In chronicling my food adventures on this blog I've come across many restaurant menus with a starter so ubiquitous, so prominent, so difficult to dismiss it deserves a post all its own. I am referring to the almighty tuna tartar. The raw fish also makes guest appearances as tuna tataki, tuna sashimi, tuna crudo or (in the case of one imaginative resto) spicy tuna nachos. Whether you care about the mercury levels or not, it's hard to ignore this persistent pesce
. I've compiled a montage, from some more memorable dinners and well-executed versions of the dish.
First up is the tuna tartar at Nikki Coconut Grove
(top). A decent portion, nicely diced, fine tasting fish, not much seasoning going on except for some random capers and the seaweed bed. The accompanying fried lotus chips added a welcome textural contrast (crunch is essential when it comes to this dish). Its $14 price tag points more to the restaurant's club-like atmosphere than culinary fireworks.
Next is the appetizer from A Fish Called Avalon
. Similar tower-like presentation, except here the fish is topped with a heaping scoop of guacamole, really good guacamole. The "toasted sesame vinaigrette" it came with was a little too thick and sweet, but the accompanying cassava chips where a nice touch. If you consider that you're getting a guac starter as well, it's kind of worth the $15.
Moving on to more exotic territory we have the Hawaiian Yellowfin carpaccio at 1 Bleu. Paper-thin slices of the light fish are layered and drizzled with a Jerez vinaigrette (a Spanish vinegar). Microgreens and a single truffle potato chip add flavor and textural variety. A very elegant dish, and quite pricey ($22), but I preferred the restaurant's grouper ceviche to this dish.
An Italian take on the raw tuna offering was found at Badrutt's Place
in Brickell. They do a tuna sampler 4 ways (soy, orange, lemon and olive oil). The best was the orange and the soy. It was also one of the more expensive starters ($20) and you really don't get that much to start with.
Lastly, we have Abokado
, where raw fish is the foundation of the menu. Sure, there are maki rolls, ceviches, tiraditos and estiraditos but the best in show is the spicy tuna nachos. Composed of deep-fried shiso leaves topped with spicy tuna, sliced avocado and just the slightest hint of tobiko, the dish is beautifully presented. The tuna is also well-spiced and flavorful which makes eating these in one bite really easy. Still a bit pricey (4 for $14) but worth the extravagance.
Labels: food, miami, Restaurants