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CHEF JASON MCLAIN OPENS NEW RESTAURANT, "8 ½" AT SLICK BOUTIQUE HOTEL CLINTON,SOUTH BEACH
Chef Jason McClain, formerly of the New York’s Four Seasons Hotel’s famed Fifty-Seven/Fifty Seven, Chicago’s renowned Narcisse Restaurant and Miami’s Shore Club, Pearl Restaurant and Champagne Lounge, and Nikki Beach, is now chef-owner of restaurant. “8 ½” with General Manager and business partner Kevin Boals, formerly Director of Food and Beverage at the Westin St. Francis, San Francisco, and the Hyatt on Sunset, Los Angeles.

Fellini-inspired, or simply bearing the street number? The intimate indoor-outdoor new restaurant is located at 821 Washington Avenue at the newly renovated Art Deco Hotel Clinton, in South Beach.

The New Jersey-born McClain’s menu spans the globe’s cuisines with an emphasis on Mediterranean dishes starting with appetizers like Mediterranean lamb carpaccio with hummus and zatar toasted pita; Moroccan spiced calamari with broccoli rabe and Meyer lemon brown butter; and baked cajun crab cakes with charred corn relish and key lime chipotle aioli. Dinner entrees list mustard crusted New Zealand Lamb with root vegetables, lentils, and green peppercorn thyme juice; pan roasted rock bass with artichokes, fingerling potatoes, chanterelle mushrooms, and Manila clam broth; crabmeat stuffed Maine lobster with potato puree, haricots verts, drawn butter, and lobster jus; and Provençal Ahi tuna with herbed spaghetti squash ratatouille, and basil bell pepper coulis.

"81/2," at the Hotel Clinton, 821 Washington Avenue, is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner, 7 A.M. to Midnight. Valet Parking is available. 786-276-3850


LA CIGALE REOPENS WITH NEW LOOK AND MEDITERRANEAN FLAVORS, IN DELRAY BEACH

What was Brasserie La Cigale in now restaurateur Francis Touboul’s La Cigale with new flavors, a new style and a new location just South of Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach. Moroccan-born Chef Farid Oualidi’s menu encompasses the Mediterranean with selections from France, Spain, Italy, and Africa. Chef Oualidi who comes from New York’s Union Pacific, Caviar Russe, 21 Club and Tavern of the Green has developed a selection of Med-regional offerings including: Branzino (a pan-seared Mediterranean bass with braised fennel, dried Roma tomatoes and black olive tapenade), PEI mussels, and veal tenderloin wrapped in proscuitto. Antispasti include a platter of country-style pâté from France, roasted peppers from Spain, hummus from Morocco, grilled Halloumi cheese from Syria, Italian prosciutto, gherkins, mixed olives and stuffed grape leaves. Mr. Touboul’s wine list features a range of regional domestic wines and international selections, and the bar’s signature cocktail is the Medi-tini – a pomegranate martini with Hanger One Vodka, triple sec, Pome Liqueur and a splash of grapefruit juice. La Cigale seats 90 people in the main dining room, but offers two private rooms seating 44 and 32, respectively, for parties, charity functions and/or special events. La Cigale is open seven nights for dinner from 5:00 p.m.. 253 Southeast Fifth Avenue (just south of Atlantic Avenue), Delray Beach. (561) 276-6453.

STYLISH SUSHI HOUSE FOR SERIOUS SUSHI LOVERS OPENS IN NORTH MIAMI BEACH “UPPER EASTSIDE”

The Sushi House is restaurateur Mark Koyfman and Chef Enrique Jasso’s joint venture in Miami’s “Upper Eastside,” at the busier-than-ever crossroad area of Biscayne Blvd and 163rd St. Causeway. Casually elegant with plush white leather banquettes, flowing ceiling to floor sheer drapes between dining areas, a long communal table lit by modern chandeliers, the 220-seat indoor/outdoor restaurant sports a 7x16 foot black and white natural landscape illuminated from behind, and a cozy bar area. Enrique Jasso, the executive chef and part-owner, comes from ten years of experience at Su Casa of Tokyo in Chicago. His and co- executive chef Jesus Comeras’ “modern sushi” menu combines exotic flavors and textures in dishes (2$ to $20) like the signature Spicy Tako Tempura rolls with octopus, scallions, masago and a light teriyaki sauce the Volcano roll with spicy tuna, black tobiko, shrimp tempura and topped with eel, avocado and wasabi, and specialties like Spicy Octopus Tail and a variety of meat and fish dishes listed on and off the menu. The wine and sake list offers over 15 wines and sakes by the glass and the “Communal Happy Hour,” held at the long communal dining table, offers samples of food paired with drinks Monday through Friday from 5:30 – 7 pm. The Sushi House is open daily for lunch from 12 to 3 p.m., and dinner 5:30 – 10:30 pm on wee days and till midnight on weekends. 15911 Biscayne Blvd., North Miami Beach, 305.947.6002

IL MULINO, NEW YORK SLATED TO OPEN SOON IN SUNNY ISLES BEACH

The newest Il Mulino New York, slated to open in May, is a branch of the Italian chain Il Mulino New York which opened in New York’s Greenwich Village over 20 years ago, and expanded to Long Island New York, Tokyo, Dallas, Las Vegas, Chicago, with plans to open in Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. The 110-seat indoor Miami restaurant spreads onto a 24-seat veranda overlooking the ocean.

The menu at Il Mulino draws upon the rustic and hearty Abruzzi region in Italy with complimentary antipasti tasting of soppresatta, bruschetta, reggiano parmesan, fried zucchini and garlic/cheese bread sticks, and dishes like spaghettini Bolognese; rack of lamb; veal chop; and langoustines, with old-world service and tableside cooking provided by tuxedo-clad wait staff. The wine list includes over 200 selections of Italian varietals and guests are offered a complimentary glass of signature house Grappa. Il Mulino New York is open six days a week for dinner: Monday – Thursday from 5:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.; Friday - Saturday from 5:00 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. 17780 Collins Avenue, Sunny Isles Beach. 305-466-919

CLARKE’S, A NEIGHBORHOOD IRISH BAR AND GRILLE OPENS IN SOUTH BEACH
Clarke’s, a 58-seat neighborhood traditional Irish American bar and grille is the dream of New York City-born Laura Cullen, a second generation Irish American, and second generation restaurant owner: her father Barry Cullen is the proprietor of The Sazerac House in New York City (operating since 1965). The menu at Clarke’s offers pub fare including fish & chips ($12.95); shepherd’s pie ($10.95); bangers & mash ($10.95), burgers and fries; as well as appetizers ($9.95) such as Scottish smoked salmon; bacon wrapped scallops; crab fluffs grilled vegetable stack ($9.95) and Prince Edward Island mussels; and entrees like sword fish $22.95); chicken curry ($12.95); roasted duck ($21.95); Sazerac house crab cakes ($24.95); a double cut pork chop ($21.95) and mom’s Montauk style scallops ($17.95) among others. Clarke’s has a full bar with a variety of beers and an extended wine list ranging from $18 to $400 with a by-the-glass program. Clarke’s is open Monday through Thursday from 5:00 p.m. until midnight, Friday and Saturday from 5:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m. and Bar service Monday through Saturday until 3:00 a.m. 840 First Street, Miami Beach, (305) 538-9885.


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