Friday, August 31, 2007

Miami Spice Review: Santo

We liked Santo so much the first time, we decided to return for their Miami Spice menu and had a lovely time. The great thing about Santo is that the restaurant has plenty of indoor tables – something lacking at other Lincoln Road restaurants. I know women are stereotyped as always asking to sit outside but these days I'm all for air-conditioning. And Santo's interior is sophisticated enough to feel worlds away from Lincoln's flip-flop wearing crowds.

The restaurant presents the Spice menu right on top of their regular menu, a good sign. The waiter was friendly and did not flinch when we ordered off the Spice menu. The Spice menu is composed of selections off the regular menu and with regular entree prices ranging from $30-$40 this was quite a deal. We started with salads because we knew we needed to pace ourselves for the feasting ahead. The spinach-arugula salad was nicely composed with candied walnuts, caramelized onions and Gorgonzola for a crunchy, smoky good time. The roasted balsamic pear salad was incredibly refreshing with hunks of feta and scallion vinagrette that was addictive. Plus, I am a partial to pears so it was a treat.

The restaurant's signature dish is the snapper and though I had already tried it, I was curious to see if it was presented differently for the Spice menu. Not at all. It was the same generous portion of fish with a hearty tomato fondant sauce and fiery roasted poblano pepper stuffed with black corn. The crispy free-range chicken entree was delivered with expertly cooked crispy skin and yet was still moist and tender. The chicken came with wilted spinach and gnocchi which were deep fried such that they lost their richness, it would have been better had they been pan fried so they retained their subtle flavor.

A side of rissotto came flecked with green peas and sundried tomatoes and was so massive it would have been a respectable meal Рa steal at $8. For dessert we ordered the cr̬me brulee, excellently scorched top and custardy within, and the trio of sorbets, very necessary after the gut-busting meal.

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