Culinary Highlights from Terry Zarikian
The Week of September 15th
With the exception of an early summer trip to New York and London (I might share some of my most memorable dishes from my trip in a future column), I vacationed right here in the greatest of all vacation destinations - Miami. And this is where I stayed during Hurricane Irma where I experienced a strong city that stuck together and is on its way to recovery.
While I mostly cooked at home, when I ventured out, I discovered some new places like the wonderful Alloy Bistro Gourmet, and the undiscovered Miranda Cuisine & Bar at the EB Hotel, close to Miami International Airport. At these newcomers (for me) and some other outstanding favorite locales of mine, a few dishes, all simple but expertly executed, stood out and merit recognition. And, I am happy to report that all these places survived the storm and are open for business.
From the alluring and popular Mandolin Aegean Bistro, I had the pleasure of enjoying some refreshing market summer specials, and the one that stood out more was the pristine Wild Stripped Bass Crudo with Black & Green Greek Olives, Lemon and Fresh Dill. With a drizzle of pure Greek Olive Oil, table-side, we were clinking wine glasses with owners Anastasia and Ahmet, celebrating life as if we were in Greece.
Mandolin Aegean Bistro
4312 N.E. 2nd Avenue, Miami, FL 33137
Along the same principle of simplicity and pristine ingredients, La Petite Maison’s Crevettes Tièdes a L'Huile D'Olive are amazingly sweet, warm prawns, split in half and swimming in a pool of their well balanced and flavored Ligurian Olive Oil, with fine strands of fragrant basil.
La Petite Maison
1300 Brickell Bay Drive, Miami, FL 33131
When I visit Diego Oka, the chef of La Mar by Gaston Acurio, I make sure he feeds me what he wants. And that’s what he did when i had lunch with my friend Nidal Barake, who’s company, Gluttonomy, specializes in promoting culinary knowledge. “Dieguito”, like we like to call him, served us his delicious version of a Milanese, served on top of Tallarines, thin home made fettucine pasta, tossed in a creamy Huancaína sauce, which is traditionally used to dress the classic Peruvian Papas a la Huancaína. This dish is so good, I hope it eventually becomes a permanent offering on the menu.
La Mar by Gaston Acurio
Mandarin Oriental Hotel
500 Brickell Key Drive, Miami, Fl 33131
I don’t eat pizza often but when I came across Visa-01, which now has been renamed Mister-01 (same owner/recipes), I fell for their fine crusted pies. Listed under “Extraordinary Pizza” offerings is the Marco, a thin crust pizza pie baked with San Marzano Sauce till it's crispy as a cracker, then topped with the creamiest fresh Burrata Stracciatela Cheese, arugula, fresh chopped tomatoes and Italian Parmesan, dressed if you want with a spicy olive oil. This is not your oozing, piping-hot version, but it’s as or even more delectable.
1000 South Miami Avenue, Miami FL 33130
Tucked inside a hidden courtyard in downtown Miami, Oh my, oh my, Alloy Bistro is such a find! There is not one dish that is less spectacular than the other, but it’s the low temperature slow-cooked Hanger Steak, torched and covered with charcoal, then sliced and served with a foamy celeriac puree and balsamic demi glace that merits your attention. Please go and let the charmingly beautiful Luna Bertolotti guide you through the menu created by executive chef Federico Genovese.
Alloy Bistro Gourmet
154 S.E. 1st Avenue, Miami, FL 33131
It’s a surprise to find such an upscale and luxurious airport property as the EB Hotel Miami. And it’s even a bigger surprise to find that Miranda Cuisine & Bar, a restaurant that blows away hotel guests for its creative and varied menu, serves some of the best Venezuelan dishes in Miami. My favorite is the freshly Griddled Corn Cachapa, the typical Venezuelan fresh sweet corn cakes (in this case more like a pancake), buttery and creamy, encasing grilled queso fresco.
Miranda Cuisine & Bar
EB Hotel Miami Airport
4299 N.W. 36th Street, Miami Springs, FL 33166