Miami foodies can rejoice because our favorite time of year is just around the corner. Miami Spice, our foodie mecca, will let us dine from August 1 – September 30 like royalty for a mere $39 (lunch is $23) and check out some of our city’s most coveted restaurants.
One of these restaurants is Bourbon Steak by Michael Mina. We had heard endless praise for the place, and recently we were invited to check out their Miami Spice menu in its entirety (yes, all of it) and our expectations were far exceeded. The space is a sybarite’s dream come true. It oozes cool with sleek decor and dark hues accentuated by walls adorned with more than 800 selections of wine.
The evening was a off to a perfect start when we received the first appetizer: Sweet Corn & Maine Lobster Chowder. The colorful dish had fingerling potatoes, red pearl onions and Nueske’s bacon to give it the perfect blend of silky sweetness with hints of spice and bacon, which makes anything a delicacy – in our humble opinion.
As appetizers we also had the Hand-Rolled Angel Hair Pasta and the Tempura Squash Blossom. The pasta wasn’t a very complex dish but quite the opposite. With Parma butter, black pepper and pecorino Toscano (Tuscan Italian cheese) it was the flavors that had a starring role in this dish. Meanwhile, The tempura had Meyer lemon ricotta, ratatouille and garden basil. The squash and medley of perfectly sautéed vegetables in the ratatouille made this dish a vegetarian’s paradise and a cohesive, thought-out companion to the pasta.
Next we journeyed on to the entrees, gifts that kept on giving. We tried the Certified Angus Rib Eye and Tapioca Crusted Yellowtail Snapper and we’re still dreaming about these dishes.
The rib eye was undoubtedly my favorite of the night. I must preface my review by saying that all beef at Bourbon Steak is poached in clarified butter. That’s right, it sits and soaks in perhaps one of my all-time favorite condiments. The process is a staple in all of Michael Mina’s kitchens and the taste of the meat is outrageously good. Ironically, butter wasn’t a prevalent flavor, what it basically did was exalt the seasoning and existing flavors of the meat for a tender and quite spectacular cut of rib eye. To top off the perfection of this dish was the Farro and English Pea “Risotto” with grilled onion relish. The farro was a surprisingly good grain, complementing the rib eye with an extra nutty flavor. The combination was fulfilling and healthy, so I never once felt guilty. In fact, I considered asking for seconds.
The snapper had a perfect coat of batter making for a crunchy coated fish. It sat on a bed of Coconut Forbidden Rice that gave the dish a hint of sweetness. Topped with sugar snaps and XO sauce, it has an explosion of flavors whose hints of spice served as the perfect companions for the rice.
We also tried the Truffle Chicken Pot Pie. The chef explained that he had used hay to smoke the meat, hence the hay smoked confit, breast roulade and sautéed pea shoots that were found in the dish. They were the perfect addition to make this plate come full circle. We heard a few people around us mention that this had been their favorite of the night and rightly so. But unfortunately for me, no other dish that night could quite measure up to the Angus Rib Eye.
Somehow after the myriad of plates that we willingly and deliciously consumed, we still found room to close the night with dessert. Gluttony galore. The Bourban Steak Peanut Butter “Snickers” and Pineapple Upside Down Parfait were the causes of our sins, to be exact. The Snickers was a a play on the popular candy bar and had caramel mousse, chocolate ganache and soft, chewy peanut Rice Crispies. The parfait surprisingly outperformed the Snickers, which I thought would be my favorite of the two. The innovative and refreshing dessert had squared pieces of vanilla pound cake with candied ginger and pineapple previously vacuumed sealed in syrup. Although the former was visually more appetizing, the latter was the pleasant surprise and my favorite.
Bourbon Steak’s Miami Spice menu had a sense effortless continuity. Although there was a variety of dishes, they were all strategically lined up for presentation. We have to mention that equally as impressive as the wide array of food, its quality and taste, was the service. All the ladies at the table where served first and that did not go unnoticed by this gal. Chivalry is not dead, and perhaps most importantly, it’s still alive and well at the Bourbon Steak table. It’s small details such as this that complement the menu for an exquisite dinning experience. Bravo, Mr. Mina – your team and your menu at Bourbon Steak are simply put, superb.
Mel’s Recommendation: This is the first place you should visit during Miami Spice. Forget the other trendy spots that compromise their menus to participate in the program and offer sorry menu substitutes. No one’s cutting corners at Bourbon Steak and you’ll take notice – from service to food – all was impeccable.
Standout Dishes: I was a die-hard fan of the Angus Rib Eye and English Pea Risotto. It was a hearty, yet healthy dish. The meat was one of the best cuts I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying and the farro provided a creative twist that gave an unexpected, delicious surprise.
P.S. Although not on the Miami Spice menu, a trip to Bourbon Steak would not be complete without trying their famous Duck Fat Fries. Do yourself a favor and splurge for them.