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The Grill at The Setai, Miami Beach
***  
2001 Collins Avenue, South Beach
(305) 520-6400 or setaidining@ghmamericas.com 

 Executive Chef Jonathan Wright has raised the bar leaps-and-bounds higher with a new Mediterranean-style menu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
by Simone Zarmati Diament
 

Even though we all know that The Setai is a trademark of excellence and sophistication in Miami,   Executive chef Jonathan Wright has raised the bar leaps-and-bounds higher with a new Mediterranean-style menu at The Grill at The Setai. This is a project he had in mind since he first came to the Asian style hotel and Restaurant.

The newly refurbished  50-seats dining room is now theater to a gastronomic show that evolves from the open kitchen where sous chef Matthew Fasekas and his team are busy cooking, to the dining room where the service is choreographed to the smallest detail, and to the table starting with a beautiful and unusually good bread basket: warm parmesan gougères (cheese puffs) and crunchy cheese sticks, a prelude to what’s ahead.

The menu is divided into several sections:  Charcuterie ($10-$24) with the best hams Europe has to offer – including the much prized Jamón Ibérico, or Iberian ham from Spain that arrives on a large wooden tray; Rosette de Lyon from France; Bresaola from Italy and more – all served with toasted focaccia, homemade pickles and grain mustard.

Then come the Small plates ($8 to $18) with spectacular preparations such as an étude of beets –a consommé, beet crisps, a pavé of beets that looked like tuna belly topped with crème fraîche, yellow and red baked baby beets with the leaves still on, raw sticks and two beet sorbets fragrant with the sweet mineral flavor of beets.  Olympia oysters are seasoned with very thinly diced mirepoix of Green apple and tarragon, the sweet apple complementing the salty brine of the oyster and a touch of green freshness from the cucumber caviar. Skip the fried potatoes with spicy tomato sauce and garlic aoioli. There are much more interesting tastes in the menu.

In the Small plates category –but there’s nothing small about them– The dramatic-looking red wine braised  onions rings, black from their long hours of braising in a marinade,  with bone marrow and porcini custard topped with strands of bacon crisps is superb, is an intriguing dish full of mystery and depth mitigated by the faint acidity of the braising liquid. And the not-to-be-missed Piquillo peppers stuffed with fresh crab meat, a splendid combination of tastes enhanced by cilantro, citrus and dots of balsamic vinegar. 

Our wine, a moderately-priced  Mas la Plana Cabernet Savignon 2006, Torres, Penedés came from The Setai’s expansive cellars on the recommendation of sommelier Dwayne Savoie who has created a special wine list to accompany this menu, with 60 bottles of predominantly Spanish and Italian vintages, as well as a selection of about 20 wines by the glass.

The next category is the Medium Plates ($10 to $22) with soups like a velouté of sunchoke with shaved black truffle and parsley and pumpskin soup with sautées porcini, Gruyère croutons and marjoram. There’s a confir foie gras with vegetabl;es à la Grecque,; earthy-tasting seared foie gras with fresh, tart rhubard and rhubarb sorbet; artichokes à la barigoule with shaved parmesan, prosciutto and arugula; lobster and tarragon tortellini, lettuce hearts, asparagus, jumbo Stone Crabs and a Caviar menu by Petrossian.

Large Plates  include pastas like cod with clams, garlic parsley and olive oil and saffron linguini and  a superb and surprising dish: a single huge spinach and parmesan ravioli filled with poached egg which oozes out when you enter its soft inside of fresh spinach sautéed and wilted in olive oil, and melds with the deeply aromatic white truffle and rosemary jus.  

Among large plates there are braised veal cheeks with cabernet sauvignon sauce, garlic and potato puree; braised short ribs with roasted bone marrow; fricassee of chicken, morels, gnocchi and asparagus; roasted Colorado lamb with smoked pimentos; cassoulet of salted cod, braised pork belly; baby squid, chorizo and chickpeas, a whole florida yellow tail snapper baked in salt  with bouillabaisse sauce, and of course it is, since the restaurant is a Grill after all, followed by the Steaks category ($57 to $67) with a variety of high quality cuts. 

But before getting there you must try something from everything category and leave room for the desserts by pastry chef Noah French:  Orange croustillant, lemon cream, pink grapefruit salad and mandarin sorbet; praline millefeuille, chocolate caramel leaves, hazelnut chibout;  toasted almond panna cotta, poached huckleberries with juniper and black pepper and passion fruit gelée and foam with cocoa and compressed pineapple.

For the  Four for Forty prix fixe menu,  diners can choose a dish from each category (small, medium, large and dessert) on the prix fixe menu, for just $40.00 per person, exclusive of tax and gratuity.   

 

The Grill at The Setai, Miami Beach

 ***
2001 Collins Avenue, South Beach
 (305) 520-6400 or setaidining@ghmamericas.com
Open for dinner only Wednesday through Sunday from 7:00 p.m. to midnight
Cuisine:  Mediterranean
Ambiance: Warm and chic 
Wine: Amazing selection of well-priced wines and by-the-glass program
Service: Knowledgeable and professional
Prices: Small plates $8 -$18 ; Medium $12-$22 ; Large up to $27 and Steaks $55 and up
Credit cards: All