Chef Zé Carlos Jiménez's whole career is a balancing act. As a child growing up in Cuautia Morelos, Mexico, he spent his afternoons in a de facto apprenticeship in his grandmother's kitchen. He watched her roll handmade tortillas and tinker with spices before finding just the right blend to balance out her homespun dinners. As an adult, Chef Zé Carlos treats his own kitchen as a playground, paying homage to his grandmother's family recipes while fusing traditional Mexican street food and fine dining—a style he calls New Mexican Gourmet Cuisine.
The menu—complete with a touching epigraph to Meche, his grandmother—is a compendium of his attempts to blend the two worlds. On the haute end of the spectrum are dishes like the Nopales salad, brimming with pickled cactus and his own housemade vinagrette. Fish-and-shrimp tacos sprinkled with fresh cilantro hold down the street-food side of the culinary fort. Where the menu shines, though, is somewhere in the middle, with dishes such as the molcajetes—Spanish for "stone mortar." The upscale take on Mexican comfort food blends beef or shrimp in the eponymous stone dish along with the tastebud-tingling flavors of nopales, chorizo, and roasted tomato-tomatillo sauce.
Town Kitchen & Bar's Executive Chef Michael Altman earned his whites in New York City, working under renowned restaurateur Charlie Palmer. When Altman moved to Miami in 2005, he brought with him a flair for crowd-pleasing American cuisine that can be seen in his menu of brick-oven pizzas, Black Angus burgers, and shareable bar nibbles. Classic egg and pancake breakfasts fill bellies on the weekends and come accompanied by mimosa and bloody mary specials. Town’s decor blends the industrial with the sleek, mixing exposed ductwork and high ceilings with leather booths and pendant lights. The bar stays hopping seven days a week, offering a daily happy hour that lasts three hours, as well as ladies’-night promotions. As they listen to a DJ’s tunes, revelers can sip microbrews, specialty shots, and signature cocktails such as the Spring Samba—Veev açai and St.-Germain elderflower liqueurs with agave nectar, lemon, and cucumber. The bar discounts many bottles from its nearly 200-strong list of domestic and imported wines throughout the week; it won a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence in 2012.
Imlee. An Indian Bistro's creative kitchen staff blends local and imported ingredients in its array of vegetarian, chicken, seafood, and lamb dishes. In this way, they have been serving the Pinecrest community a small taste of India since 2003. The menu spans several regional traditions of Indian cooking, from North Indian clay-oven-baked meats and naan to South Indian chicken madras, in which boneless chicken is saut?ed with black mustard seeds and curry leaves. The menu also features more than a dozen vegetarian dishes, such as mutter paneer?green peas cooked with spices and herbs and mixed with housemade cottage cheese.
Much like the dishes, the restaurant's dining room pays homage to the subcontinent. Beneath a billowing red cloth that meanders across the ceiling, alternating red and yellow walls host patterned artwork and surround metal sculptures. In this artistic ambience, diners peruse the wine list's ample pairing options or just dip the list itself in sweet tamarind chutney.
Sushi may be synonymous with Japan, but Chef Adrian Rojas draws on international influences when creating Miyako Japanese Restaurant's menu. In addition to working in modern sushi bars, Chef Rojas has cooked his way through Europe and South America. The flavors he picked up along the way add tasty flair to each plate, whether he's rolling up sushi or cooking a noodle dish.
Chef Rojas and his team infuse unexpected notes into hot entrees such as breaded, deep-fried pork, or spicy chicken saut?ed with onions and carrots. But it's the sushi rolls that best represent the kitchen's culinary fusion. The red kryptonite roll, for instance, combines spicy tuna with jalape?os, while the coconut shrimp roll holds tropical ingredients including guava and mango. Equal detail is lavished on presentation?rolls and sashimi can be strapped into tiny life vests and loaded into sushi boats, or served atop live models during body sushi events.
Shula's 347 Grill is named in honor of Hall of Fame Coach Don Shula, the winningest Coach in NFL history, with 347 victories! Shula's 347 Grill follows a long line of successful restaurants, all founded on the same famous tradition of Shula's Steak Houses.
Old Lisbon brings the cuisine of Portugal to Miami, saving diners a 3,400-plus-mile trans-Atlantic swim and complicated lessons on how Portuguese grammar uses mesoclisis. The estrela of Old Lisbon's menu is the classic Portuguese dish of bacalhau, or codfish, and the restaurant features several variations on it—including grilled bacalhau with steamed potatoes, olive oil, garlic, and onions ($19.95) and deep-fried bacalhau flanked by shrimp, mashed potatoes, and a creamy garlic sauce ($20.95). For diners who love seafood but hate fish for stealing their boyfriend, Old Lisbon offers other oceanic entrees, such as a fresh seafood and fish stew served with steamed potatoes ($22.95) and a seafood rice for two with lobster, New Zealand clams, New Zealand mussels, squid, and shrimp ($44.95). Old Lisbon draws from the lay of the land as well, with meat dishes and vegetarian dishes. The Delicia de Fatima dessert tops egg-yolk custard with cookie crumbles and cream to create a sweet treat with the untested ability to distort the space-time continuum, while Old Lisbon's extensive selection of wines offers definitive proof that, despite mounting scientific evidence to the contrary, grapes aren't inherently evil.