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ACQUA’S PICCOLO MENU OFFERS A ROUND ROBIN OF REGIONAL ITALIAN CUISINE

Acqua restaurant at Four Seasons Hotel Miami is now offering a prix-fixe Piccolo dinner menu; the menu paired with wines culled from the restaurant’s extensive vintage list offers regional Italian cuisine in three courses: primo (appetizer), secondo (main course) and dolce (the chef’s dessert trio). The menu changes weekly according to the seasons’s ingredients and is priced at $38.00 for food only and $55.00 to include three wines flights. "We wanted to celebrate the creativity and traditions of the different regions of Italy," said executive chef Marco Bax who offers for antipasti fresh burrata - a creamy mozzarella from the south of Italy; for primi handmade gnocchi with red chicory, Gorgonzola and walnut sauce, homemade eggplant stuffed ravioli with veal just, and fusilli with rock shrimp, green beans and potato-pesto sauce in the style of Liguria. Secondi include fish like roasted yellowtail snapper with blue crab and fingerling potatoes, with prosecco lemon-thyme sauce; and seafood: broiled Maine lobster with saffron risotto and peas; and meat dishes such as oven-baked rack of lamb with parsley and mustard crust, Sicilian caponata, gratineed tomato and potato fondant. Acqua, is open for breakfast (6:30-11:00 a.m.), lunch (11:30 a.m. -2:30 p.m.), dinner (6-10:30 p.m.), and Sunday brunch. Acqua, on the 7th floor lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel, 1435 Brickell Avenue, Downtown Miami. For reservations or to receive a copy of the menu of the week, call 305-381-5590.

THREE MICHELIN STARS FOR ALAIN DUCASSE AT ESSEX HOUSE, NEW YORK CITY

Michelin announced the results of their New York City guide for 2006: Alain Ducasse at the Essex House has been honored with three stars , making Alain Ducasse the only chef ever to have three restaurants (the celebrated Alain Ducasse at the Plaza Athénée, Paris, and Louis XV in Monaco are the other two) with three stars each from the prestigious guide. Three stars is the highest rating from the Michelin Guide. In addition to Alain Ducasse at the Essex House, there are only three other Michelin three star restaurants in New York City and fifty other Michelin three-star restaurants worldwide. Michelin’s three star rating indicates "exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey," where diners eat extremely well, sometimes superbly. The wine list features generally outstanding vintages, and the surroundings and service are part of this unique experience.
To maintain this level of excellence in the 65-seat main dining room; the Petit Salon or lounge; the private dining room Salon de Soie, and the Chef’s Table or Aquarium., Alain Ducasse relies heavily on strong teams in whom he has confidence; he gives the tempo and inspires the energy to continue his incessant quest for perfection. Tony Esnault, 34, Executive Chef, has worked with Alain Ducasse for three years in Monaco and has known, traveled and shared the same passionate exploration of cuisine and hospitality for over seven years. Yannis Stanisiere is the restaurant manager and carefully looks after the guests while Andre Compeyre, Chef Sommelier, is responsible for selecting the greatest international wines. "To receive three stars from Michelin is an exceptional honor," said Alain Ducasse. "I am very fortunate to work with such talented, creative and enthusiastic teams in New York, Paris and Monte Carlo who work together to make sure that every detail is perfect for each guest."
Since its opening five years ago, the Alain Ducasse at the Essex House restaurant has been awarded three Michelin stars, has been reviewed three times by the New York Times, Mobil Guide’s 2002 Five-Star Award, the 2002 AAA Five Diamond Award, James Beard Foundation's "Best New Restaurant of 2000" Award and was named one of Condé Nast Traveler’s 2001 "100 Hot Tables" and one of Food & Wine’s 2002 "America's Best Hotel Restaurants." Additionally, Alain Ducasse was the recipient of the 2002 GQ "Men of the Year" Best Chef Award, inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s 2002 "Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America" and was named Bon Appétit’s 2001 "Chef of the Year." The Alain Ducasse At The Essex House restaurant is located at 155 West 58th Street, between 6th and 7th avenues, New York, NY 10019. For further information and reservations, please call (212) 265 7300, fax (212) 265 9300 or e-mail ADNY@alain-ducasse.com

BAREFOOT AT OASIS’ AT THE MANDARIN ORIENTAL IN ITS SECOND SEASON
Beginning Friday, November 11 and open every Friday night through May 2006, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Barefoot at Oasis, Mandarin Oriental, Miami’s Friday Night Beach Soiree returns for its second season as one of the hottest Friday night bash. Music by DJ Mark Levanthal, exotic beds with colorful cushions and canopies with rich Thai materials and fabrics, cocktails like Sunset Martini and Mandarin Bliss at the water’s edge, and a display of culinary fireworks by the hotel’s chefs are some of the features of the popular hangout. Barefoot at Oasis is located at Mandarin Oriental, Miami, 500 Brickell Key Drive. No cover charge. The attire is from Beach to Boardroom. For more information, please call (305) 913-8358.

THREE-COURSE PRIX FIXE LUNCH AT CHINA GRILL, SOUTH BEACH
From Monday through Friday from noon till 6:00 P.M. China Grill offers a prix-fixe lunch menu ($21.95 -Plus tax & gratuity.) served in family style portions, to be shared by all guests at the table. The menu includes appetizers of baby lettuce salad, Confucius chicken salad, crackling calamari salad, ginger scented vegetable dumplings and/or Spicy beef and scallion dumplings. Entrees (Two guests choose one entree; three guests choose two entrees; four or more guests choose three entrees) include lamb spareribs, barbecued salmon, sake marinated “drunken” chicken, skirt steak and/or wild mushroom profusion pasta. Dessert is a China Grill Dessert sampler and American coffee. China Grill,404 Washington Avenue, South Beach. For reservations and information please call 305- 534-2211.

PRIX FIXE DINNER AT CARMEN THE RESTAURANT IN CORAL GABLES
Chef Carmen Gonzales created a prix-fixe menu ($35 PP Does not include tax or gratuity) as per popular demand for her Miami Spice menu. For First Plate there is a choice of Florida lobster and avocado terrine with key lime mayonnaise and arañitas, Niman Ranch pork bites with chimichurri sauce or tostón relleno with a serenata of bacalao, chorizo and fingerling potatoes. Second Plate choices are adobo rubbed niman ranch pork tenderloin with a fufú of sweet plantain and a gandules stew; red snapper filet with potato, leek and manchego terrine with charred tomato-charred scotch bonnet sauce; or ropa vieja, sweet corn and vine ripe tomatoes with boniato mash. for desserts she offers warm mango bread pudding with spiked crème anglaise or flan with caramel sauce. Carmen the Restaurant, 700 Biltmore Way, Coral Gables. 305.913.1944

SCOTTISH MICHELIN STAR CHEF MARTIN WISHART LAUNCHES SMOKED SALMON
Scottish Michelin Star chef Martin Wishart of the eponymous restaurant has launched a new gourmet smoked salmon which will debut in the US this week, and in the UK early next year. Farmed in the Shetland Isles and smoked at St. James Smokehouse, Martin Wishart’s salmon is traditionally smoked. A salt sugar blend is applied by hand to the flesh of the salmon fillet and is left to cure for seven hours. After seven hours, any unabsorbed salt is rinsed from the fillets and they are left to drip dry for four hours. The fillets are gently smoked over whisky oak chippings for three whole days. Finally, the fish is then left to mature in a chilled room for one day to allow the intense oakey flavors to infuse fully into the salmon before it is sliced and packaged. Martin Wishart gave Edinburgh, Scotland its first Michelin Star in 2001 and more recently in September 2005 has been awarded his 4th AA Rosette. Wishart has also been described by Michelin star Chef Gordon Ramsay in The Times this week as "Scotland’s next big thing, no questio".

To submit information and tips for this column, please e-mail to: editor@southfloridagourmet.com
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