Mooie's furnishes unoccupied stomachs with an ample array of hot and cold comestibles in an energetic, family-oriented environment. Transform a wheat or spinach BLT wrap ($5.95) into a BATLOG wrap by adding arugula, onions, and garlic oil, or thaw out freezer-burned buds with a hot roast-beef-and-cheddar sandwich ($7.95).
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.
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.
Moonchine Asian Bistro's lunch and dinner fare congregates the exquisite dishes and soy-sauce sensations of Vietnamese, Thai, and sushi traditions. Embark on a Southeast Asian gastro-voyage on a pontoon of crab rangoon ($6.95) before exploring the Thai-style Gang Dang red curry ($12.95)—super-charged with bamboo shoots, bell peppers, and coconut milk—or Indochine fried rice ($12.95). Sushi samplers can dabble in a variety of fish-squeezed rolls, such as the Vampire Roll ($9.95), packed with shrimp tempura, tomato, and roasted garlic to exasperate and/or melt Draculas and their ilk. Irrigate a bellyful of Asian cuisine with an appropriate libation, such as the popular Gekkeikan Cap Ace Sake ($9.50) or the Hakutsuru Sake Draft ($8.50). Banana tempura with vanilla ice cream ($6) and the fried Thai doughnut ($6) highlight the coffee and dessert menu, providing after-dinner sweet-tooth appeasement or pre-dinner appetite spoilage.
Metro Bistro's executive chef artfully assembles a menu that focuses on the simplicity and seasonality of local, organic ingredients. Beef, such as the house-smoked NY strip carpaccio ($15), is organic and grass fed. Metro Bistro's chickpea cakes pile-drive organic avocado, butter beans, red onions, and tomatoes before delivering the knockout blow of organic lemon vinaigrette ($15). Grilled, wild-caught mahi swims in shaved organic fennel and organic watercress with organic cilantro drizzle ($17). A tongue-tickling selection of wine and organic beers slakes the thirst of parched humans and experimenting flamingoes.