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A NEW WINE BAR: D’VINO WINES, BITES & BOUTIQUE OPENS IN CORAL GABLES

Whether D’Vino is short for “divine” or means “from the wine,” the gracefully-decorated new 56-seat wine bar and lounge is all about wine. Wicker armchairs, low tables, original art on the walls and a second floor boutique winery dedicated to wine tastings create a relaxing, wine-exploring atmosphere. Owner Sergio Velarde, a former Nike executive turned wine connoisseur, offers an amazing list of over 40 wines by the glass from boutique and small production wineries, as well as a “Wine Bites” menu including a D’Vine cheese plate, bruschetta ($6.95), prosciutto and melon ($8.95), smoked salmon platter ($10.95) and sandwiches. There is live jazz on the weekends, special wine tasting classes and catering is in the plans. D’Vino is open daily from 2 to 12 p.m.. 3143 Ponce de Leon Blvd., across from the Coral Gables Court House. 305-443-8466


HIGH TEA SOUTH BEACH-STYLE: THE BETSY BISTRO AND TEA ROOM AT THE BETSY ROSS HOTEL

South Beach’s first tea room – The Betsy Bistro and Tea Room in the colonial chic, sophisticated atmosphere of The Betsy Ross Hotel – brings Ocean Drive the time-honored tradition of high tea with a South Beach twist. “Our new menu which blends British tradition and Miami style creates a completely unconventional tea experience at The Betsy Bistro and Tea Room,” said Dirk Goldwasser, Managing Partner of The Betsy Ross Hotel. The menu, by caterer, Shiraz FL, combines traditional tea time favorites such as cucumber sandwiches, scones with Devonshire clotted cream and homemade cakes and pastries with local flavors like key lime pie, avocado ritz and fresh chilled summer soups. The Betsy also offers mini burgers and coconut crusted salmon fillet with raisin, mango and ginger chutney as well as cocktails such as the Mar-Tea-Ni, from brewed berry tea and spirits.
Traditional high tea service ($20 per person plus tax and 18% gratuity) is served daily from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Individual menu items and teas are also available a la carte. The Betsy Bistro and Tea Room, is open for lunch, tea and early dinner from noon to 7 p.m. daily. 1440 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach. 305.531.3934, ext. 356.


BILTMORE HOTEL SOMMELIER SEBASTIEN VERRIER IS NOW AT CASA CASUARINA, SOUTH BEACH

Sebastien Verrier, the long-time Sommelier at La Palme d’Or at The Biltmore Hotel, is now the wine person at Casa Casuarina. The former Versace mansion is now a privately owned high-end club and is available for exclusive events.

GARDNER’S MARKET WINE BUYER AND FORMER RADIO PERSONALITY HENRY BARROW IS NOW AT CEFALO’S WINE CORNER IN COCONUT GROVE...
Cefalo’s Wine Corner is the new location of Cefalo’s Wine Cellar which is slated to close at the end of May. The former Miami Dolphins quarterback Jimmy Cefalo has expanded his operation to what used to be Taurus Restaurant in Coconut Grove. There will be a shop, a wine bar, a courtyard with automatic wine dispensers, and a wine cellar which will house Cefalo’s Cave Club . Henry Barrow, one of Gardner’s Market’s wine buyers, and a former radio personality, will be the new wine director. Cefalo’s Wine Corner is slated to open in September at 3540 Main Highway, Coconut Grove.

ABSINTHE RESTAURANT OPENS IN BOCA RATON
Named after the potent liqueur absinthe, popular among painters and poets like Edouard Manet; Charles Baudelaire; Paul Verlaine; Arthur Rimbaud; Oscar Wilde; Ernest Dowson and Edgar Degas in the mid-1800s, Absinthe, a chic 240-seat restaurant/ brasserie/lounge and bar, developed and designed by California-based The Puccini Group, has opened in a 4,000 square-foot location in the heart of Boca Raton. The manager is Anthony Hobbs formerly with Zemi, Maxaluna and Bistro Zenth; the chef de cuisine is Esteban Arguedas (27), formerly with the PGA National Resort & Spa in West Palm Beach. “We wanted to create a menu that honored the restaurant’s comfort-driven brasserie concept,” says Arguedas whose menu includes appetizers ($6-$15) ranging from a simple herb risotto with roasted tomatoes and aged Parmesan and steak tartare to warm duck confit layered with chili peanut sauce and hoisin-infused lemongrass. Also on the menu: salads ($6-$12) and entrees ($22-$32) with rotisserie fish, fowl and meat and dishes such as polenta-crusted diver scallops with heirloom tomato liquor; sautéed wild salmon with truffled potatoes; rosemary-crusted pork loin with baby vegetables, and ancho-rubbed Ahi tuna with chile-pureed potatoes and fresh pineapple salsa. Desserts ($7) feature an absinthe-infused crème brûlée, dark chocolate tart with menthe-espresso ice cream, white chocolate tart with pistachio ice cream and a French upside-down apple tart with Tahitian vanilla ice cream. Absinthe, Boca Center, 5150 Town Center Circle in Boca Raton. Daily hours of operations: breakfast, 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.; lunch, 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.; dinner, 5:00 p.m. to midnight; bar with select bar menu; 11:30 a.m. to midnight. (561) 620-3754.

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


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