Culinary Highlights from Terry Zarikian
Week of October 27th
Enjoy Terry Zarikian's weekly account of some of the newest restaurants in South Florida, along with many of his all-time favorites.
This week Terry dines at La Centrale, Fi’lia by Michael Schwartz, and Mina's Mediterraneo.
As a preview of La Centrale at Brickell City Centre, the 40,000 square foot Italian Food Hall featuring 20 regions of Italy via 14 eateries, managing partner Jacopo Giustiniani opened his Brickell home for a superb dinner prepared by chef Vincenzo Scarmiglia. From the Pesce restaurant, we savored a wonderful Ceviche Siciliano with red snapper, cherry tomatoes, and battuto di Pantelleria, fully cured, this lemon ceviche version was not as raw as the South American versions. The Risotto Tartufotto with white truffle by Savini Tartufi, cooked to perfection, was served with and ample amount of fragrant truffle shavings table-side. From the Carne restaurant, the Brasato: Amarone, a tender braised short rib, was lean as all its fat had been rendered, and was served with creamy soft polenta. And for dessert, a Budino, a thick butterscotch pudding with whipped cream and freshly baked cantucci completed the sit down portion of the dinner. And après dessert, a cart serving La Centrale Granita in Limone or Mandorla (almond), sent everyone home dreaming of the Italian Dolce Vita opening this December!
Brickell City Centre
S.W. 8th Street, Miami, FL 33130
Over a year ago Michael Schwartz opened Fi’lia becoming “the” Brickell area neighborhood favorite! Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it serves simple and honest Italo-American cooking. During dinner, a table-side cart preparation of a classic Caesar Salad is one of the best in town, and many die over Sam’s Chicken Parm at Fi'lia. But I prefer the Braised Short Rib Crespelle, a stuffed, refined cannelloni pasta. Chickpea Fritters, crunchy and robust with the flavor of parsley, are accented by a roasted tomato aioli. Large plates to share (well, the whole menu is shareable) include a charred Wood Grill Chicken with a savory bread pudding-like stuffing, pine nuts and currants. During this week’s lunch, accompanied by NYC mega-lawyer Diane Greenberg, we enjoyed an addictive Charred Eggplant Spread with bottarga and toasted fresh baked bread and a multi textured Beef Carpaccio with crispy sunchoke, green onion, pecorino and mustard vinaigrette. A sumptuous Chocolate Budino topped with caramel sauce and sea salt was complemented by a Brandied Cherry Butter Cookie. Delicious!
Fi’lia by Michael Schwartz
1300 South Miami Avenue
Miami, FL 33130
Got to start backward, and praise the Baklava at Mina's Mediterraneo, a light, crisp, mildly sweet rendition of this middle eastern specialty - the best in Miami! Now we can start with Mina’s authentic Arabic dips: Tzatziki, Tahini, Hummus and Baba Ghanoush. Also “best”, their Greek Kreatopita, phyllo empanadas filled with aromatic ground beef, onion and pine nuts. Instead of fried Kibbeh, try their baked version, like a Middle Eastern Meatloaf of Cracked Wheat with ground beef, caramelized onions and golden pine nuts and the Stuffed Grape Leaves, served warm filled with meat, rice and onions and a nice contrasting side of garlicky fresh Tzatziki. Last - the very charred whole baby Branzino is just wonderful, even if its cooked a little more than it should, but worth getting that crisp skin crackling away!|
749 N.E. 79th Street
Miami, FL 33138