Culinary Highlights from Terry Zarikian
Week of September 22th
My week started on a bright note with an invitation from my friend Tatyana Silva to join her at Forte Dei Marmi, the restaurant she meticulously created almost a year ago with two Michelin Stars-chef Antonio Mellino and his son Raffaele, who is permanently in Miami creating the most amazing dishes in town. With Tatyana I had a preview of new things to come. A tasting of pristine fresh Crudos (can’t tell you what yet!) will impress the most discerning diner for its freshness and the top quality fish and shellfish that Chef Raffaele is able to procure. That alone is the basis for the reputation Forte Dei Marmi has garnered. Tatyana and young Chef Raffaele are getting ready to unveil a refreshing Sunday Brunch, which, comparatively speaking, won’t break your bank account, and I forecast will become the place to be and unwind with friends till sundown. During dinner, one dish that impressed me, available in the diverse FDM Miami Spice Menu is the Prime Beef Filet Millefeuille,” a Napoleon-style tower of filet mignon, buttery sautéed oyster mushrooms, baby peppers served with a sumptuous potato log that has been baked in meat juices. The whole creation is enrobed in a rich, and cloying demi-glace. Expect to see this dish in the regular 2017-2018 season menu!
Forte dei Marmi
150 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach
Just a week ago when our electricity came back at home on Brickell, we went back to La Mar by Gaston Acurio for yet another stellar dinner. Chef Diego was coming back that night from San Francisco, and we didn’t want go overboard, so we ordered in moderation: the Empanadas de Aji de Gallina, tender shredded chicken with aji Amarillo, pecans and soft manchego cheese pies, to share. Mikey, as usual, had the Lomo Salteado, but I opted for the Salmon Fusion, domino size pieces of seared salmon, over bok choy, kale and broccolini, in a dreamy coconut milk and Peruvian pepper curry served with a side of white rice chaufa. Dieguito arrived and caught us infranganti, and sent us my favorite dessert, La Lucuma y el Chocolate, a Peruvian chocolate mousse with caramelized grains from the Andes, which include crunchy quinoa and sesame seeds, along with two lucuma fruit bombs, that I refer to as sinful bon-bons.
La Mar by Gaston Acurio
Mandarin Oriental Hotel
500 Brickell Key Drive
As much as I have never been a fan of Indian cuisine, I had heard so much about Ghee Indian Kitchen I wanted to go. It was so hard to get a table that it took a hurricane to slow things a bit down and get me in. My friends who took me, swore it was one of the best in town, and for them, without a doubt, the best Indian they ever been to. With all this in mind, I stepped in with extremely high expectations, which I have to say, were more than met. Among the dishes we tried were the odd, stunning looking, Rancho Pate Avocado Bhel, a concoction of avocado, puffed rice, green mango and other things that tasted like garbanzo, all coming together pretty well. The Davi Vada, the traditional Indian Lentil fritter soaked in yogurt sauce and dates tasted like ethereal polenta balls, without the polenta that is, but softer and earthy. Like little eyes looking back at you, is the best way to describe the Green Millet with cilantro and Sev, the crunchy garbanzo flour noodles that often add that extra texture to a dish, and then, of course the uplifting, uber fragrant braised Smoked Neck of Lamb, a dish that made me dizzy and high. Yes, I mean it, totally.
But, for those who might be leery of any animal collar, I wholeheartedly recommend the Short Rib Dosa, the classic crisp fermented rice crepe filled with a fantastic fresh roasted tomato based beef rib with coconut and dal (a stew of lentils, peas and beans). The purity and spirituality of Chef Niven Patel is expressed in the dishes he serves at Ghee Indian Kitchen.
Ghee Indian Kitchen
8965 S.W. 72nd Place, Miami