I’ve been a fan of Uvaggio since it first opened on Miracle Mile about a year ago. I love the small feel, the bright and warm ambience, the live music trickling in from the sidewalk, and the extensive and interesting wine list. That said, I’ve only really visited a handful of times and those visits have usually been on the shorter side; more drinks with friends or night caps than a full dining experience.
That all changed when I was invited to the unveiling of Uvaggio’s new fall menu, along with a crew of Miami food bloggers and writers. Before I get into the food, it must be noted that the restaurant’s food concept is simple, yet counter intuitive. That means that Uvaggio puts the wine first; a process they actually call “tasting backwards.” The idea is to develop a menu of food that not only compliments the wine, but also enhances the meal as a whole.
Speaking of the wine, Uvaggio’s wine list is full of well-balanced and food-friendly selections. They offer between 30 and 40 wines by the glass every day (in either half or full glass pours), and feature a menu of over 125 wines by the bottle. Pictured above is only one of the five wines we enjoyed during our pairing dinner – an impressive 2014 Rosé of Syrah 2014 from Collinnes Rhodaniennes, France. I wish I would have had the wherewithal to have snapped shots of the other wines, but I was honestly having too good of a time. And you know what a glass of wine looks like anyway, right?
So now, on to the food… The following depicts a five-course meal, highlighting dishes from Uvaggio’s new fall menu. Even though fall in Miami is really not all that different from summer in Miami (it’s still in the mid-80s in mid-November), the food that Chef Tanner served us was very evocative of the concept of autumn. The food was rich, decadent, and warm, but it was not overly heavy nor did it seem out of place or forced.
The first course was Seasonal Salad of fall greens, heirloom tomatoes, strawberries, citrus zest goat cheese, avocado, pomelo, pickled red onion, and BACON CROUTONS! The salad was paired with that delicious Rosé I mentioned before.
The second course was a Duck Confit atop an acorn squash purée with dandelion-sorrel salad, mustard-apple vinaigrette, and a cranberry gastrique. The duck was paired with a bold 2012 Okuzgozu from Anatolia, Turkey.
The third course was a Handmade Potato Gnocchi with roasted wild mushrooms, pumpkin seeds, arugula pesto, and truffle oil. The gnocchi was paired with a 2012 Barbera d’Alba from Piedmont, Italy.
The fourth course was a Slow Cooked Brisket with sautéed baby bok choy, shitake mushrooms, bacon dashi, and a daikon slaw. The brisket was paired with a 2011 Abadia de Gomariz from Ribeiro, Spain.
The fifth and final course was Sous Vide Pork Cheeks with cauliflower soubise, oven roasted carrots, leeks, Cipolini onions, and a tobacco-smoked relish. The pork was paired with a 2013 Patrimonio from Corsica, France.
Mitch’s take: This meal was one for the ages. The wines were all different and new, and when paired with the food opened up new depths of flavors that we weren’t expecting. The food itself kept progressively getting better as each new course was brought out, which is a feat that is not easily accomplished.
It also didn’t hurt that we were amongst a crowd of our favorite #foodiefriends. We love our #foodiefriends.
Standout dishes: You really can’t go wrong with any of the four main dish options, but in my opinion the three meats stood out the most. And from that crowd, my mouth still salivates at the thought of that brisket. The Asian-inspired ingredients provided a new take on the classic comfort food, but did not overwhelm and still allowed the traditional brisket flavors to shine.
As for the wines, just keep refilling my glass and I’m a happy camper.