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MOSAICO & SALERO AN ENCLAVE OF QUINTESSENTIAL SPANISH CUISINE, IN THE HEART OF BRICKELL.
Rising from the ashes of Firehouse Four, the recently opened Mosaico immediately conveys the feel of a Spanish eatery. Food, wine, ambiance, everything speaks of Spain from the moment you step on the mosaic floor of the busy bar serving traditional cold and hot tapas or raciones of embutidos, bocaditos and cazuelitas - guizado de ternera, tuna marmitako ; monkfish and mussels romescada - ($2 to $10) and drinks from Miami Cool concoctions, Jerez, Albariño and Rioja to Champagne, Cava and the finest wines from Ribera del Duero-to the second floor 86-seat dining room leading to a 64-seat white-sofa'ed terrace with a panoramic view of Downtown neon-lit sky scrapers.
The contemporary Spanish menu upstairs offers starters such as Gazpacho Andaluz with fresh tuna tartare and quail egg ($11); entrées ($24 to $32) range from oven-roasted turbot, artichokes in two textures and sautéed mushrooms with sobrasada essence to filet mignon with garbanzos, cumin swiss chard and aged sherry. For desserts there is chocolate "churros" with cocoa caramel; lemon saffron "brazo de gitano" with almond "turrón" ice cream ($8.50), and the simply delicious Manchego cheese with quince jelly ($5).
Proprietor Larry Harris knows something about concept: detecting a need in the Latin market in the early '90s, he co-founded Pollo Tropical and developed the concept into a $90 million chain. To recreate a slice of Spain in the heart of the Brickell district, Harris didn't hesitate to call on executive chef Jordi Vallès who had impressed foodies at Area, the Ritz Carlton's signature restaurant in Key Biscayne, to lead the culinary team behind the top floor fine dining Mosaico, the downstairs Spanish tapa bar and café Salero, and La Tienda, the adjacent gourmet market and wine shop. Open for lunch Monday through Friday from noon to 3 p.m., dinner Monday through Thursday from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., and Happy Hour Fridays from 5:30 to 8 p.m.1000 S. Miami Avenue, Miami. 305-371-3473. www.mosaicoarestaurant.com
RESTAURANT WITH A VIEW: ATRIO ON BRICKELL
A block from the Four Seasons, on the 25th floor of the Conrad Hotel on Brickell, Atrio is slated to open its doors by mid-summer. Executive Chef Roger Ruch, formerly of The Tides in South Beach, will offers a menu of contemporary Asian/Spanish/American cuisine to be enjoyed both at the 80-seat dining room overlooking Miami and the Bay, and at Bar Noir. The Conrad in Miami, a luxury division of the Hilton Hotels, is the first to open in the U.S., others are in major cities in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. 1395 Brickell Ave., Miami. 305-503-6500.
CHEF STEVE MARSELLA BRINGS NEW MENU TO JOIA IN SOUTH BEACH
a jazzy indoor-outdoor restaurant with a bar and relaxing garden dining, has opened The District Restaurant & Lounge , Steve Marsella whose culinary talents shone at Cheeky Monkey, the restaurant at The Blue Moon Hotel in South Beach, and whose considerable experience includes revamping the menus at the Gate House Hotel in Providence, Rhode Island, is back in Florida. Marsella is now the executive chef at Joia in South Beach, and has brought on board another Cheeky Monkey veteran: manager Amin Noorzai. The casually elegant white-curtained space holds 160 indoor/outdoor seats and is still a theatre for the in South Beach crowds. The menu is contemporary American. Starters include salads ($10 -$12), seared a jazzy indoor-outdoor restaurant with a bar and relaxing garden dining, has opened Kobe beef with black pepper watercress sauce and ponzu ($7 per ounce, 3 o.z. minimum), Steamed Blue mussels on Thai curry coconut broth ($13), and Jumbo lump Crab cakes ($15). Entrées run from hand-made porcini tortelloni ($21), and spaghettini with Maine lobster ($25), to Prime New York Strip ($37) and Seared wild salmon ($26). Open for dinner only Tuesday through Sunday, 7 to 11:30 p.m. and till 1 a.m. on weekends, and for lunch on Sundays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Located in the Century Hotel,150 Ocean Drive. For reservations: 305-674-8871.
THEINE, A TEA SHOP & SALON, GIVES A JOLT TO CAFECITO DRIVEN CORAL GABLES
Pie safes with jars of marmalade from her parent's farm in West Virginia, and old-style furniture decorate the gleaming hard-wood floors of Theine. More New England style than Tropical Miami Spice, Kyra White's Tea Shop and Salon is an off the beaten path oasis of peace, a 20-table location with a charming patio area graced with umbrellas, where cell phones aren't even allowed. A graduate from the Cordon Bleu in Paris, White is also the convivium leader of Slow Food Miami. "It's all about relaxation and different life style," she says as she tries to combine business with the philosophy of the Slow Food movement. At Theine, you can buy teapots, strainers, cups and tea accessories, as well as 100 different varieties of loose tea and tisanes by the ounce: from Jasmine Pearl and Gyokuro from Japan ($7 to $10.63 per oz.) to Poobong -1st flush Muscatel (Darjeeling) from India ($3.87) and Mexican Chai from China ($2.83). Not only will Ms. White will brew your tea just the right way and serve you delicate French pastries, but she is offering tea cupping courses, different styles of high-tea ,and Japanese Tea ceremonies in addition to Asian Cooking classes. Theine, Tea Shop & Salon, is open from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and is available for catered parties and private events in the evenings. 119 Madeira Avenue, Coral Gables, 305-774-0228.
YUCA IS BACK IN CORAL GABLES WHERE IT FIRST STARTED.
Giacosa has become Yuca's new home in Coral Gables. The owners are David and Julia Garcia, Amancio Suarez's daughter. Suarez remained sole proprietor of Yuca on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach when he bought out Efraín Veiga's share. The chef Lionel Velasquez, a former sous-chef a Timo's, had worked with chef Guillermo Veloso during Yuca's heyday on the Beach. "The menu is similar to the one on the beach,"said Velasquez, " but we are changing it to old fashioned Cuban food with new flair, keeping it very traditional yet innovative." Velasquez has introduced dishes which have become very popular with the Coral Gables crowd: Montaña Martí is a sweet potato cake with spicy ropa vieja topped with crispy red onions and finished with a red wine reduction ($7 for lunch and dinner); mar y tierra, surf and turf, a grilled filet mignon, is accompanied with lobster enchilado risotto and topped with papaya chutney ($35); the little havana frita ($7) is a lunch pleaser: the chorizo and pork frita topped with bermuda onion escabeche and shoestring potatoes comes with a side of orange and mango batido. Yuca is open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and dinner Monday through Thursday from 6 to 10 p.m. and till 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Closed on Sunday. 349 Giralda Ave., Coral Gables. 305-648-1888.
LEBANESE OASIS ON THE BEACH HAS BECOME ITALIAN TINELLO
No more hummus and babba ganoush, and as a matter of fact no more Oasis. Instead is Massimo Celentano's Tinello, where the native of Capri prepares Italian fare, daily for lunch and dinner. 976 41st St., Miami Beach. 305-674-7676.
GOURMET POINT IN SUNNY ISLES, AN ARGENTINE PLACE FOR ALL NEEDS.
Gourmet Point, a 3,000 square-foot gourmet market/restaurant/café/bakery/winery is José Sabaté's brainchild. The entrepreneur from Buenos Aires, Argentina is excited about his all-inclusive facility where imported pastas and cheeses vie for attention with wines from all the world, and a bakery offers homemade argentine delicacies such as caramel rolls, alfajores, "facturas", English bread miga sandwiches, cakes and pastries, at all hours of the day. "We will also offer take-out foods like sandwiches and salads, pastas, meats like breaded chicken, veal, and more…"said Sabaté. "The concept is homemade take-out foods which are also available at the restaurant and at the café." The chef Mabel Gregoris from Argentina will prepare the menus for the take-out operation as well as for the restaurant and the café which will serve a variety of coffees including Italian expresos, capuccinos, and café au lait. The Gourmet Point Market, Bakery, Restaurant and Café are open 7 days, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., for breakfast, lunch and dinner.17632 Collins Ave, Sunny Isles. 305-466-4911.
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