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The District Miami
190 NE 46th St. (corner 2nd Ave.,), Buenavista, Miami, FL. 33137

305.573.4199       reservations@thedistrictmiami.com

 

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 by Simone Zarmati Diament

photos: SFG

    

Walking in Miami on a balmy night in the North end of the Miami District, the Buena Vista neighborhood, can lead you to quiet, tree-lined streets with charming old houses straddling bohemia and bourgeois. One of those houses, a grand old cottage build in the 1930’s and abandoned for a number of years is now The District Miami. It took almost two years to gut and remodel, said co-owner and restaurant manager Oscar Morales who fell in love with the neighborhood before it became hip. Murals, ceiling frescoes and large art work by contemporary artist Domingo Zapata add glamour and a contemporary take to the cottage’s exposed beams, rustic wood furniture and old-world charm.

The menu, by James Beard Foundation semifinalist, Chef Horacio Rivadero, is as refreshingly unconventional as the dining-room. Not that the gifted chef is not up to the haute dining demanded at that venerable institution; he recently prepared a 5-course, $175 per person prix fixe dinner for 60 people to celebrate the restaurant’s first anniversary.

The restaurant’s core is the bar. In the capable hands of mixologist and beverage director Sho Iijima-Marks, it turns out well-balanced and deliciously mean cocktails for which I am planning to return and enjoy with the antojos –appetizers; and offers a long a well curated list of over 40 craft, draught and rare beers, as well as a long and judicious wine-by-the-glass program, which his fans will be able to enjoy at Juniper on the Water, in Hallandale, a restaurant Iijima-Marks is working on opening soon.  

I came in early one night, or rather, my dining companion was late. I bypassed the lovely sidewalk patio and settled in at a table inside. The music was cool and the staff solicitous which made me want to order a cocktail and nibble on something while I was waiting. The passion fruit-based creation turned out to be fabulous and the deviled eggs ($8) filled with well-seasoned crab meat and topped with paprika, chives and slivers of radish, no less delicious and  large enough to share with my friend when she arrived.

The menu reflects Miami’s mixed demographics and Chef Rivadero pushes, with self-confidence and style,  the frontiers of the classic and contemporary cuisines of North, South, Central America and the Caribbean.

The different categories begin with Antojos. Consider a starter of Ceviches, Crudos and Tacos. We had one of each. The fresh corvina ceviche ($14), shimmering in puckering yuzu-lime juice, spiced with tarragon and red onions, and spiked with ají limo was topped with a pink grapefruit sorbet. A well-balanced and beautifully presented mixing of Asian, Latin and French American metaphors as are the crudos with New England scallops ($12) in salsa verde, sweet corn, Aleppo pepper, radish and micro-herbs and Colorado lamb tartare ($16) served with toasted pine nuts, mustard and shallot dressing, capers and a quail egg. 

While being traditional, the three tacos on the menu – lobster ($18), Tuna ($16) and Crispy pork ($14) – are original, with the crispy shells filled with sweet chunks of tender lobster with  the reviving flavors of ají Amarillo escabeche, shredded pickled cabbage and crispy shallots; or a tartare of tuna with Togarashi pepper, scallions, guacamole, yuzu mayo and toasted sesame seed (our best); and shredded pork with pickled cabbage, baby sweet peppers and mustard aioli.

Then, from Around the Table, come dishes like my deviled eggs ($8); foie gras meatballs ($15) with pea shoot sprouts, toasted almond and truffle chimichurri; Seared sallops ($15) with lobster and crawfish bisque, yellow corn and brioche croutons; a take on the Spanish dish, a fork-tender Cast Iron octopus ($13) served with quinoa, sweet peppers, cilantro, roasted eggplant purée and olive oil vinaigrette, Duck salad ($15) with confit of shredded duck legs, frisée, winter squash, pomegranate seeds, apricot lavender vinaigrette, and many more inventive and delicious dishes which will require an assiduous presence in the restaurant.

Supper lists meat, fowl, fish and vegetarian entrées, all abundant and very well presented.

Ours were outstanding: Caribbean Cobia ($28) a large serving of perfectly seared fresh fish rubbed with Caribbean–jerk adobo, over an intriguing lavender colored blue potato and goat cheese mash and heart of palm escabeche; and an Alaska salmon appetizingly shiny with Nitro Milk-Stout and soy glaze and served with parsnip purée, quinoa, sundried tomatoes and hearts of palm.

At the next table, a couple had come all the way from Fort Lauderdale, their third time they said, him for the famous District Burger ($16), prime Angus and Benton’s bacon  with grilled red onions, heirloom tomatoes, Vermont brie cheese, a zesty chipotle mayo and homemade fries, and her for the slow-roasted Afro-Cuban Pork  shoulder ($23)  with braised collard greens, white bean purée and Creole salad.

Even though all main dishes are fully garnished, the accompaniments ($6) – roasted veggies; Brussels sprouts with cranberries, pine nuts and balsamic fig; or sweet yellow grilled corn with chipotle mayo, crumbled feta cheese and ancho are a nice alternative to a full meal.

After such a meal, a choice of five desserts (all $8) is a sort of a tasty afterthought, such as Black Magic – a chocolate extravaganza;  Guava Bread Pudding with walnut ice cream and crème anglaise; four leches parfait, Brazo Gitano with star fruit and passion fruit sorbet and Key lime tartlet with toasted Italian meringue and vanilla ice cream.

The District is very popular at lunch time with a shorter menu of tacos, salads, sandwiches and a few dishes and the weekend brunch seems to be a favorite. I like this place enough to come back again and again. 

 

The Disctrict Miami

190 NE 46th St. (corner of 2nd Ave.), Buena Vista, Miami, FL 33137
305-573-4199 http://thedistrictmiami.com/         
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Lunch: Monday through Friday 12 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Dinner: Sunday through Thursday 5 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.Friday and Saturday 5 p.m. to midnight. Happy Hour: Bar Menu Monday through Sunday Daily 5 p.m. 7 p.m. 

 Wine Down Wednesdays: ½ off bottles under $100

Brunch: Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Parking: $3 – $5 Valet and Street Parking
 

 

 

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