Fairmont Turnberry Isle, Aventura
Address: 19999 West Country Club Drive, Aventura
Hours: Mon-Thu 6-10 p.m. Sat. 6-11 p.m. Closed Sun.
Liquor: Full bar, The book-sized wine list includes vintages ranging from commonplace to rare.
Cuisine: Steaks and varied à la carte menu
Prices: Appetizers $10-$59; entrees $25-$135; desserts $9-$16
Ambiance: relaxed, casual, contemporary chic
Cards: All major
Whether it’s a special-occasion dinner or a casual evening of burgers,
Bourbon Steak combines attractive ambiance with
flavorful food and attentive service. Steak connoisseurs should try the A5 Wagyu,
if only for bragging rights among foodie friends.
By Jana Soeldner Danger
One might say that Bourbon Steak at the Fairmont Turnberry Isle has a dual personality.
The dining room serves upscale steaks and seafood in a polished setting. For those who prefer more casual fare, there is the lounge. There, diners can choose from five different burgers, or build their own with up to six toppings, and slake their thirst with creamy drinks billed as adult milkshakes.
Bourbon Steak is part of the Mina Group, a company formed in 2002 by James Beard award-winning Chef Michael Mina and partner Andre Agassi. It now includes 15 restaurants in San Francisco, Washington, DC, Las Vegas, and Dana Point, Calif.
At the helm in Bourbon’s Turnberry kitchen is Executive Chef Gabriel Fenton, who previously served as sous chef at Mina’s two-star Michelin restaurant in San Francisco. He focuses on locally-grown produce, hormone-free beef, and sustainable seafood.
As might be expected, in the main dining room, steak is king. The menu’s piece de resistance is Japanese A5 Wagyu beef, the highest quality produced in a country where the system for grading meat is much more detailed than in the U.S. A5 Wagyu is fairly rare in restaurants here, probably in part because of its high price.
For those not willing or able to fork over $135 for a six-ounce A5 Wagyu strip steak, there are Angus Prime cuts, as well as American Kobe beef. Steaks are sautéed in butter for extra richness and moistness, and then finished on the grill.
The menu also has some excellent seafood options. Just about everything is à la carte, which can quickly drive up the cost of dinner. Side dishes are served family style in large enough portions for two.
The bar at Bourbon Steak is well-known for its build-your-own hamburger; you can choose from burgers made with beef, lamb, turkey, or salmon, as well as a vegetarian falafel version. Numerous toppings range from typical cheddar cheese to elegant foie gras. On Wednesdays, there is live music by local blues bands.
The décor in the main dining room seamlessly combines classic club with contemporary chic. A tall, square glass entrance creates immediate drama at the door. Inside, a color palette of deep browns, beiges and golds, along with wood paneling and wood-framed tables with hard-surface leather tops, create a relaxed, casual elegance. Juxtaposed with these is the glamour of a glittering mirrored wall, a dramatic, colorfully lighted back bar, a floor-to-ceiling. glassed-in wine rack, and raised planters up-lit to showcase tall, bright red plumes. Carpeted floors help absorb some of the noise of the busy dining room. For private parties, there is a glass-enclosed smaller dining room.
The book-sized wine list includes vintages ranging from commonplace to rare. “We wanted to reach all audiences, from the novice to the collector,” says Sommelier Matthew Turner. “And we wanted wine to be fun and approachable.”
Selections are divided by types as well as countries of origin. All are pricey, with the low end of by-the-glass selections in the $15-$20 range.
Shortly after you are seated, a waiter delivers a trio of addictively tasty duck-fat French fries and accompanying sauces. Herbed rolls arrive at the table hot and fragrant.
Our cilantro-seasoned scallop ceviche was refreshing and flavorful, with a touch of Espellete pepper adding a hint of heat. Pan-seared foie gras crowned with arugula, a special of the evening, perched atop thin slices of fresh peaches prepared three ways; grilled, poached and pickled was rich in textures – from firm to jammy – with bitter bite of the arugula cutting though the sweetness of the fruit. Definitely a winning combination.
Wonderfully creamy chanterelle mushroom soup with caramelized leeks, also a special, was served with a pasta shell stuffed with dusky, rich port wine and mascarpone cheese mousse.
Shellfish appetizers include oysters ($18), prawns ($19), and caviar and chilled lobster (both market price). Other starters are black olive Caesar salad ($10); crab Louie lettuce cups ($15); ($18) American Kobe tartare ($24); ahi tuna tartare ($19); and heirloom tomatoes ($18).
From a selection of eight different steaks, we chose an eight-ounce American Kobe rib eye filet ($60). The meat was juicy and flavorful, and perfectly cooked to order. A simple red wine reduction was an ideal accompaniment. Suffice it to say, red meat lovers will enjoy themselves here.
Lobster pot pie is billed as a Michael’s classic, and it is easy to understand why he repeats the dish in his stable of restaurants. A copper pot crowned with flaky puff pastry contains a whole lobster, along with new potatoes, asparagus, and cherry tomatoes. The shellfish was fresh, firm, and delicious, the vegetables were done just right, and the tableside finish dramatic and fun. The dish manages to combine elegance with homestyle heartiness. The accompanying brandy cream sauce, however, seemed a bit strong for the delicate flavor of the lobster.
A side of potatoes with caramelized onion and goat cheese was all right, but not particularly distinctive. Other entrees include big eye tuna ($39); rack of lamb ($46); king salmon $32); tapioca-crusted snapper ($38); and a whole fried chicken ($25).
Vanilla crème brûlée ($11) was a perfect version of the classic; a wonderfully creamy interior with a toasted crunchy top. Peach crisp ($11), a special for the evening, was made with very fresh ripe peaches, sweetened just enough, and baked lightly to retain firmness. It was served with a light, fresh blackberry sorbet.
Whether it’s a night for a special-occasion dinner or a casual evening of burgers, Bourbon Steak combines attractive ambiance with flavorful food and attentive service. Steak connoisseurs may want to try out the A5 Wagyu, if only for bragging rights among foodie friends.