Chef Creole, NMB
We stumbled on Chef Creole's North Miami Beach location (13105 W. Dixie Highway) on a lazy weekend and it was a revelation. Apparently the namesake chef is like the Emeril of Haitian food. According to the website: "Owner Chef Wilkinson, "Ken" Sejour has grabbed his native Creole cuisine by the fishtail and created Haitian seafood for the masses." He also markets his own sauces and I remember seeing him on an episode of Anthony Bourdain's show. There's not much of a restaurant ambiance, it's mostly a takeout counter with a friendly dreadlocked dude taking orders and packing your food to go. Behind the counter a TV plays endless loops of a Chef Creole video where the exuberant toque waxes enthusiastically about his cooking and saucing techniques. Outside there are picnic tables and a substantial smoker with a dozen jerk chickens smoking away. We ordered the fried mahi with dirty rice and plantains. Ridonkulously delicious. It was frickin cheap, too. $8 for an order that easily fed two gluttons. The fish was super fresh and meaty and stood up well to its thick cornflake crust. The little container of spicy sauce provided an exciting fiery kick and the plantains were sweet, lovely specimens of fried fruit. The rice helped to quell the fire, which I've learned, is the only antidote to spicy food - not water, that just spreads it around. Discovering Chef Creole's made me happy to live in Miami.