Miami Spice Halftime Report

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…! Wait, maybe that’s Christmas. Anyway, although the song may be referring to something else, for us Miami foodies, Miami Spice is most definitely one of the most anticipated occurrences on our calendars. It’s a magical time when Miami’s best restaurants offer up mouth-watering promotions consisting of three-course meals at reduced prices ($23 for lunch; $39 for dinner) that showcase the very best of Miami cuisine.

Running from August 1st through September 30th, we’re just over the halfway point and we’re here to provide you with MMTM’s first-ever Miami Spice Halftime Report. Sorry we can’t bring you any all-star performances from the likes of Beyonce or *NSYNC and Britney Spears, but we can offer up some of our thoughts on the menus we’ve tried so far.

Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard Restaurant & Wine Bar
Chef Adrianne’s has somewhat of an uphill battle when it comes to their Miami Spice menu: first, the restaurant is kind of far and second, they only offer lunch. Although available 6 days a week, for most of us, it’s not that easy to get away for a long 3-course lunch during a work day, especially to deep Kendall. Despite all of those detractors, if you are able to make it M-F or decide to make the trek on a Saturday afternoon, you will not be disappointed. Chef Adrianne’s Miami Spice menu is as diverse as it is delicious: appetizer options include Amalfi Caprese Salad, Niman Ranch Crispy Braised Pork Belly, or a Chef’s Special (we had Chicken Lollipops); entree options include Surf & Turf of Filet Mignon and Shrimp, Brown Sugar Crusted Salmon, or Handcrafted Pasta of the Day (we had Spaghetti); and for dessert a Dark Chocolate Nutella Croissant Bread Pudding.

MMTM Menu Picks: Pork Belly, Surf & Turf, and Bread Pudding. Actually, if we could have eaten 3 courses of Bread Pudding we would have. IT’S THAT GOOD.

Hakkasan
Hakkasan’s Miami Spice approach is different from all the rest. Offering pre-set menus, everyone shares all options and dish size is dependent upon the amount of people in your party. In our opinion it’s what Miami Spice is really all about, a chance to try a little bit of everything that a restaurant has to offer.  Visit for dinner 6 nights a week (no Saturdays) or head on over for a dim sum brunch on the weekend (lunch is only offered on Saturday and Sunday). We chose brunch; $23 for 7 courses, need we say more?

MMTM Menu Picks: How refreshing to not have to choose for once! Just sit back, relax, and enjoy your Dim Sum Platter, Barbeque, Deep Fried Crispy Snapper, Sauteed Baby Pak Choi, Noodle, White Chocolate Panna Cotta, AND Mango Custard.

TK’s at the Villa Mayfair
TK’s is one of those menus on the Miami Spice website that you probably skip past because you’ve probably never heard of the restaurant. It’s not as flashy or trendy as some of its South Beach or Design District counterparts, but TK’s is a beautiful hidden gem in Coconut Grove that will surprise you if given the chance. Their Miami Spice menu is available five days a week (Tuesday through Saturday) for both lunch and dinner, and is all about pairing classic proteins with trendy, new and unusual accompaniments, crusts and sauces. We visited during dinner and experienced a menu that offered Pear & Gorgonzola Ravioli, Hemp Seed Crusted Ahi Tuna, or Steak Tartare for appetizers; Grilled Veal Loin, Dover Soul Roulade, or Roasted Cornish Hen with Garlic and Cilantro for dinner; and Brazilian Flan or Blueberry Crostata for dessert. Also, while not included as part of the Miami Spice menu, TK’s offers a Mojito Madness list of approximately 20 different kinds of classic and flavored mojitos. Definitely worth checking out to accompany your meal.

MMTM Menu Picks: Steak Tartare, Cornish Hen, and Blueberry Crostata. Drink add-on: Chipotle Cacao Mojito.

Red, The Steakhouse
Steakhouses are some of the most popular Miami Spice options and it totally makes sense because they’re usually the most expensive restaurants in town. South Beach’s trendy Red, The Steakhouse is no exception, which is why we decided to give their dinner-only, weekly themed (classic steakhouse, Italian, Spanish, Asian) Miami Spice menu a shot. Our visit fell during the Spanish-inspired rotation with appetizers that included Caldo Gallego Soup, Agridulce Salad, or P.E.I. Mussels; entrees that included “Ajillo” Shrimp & Bucatini, Roasted Ashley Farms Chicken, Besugo al Horno, or a 5oz. Filet Mignon; and Crema Catalana or “Arroz con Leche” for dessert. As with most trendy South Beach joints, Red offers great atmosphere, impeccable service and good food, but also a lack of substance (read: small portion sizes and too many “upgrade” options).

MMTM Menu Picks: Mussels, Shrimp & Bucatini, Arroz con Leche. That’s right, we didn’t include the steak for our menu picks at a steakhouse because the portion size was tiny (5oz???) and we weren’t about to pay more for an upgrade ($19 extra for 3 more ounces). Also not worth it was the extra $5 we paid for the dessert upgrade to Chocolate Tres Leches; it was good, but we just can’t seem to understand why it cost $10 more than the other options.

Rusty Pelican
After a big-time renovation a couple of years ago, the powers that be are working hard to solidify the Rusty Pelican as more than a touristy spot with a great view (the view is still spectacular, by the way), and this year’s Miami Spice menu is doing just that. Available 6 days a week for dinner (no Saturdays) and 5 days a week for lunch (weekends are out), the Rusty Pelican menu offers full-size portions – impressive since many restaurants trim them down to match the reduced price – and big, bold flavors. Followed by some warm, house-made corn bread, dinner options include Short Rib Empanada, Corvina Ceviche, Salmon Tartare, or Smoked Tomato appetizers; Grilled Swordfish, Branzino a la Plancha, Tempura Shrimp, or Barolo Braised Lamb Shank entrees; and Rum Tres Leches or Key Biscayne Lime Pie desserts.

MMTM Menu Picks: Empanadas, Swordfish, and Key Lime Pie. Recommendation: don’t hold out for dessert (they’re good, not great) and take advantage of the large appetizer and entree portions.

Michael Mina 74
Michael Mina 74 is a beautiful American bistro with a distinctively non-Miami feel. It’s modern, creative, and hip, yet very laid back. It’s dark, woody, old fashioned, speakeasy-style decor is so not about the “see and be seen” mentality and really lends itself to late night dining, which is why we can totally get behind its dinner-only Miami Spice menu. Available 6 days a week (Saturdays are out), appetizer offerings include a Japanese Wedge Salad, Lamb Meatballs, Ahi & Hamachi Poppers, or Burrata-stuffed Tomatoes; entrees choices of Florida Snapper, Berkshire Pork Belly, or Buttermilk Fried Chicken; and either Rocky Road Profiteroles or Mascarpone Cheesecake for dessert.

MMTM Menu Picks: Poppers, Fried Chicken, and Profiteroles. Warning: don’t be enticed by the friendly servers behind the shared plate carts. Despite their attractive look and seductive descriptions, you simply don’t need them; the Miami Spice menu offers more than enough food. Plus, by not trying them during Spice you have the perfect excuse to go back during the other 10 months of the year!

Bourbon Steak
And finally, we’d be remiss not to recall Mel’s preview of the Bourbon Steak Miami Spice menu.

MMTM Menu Picks: Corn & Lobster Chowder, Rib Eye, and Pineapple Parfait.

So, what are you waiting for? You’ve got 27 more days to bask in the gluttony that is Miami Spice. We feel like we’ve only just scratched the surface, so we’ll definitely be making the most of this second half. Don’t miss out!

Mitch & Mel

P.S. Be sure to check back in early October for our overal MMTM picks for the “Best of Miami Spice.” Will your favorites make the list?

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