Bourbon Steak: Miami Spice 2014
Some restaurants just go through the motions of Miami Spice, offering a mediocre (or what the hotel Executive Chef John Sexton calls a “dumb down”) menu for a low price . To the contrary, Bourbon Steak at Turnberry Isle Miami. If I paid almost double for it, I’d say it was worth the price for its quality, presentation and ambiance. Star Chef Michael Mina winner of enough distinctions to fill the entire blogpost, is behind this and it shows. Menus reflect different culinary influences, a departure from their customary modern American steakhouse fare, especially Pan-Asian cuisine. There’s also an emphasis on the de rigueur freshness and seasonality that fine diners demand today. Chef John is partial to comfort food and butter (albeit in moderation) and it shows. Credit for this special menu and meal also should go to Bourbon Steak Executive Chef Gabriel Fenton.
The menu has three selections in each category. We sampled everything so can opine on all the dishes. Appetizers included angel hair pasta, tempura squash blossoms with meyer lemon ricotta, ratatouille and basil; and sweet corn and Maine lobster chowder. We gave our top award to the rich, creamy chowder, luscious with chunks of fingerling potatoes, red pearl onions and Nueske’s – the king of bacon.
Next came the entrees – Rib eye with faro and English pea risotto, tapioca crusted yellow tail snapper with coconut forbidden rice, and truffle chicken pot pie. This was a very tough competition. The snapper was superfresh, crisp, and garnished with crunchy matchstick peppers. But the prize went to the deconstructed chicken pot pie served in a copper pot with breast of Cornish game hen on the side on a bed of sautéed pea shoots. A clever conceit. Supplemental options are foie gras and talk about rich, Alaskan king crab béarnaise sauce
Snickers seems to be big these days in all kinds of desserts. I’ve had them as a topping on donuts with bananas, and here they come with caramel mousse, chocolate ganache and peanut rice crispies. Besides ice cream and sorbet, there’s a star pineapple upside down parfait (wish more restaurants would bring back this “Mad Men” classic).
Wine with the meal? No lack of choices here: the wine cellar features 800 different selections including the best crus of Burgundy and Bordeaux.
The setting is casually elegant and also appropriate for a special occasion. You might say, how about the drive north if you’re in the Beach, Brickell or Pinecrest? In summer time –Miami spice time – it just took us 30 minutes from Brickell Avenue, and that was at rush hour – 6 p.m. Another aspect of their Miami Spice – you can go with a group up to 12 on the Miami Spice menu. Sounds like the makings of a good party!
Miami Spice is served 7 days a week for dinner at $39 a person plus tax and gratuities.
Look for blogposts on my first person experiences in Miami Spice dining and lists of menus from favorite restaurants in the next few weeks.
photography by William Oberheiser