By Mitchell Nover
Since opening its doors in 2008, Meat Market (915 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach) has managed to establish itself as one of the few quality dining options on the deteriorating Lincoln Road food scene. With rave reviews and numerous awards, the flagship location (there are now two more Meat Markets in Palm Beach and Puerto Rico) has quietly made a name for itself with a winning formula of taking the staples of a classic steakhouse and putting an artful, contemporary spin on them, attracting a stylish fan base looking for more than just red meat.
Menu highlights: Executive Chef and Co-owner Sean Brasel has created an ever changing menu that is highlighted by prime cuts of beef, fresh fish, seafood and poultry dishes alongside scrumptious sides and appetizers. Speaking of those sides and apps, I dove right in to Meat Market’s extensive lineup of offerings, trying a wide-ranging array of international dishes, such as: Tuna Tartare with ginger, soy, avocado smash, mango mole, and citrus foam; Roasted Escargot with spicy chorizo butter, and grilled crostini; ultra-cheesy Gouda Tater-Tots; and the Palm Beach favorite Roasted Cauliflower with lemon, parsley, capers, parmesan, EVOO, and cauliflower puree that has now made its way south to Miami Beach.
Meat Market’s desserts are both luxurious and sophisticated and, along with the appetizers, create fantastic bookends to any meal. Case in point, the Vanilla Bean Crème Brulée, served with coconut and oat crumble, blackberry sorbet, mixed berries, and orchid petals. I’m not generally a crème brulée fan, but this version was both creamy and rich, while also being tart and refreshing, and might just have converted me (at least temporarily).
Standout dish: When it comes to a standout, how could it not be meat-centric? I mean, the word “meat” is literally in the restaurant’s name! And, in true “market” style, I couldn’t choose just one, instead opting for the famous Signature Steak Sampler. The specific inclusions do vary, but on this particular dine I enjoyed a trifecta of Prime Short Rib with Niman Ranch prime parsnip pudding, Seabass with boniato mash, and Prime Picanha with habanero chimichurri. These three perfect portions all had very distinctive flavor profiles and textures, and really showed off the different sides to the Meat Market dining experience. I’m also just a sucker for a sampler, if I’m being honest. Why choose a single entree, when you can get multiple dishes in one?
Are we boozing? With Meat Market’s extensive wine and cocktail list, how could we not? On a hot summer’s eve, the Strawberry Fields (Cruzan Rum, housemade strawberry shrub honey, bitter lemon soda, hibiscus rim) and White Sangria (Belvedere Peach Nectar Vodka, St. Germain, fresh pineapple, fresh OJ, sparkling rosé) were both refreshing, seasonal cocktail options that helped refresh the palate for the decadence to come. Once the food came out, however, I did switch over to a nice glass of red.
You can also enjoy nightly Happy Hour specials at Meat Market, featuring half priced drinks and a variety of fresh oysters, ceviche, and shrimp 5-8PM.
Check this place out if you like: meat, obviously. The picahna in the sampler had me craving those unlimited slices at Fogo de Chão, but if you’re more inclined to the “modern steakhouse” experiences, you can try Red, STK, or Bourbon Steak.
Mitch’s take: When I think of Lincoln Road, the last thing I think of is quality food. The outdoor pedestrian mall and tourist mecca has slowly, but surely lowered its dining standards over the year, pandering more and more to the throngs of out-of-towners looking for a generic (and overpriced) meal. There’s just something about the whole strip that seems outdated now that other neighborhoods have moved up on the list of area hot spots. That said, there’s the exception to every rule, and, in the case of Lincoln Road, Meat Market is the exception that makes it still worth visiting.