From behind an ultramodern lounge filled with jewel-toned sofas, exposed-brick walls, and black leather booths, Trio on The Bay's chefs forge a menu of surf 'n' turf, using local vendors and sustainable practices whenever possible. On the patio overlooking Biscayne Bay, waiters swing from canopies bearing sizzling steaks accompanied by locally grown vegetables or pan-seared scallops with a wild mushroom risotto and lemon crème fraîche. Chefs also cater to off-hour hunger pangs with Sunday-morning brunch and bar snacks, which blend the seafood hub’s signature flavors into palatable egg dishes and portable snacks.
Trio on The Bay hosts special events every Friday and Saturday night beginning at 10 p.m. Revelers head to the chandelier-sprinkled lounge to take in the flat-screen TVs and vacation slide shows from 1973, or retire to the outdoor patio's cushioned rattan chairs for drinks under the illumination of light-festooned palm trees and fire pits.
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Though Benny Ojeda's kitchen is packed with a mélange of frying pans, butcher knives, pots, and spatulas, his most treasured tool might be his giant wooden mortar and pestle. It's this massive contraption that the skilled chef uses to make his renowned mofongo dish, a deliciously chewy concoction that was lauded by reporters from Miami New Times and featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives as well as The Best Thing I Ever Ate. Benny fills the tall mortar with fried plantains, garlic, olive oil, and housemade pork rinds, and then pounds the mixture into a fluffy pulp. He scoops his mofongos into wooden bowls, sending them out of the kitchen plain or topped with buttery lobster, crispy chicken, and juicy steak.
Diners eagerly await mofongos out in the colorful dining room, where water trickles down from an elegant stone fountain and walls are painted to resemble a rustic Puerto Rican village or a convincingly disguised space ship. Some sip on imported beers and fresh fruit juices, and others sample traditional dishes from Benny's native Cabo Rojo—dishes such as stewed pork belly, rice with pigeon peas, and seafood ceviche. Before meals are through, waiters offer guests a tiny cup of complimentary coquito, a creamy blend of coconut, rum, and cinnamon.
In the bygone era of the saloon, few cowboys got to munch on endives stuffed with crabmeat and cilantro. And though The Lost & Found Saloon bears old-fashioned decor—a long wooden bar, rustic tables, and a wagon wheel converted into a ceiling light—visitors aren't confined to period eats. Instead, they bite into marinated eggplant with three melted cheeses or grilled shrimp with sage and thyme. Chipotle is a favorite seasoning, flavoring burgers, salads, mahi mahi, and even tofu melts. For breakfast, diners enjoy scrambles and omelets made with eggs from free-roaming hens. The rest of the day, sips of cold beer offset the heat from dabs of various hot sauces, including a house blend made with real chunks of house.
Pizza Volante's meat-and-cheese disks are fired to Roman-style crispy perfection in a wood-burning oven. The signature Volante pie is a margherita, stacked with prosciutto di parma and sun-dried tomatoes ($16). Dissolve the sea's ionic bonds with a Sicilian-sea-salted circle (marinara, garlic, anchovies, Sicilian sea salt, $12) or touch multiple types of cheese on the Bianca, crafted with fontina, chenel goat cheese, arugula, thyme, local cow's milk mozzarella, and bufala milk mozzarella ($15). As a mozzarella bar, Volante champions the soft, milky ropes and curdles; choose a type of mozzarella to try (Burrata D.O.P costs $15, locally made cow's milk varieties cost $8) and accompany it with zucchini salad, Florida tomatoes, olives, capers, organic arugula, and more. Salads, sandwiches, paninis, and a weekly changing selection of pasta (try gnocchi Bolognese for $12 on Sundays) round out Pizza Volante's menu into a melty cheese wheel rolling down a marinara hill and leaving rich cheese deposits in its wake.