a Valrhona Chocolate chaud-froid with crispy praliné and salted caramel was paired with a Heitz Cellars  Ink Grade Port from Napa Valley, CA. (14). Other desserts on the menu: Apple Tart Tatin with crème fraîche and vanilla ice cream (14), vanilla-orange crème brûlée and homemade sorbets (12).

Soundly supported by a well-tuned service team this sublime comfort food menu stands up to many happy returns and definitely stands out in the Miami dining scene.

 

  

The Grill at The Setai

Elegant yet casual with warm wood, brick and mother-of-pearl, The Grill at The Setai offers a menu of small plates prepared by Michelin-star  Executive Chef David Werly and his team.

Seasonal dishes such as octopus carpaccio, Florida prawn tempura with baby gem lettuce; homemade pappardelle with cervena venison ragout & Javanese black pepper; Pata Negra and tomato confit with garlic chips and squid ink sauce,  apple tarte tatin with crème fraîche & vanilla ice cream, will be served tapas-style ($12 to $65)

On Thursday evenings, there is live Thursday Night Jazz and a complimentary glass of Taittinger Champagne in The Courtyard.

The Grill at The Setai is open Wednesday through Sunday from 7pm to 11pm and midnight on the weekends.

2001 Collins Avenue on South Beach.               (305) 520-6400          www.setai.com

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