Miami Spice – Three Times As Nice

Returning to Miami will always remain one of the highlights of my travel lifestyle.  This town, South Beach specifically is still the town where I’ve clocked in the most of my adult life years, so each time I roll into town, it’s a mix of a party or partying until the late hours at any of the chic nightlife spots, a reunion with my numerous friends who still reside there and a treasure hunt of the great new restaurants that pop up each time I visit, while never knowing how long they’ll stick around.

One thing is for sure that when I return to Miami, at least once a year, it is always around the Miami Spice “Restaurant Week” festival that has graciously turned into a two month long extravaganza of cuisine.  This was an event that I knew and loved for many years as a local and having tried Restaurant Weeks in nearly every major city in the US, it’s one of the premiere events in my opinion.

This time around, after dedicating every night to a different locale, I decided that I’d share my favorites, as these three absolutely blew away the competition in every way.

First comes first, right?  So, what restaurant wears the crown for Miami Spice 2012 in the kingdom of Jetsetter Gypsy?, that would be Michy’s.  Absolutely phenomenal in every way is how I’d describe my experience here.  Having dined here previously during regular restaurant season a few years back, I knew what to expect in terms of quality, inventiveness and service, but those three factors can often be forgotten in the theme of a restaurant week.

Michy’s did not forget one detail.  The cuisine of Michelle Bernstein did not disappoint, as it never has in the past.  She cut no corners in her pre fixe 3 course menu selection and did as most chefs should do, highlighted the best of her restaurant in order to motivate less frequent diners to return on a normal basis.

The combination of flavors used in each sauce was out of this world, my favorites being the curry mussels appetizer, the yellow fin carpaccio and the swordfish clam bake.

But wait, Michelle’s feel good homestyle gourmet deserts were truly the icing on the cake, no pun intended.  The chocolate chip bread pudding was absolutely to die for and the banana crème pie with tres leches was the most inventive Cuban / American fusion desert that I’ve ever tried, and loved it.

The best thing of all is that the service did not skip a beat.   Our server was attentive and knowledgeable about everything on the menu and even suggested some great wine to accompany our Miami Spice selections.

All in all, Michy’s has made one new fan that night, my friend accompanying me to the meal and a lifetime loyal follower in myself!

Keeping things classic and dependable across the board is Smith and Wollensky.  You may ask why I recommend such a place as you can dine here at a number of cities across the US and try nearly the same menu items, but it’s quality, quality, quality that never gets sacrificed.

Smith and Wollensky was a monthly staple when I lived in Miami Beach just because of it’s amazing views and great Thursday Happy Hours outside, where the bay opens up to the ocean.  It was always a must do for Miami Spice and the menu and service has not failed or changed in quality of offerings since.

Known for their ample portions of filet mignon cooked to perfection as well as fantastic fresh fish offerings, you’re never going to go wrong at Smith and Wollensky and the fact that they offer their top selling classics for Miami Spice, even better, as this is just as rare as I like my meat.

Also, greatly appreciated is the special wine pairing menu and wines by the glass offered at the special rate for Miami Spice.  These are not inferior wines, but are straight off of their wine list, just offered at a better price to sweeten this deal.

If ever you’ve wanted to go to Smith and Wollensky and feel like it would be a strain on your budget, then go during Miami Spice, you’ll fall in love with the food, the view, the service and you’ll surely return again.

So, are you wondering who my third restaurant pick for Miami Spice Champions would be?  Well, if there ever is a restaurant that defines chic fine dining, it would be STK.

Sometimes I think that they should rename themselves OMG, as the food is amazing and the ambience even better, which rarely comes hand in hand.   Furthermore, I was absolutely against participating in their Miami Spice menu due to previous experiences of the ultra chic / trendy fine dining restaurants just disappointing when it comes to what they offer menu wise.

STK was a far cry from the random pasta and free range chicken “delicacies” that most of their competitors would offer in a restaurant week type pre fixe menu.  For that, they’ve gained my respect.

The highlights of the night, which I’m still daydreaming about the next day were the foie gras and porcini mushroom ravioli and the pork shank combined with pulled pork and arugula.  Their simple combinations of complimenting favors, one not overpowering the other, were perfect.

Above all of the amazing food was one of the most lively and fun DJ’s, Danny Sterin, spinning all night long.  He totally set the scene for the chic environment that we were in, just beckoning us to stay around for more after dinner drinks, and making up for any lack in server / table service that came earlier throughout the meal…Oh, did I say that?, Yes, I Did!.

I guess that’s what happens when fine dining does automatic 18% Gratuity, the service goes down the tubes.  Regardless, it was a phenomenal night, the amazing bar staff totally made up for the earlier lack in service and I’d highly recommend STK, Miami Spice or not!  I will I be back…for sure, just sitting in a different waiter’s section.

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