Thursday, August 16, 2007

Miami Spice Review: Social Miami

We tried the Miami Spice menu at Social Miami the other night and had a great time. The food is good - it's not wildly creative but it does hopscotch around the globe with Asian, Italian and American comfort food dishes. The presentation is nice and with Michelle Bernstein as a consulting chef that's a guarantee you are in good hands. The restaurant is gorgeous - the epitome of a South Beach lounge aesthetic – white curtain, marble tables and candles everywhere. The contemporary art collection of the Sagamore owners provides a stimulating backdrop to the dining room - passing by a Massimo Vitali print on the way out is always a nice cap to a meal. The hotel lounge is a fine place to entertain out of town guests, which we did.

The restaurant earned big points from the start by offering all four of us the Spice menu right away and leaving one regular menu on the table in case we wanted to order other things. A nice perk of ordering off the spice menu at Social is that you can choose from a nice long list of options - I counted at least 15 things to choose from not including dessert. And you don't have to order dessert either, you can order 3 savory dishes if you like. That's what we ended up doing since we decided to get gelato on Lincoln Road and go for “real” food for all of our choices. So with four of us we got to choose 12 items. The way it works is that dishes are served family-style and come out staggered but in no particular order. It's fun because there was lots of action and new things were constantly coming to our table as the dinner progressed. There were a few differences from the menu I had checked online that day and what was offered but they were pleasant surprises like an offering of tuna crudo that we promptly ordered (incredibly tasty but too small a portion of fish, we wanted more) so be prepared for small surprises.

We ordered: (3) cod with bok choy, (2) lamb ribs, tandori chicken, marinated goat cheese, (2) margarita pizza, crab cakes, smoked salmon and the aforementioned tuna.

Highlights were the lamb ribs (above) that came with an especially delicious cornbread muffin, the smoked salmon that was accompanied by 3 somewhat dry blinis and crème fraiche, and the cod (below) which we all devoured with its lovely sweet soy glaze and bok choy.

The portions are not huge but big enough for everyone to have a decent taste and if you're ordering 3 things each that's a lot of tastes. I recommend going with a group so you can try many different dishes and have a tasting odyssey. And judging from the prices on the regular menu ordering with the Spice deal saves about $15 - $20 depending on what you order. Drinks are pricey but add to the fun. Service was great, no attitude, very courteous and always quick to clear plates and refill water.

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