Oh! Sushi offering fresh Sushi in Doral - CLOSED

December 29, 2011

My laptop has been broken for about a month now and my posts have definitely been lacking this month as a result. When presented with the idea of an interview on my take of my experience at Oh! Sushi by the awesome Alex Rodriguez, I was thrilled. This new restaurant was so much fun and the food was so good that I had been dying to write about it. The opportunity to stand on a much larger soap box and get the word out to more people about this place was one that couldn't be passed up. That said, here is the link to the post in Miami New Times' Short Order:

http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/shortorder/2011/12/miami_food_blogger_fatgirl_hed.php

In this post, I'll simply elaborate on some noteworthy dishes that didn't make the cut of the article and post pictures about the dishes that did. Fair enough? So here's the pictures and tidbits of what DID make the cut:

The Ika Sansai salad: 

The Salmon Fingers:


Soft Maki roll is the center roll: (The neon green roll on the left is the Crunch Maki roll filled with tuna, kimchee, tempura, capelin roe and chive wrapped in rice paper. The Kimchee gave this roll a nice kick. The roll on the right is the Crazy Uramaki roll and it consists of prawn tempura, tuna, chives, sesame seeds and spicy sauce. I'm allergic to all things prawn/shrimp like so luckily for my friend, I didn't have any. For her this was her favorite roll.) 

Takoyaki: 

Now onto the stuff that didn't make the cut. The restaurant offers Japanese beers and sodas, my friend decided to be adventurous and try a Ramune soda. The flavor of the soda was sweet and different, but what made this noteworthy was the pain in the ass hassle you have to go through to open the damn thing. Don't believe me? Well go to youtube, there are tons of people posting videos on how to open a bottle. This video depicted our frustration well : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZ3nlKuNJGg Luckily, the waitresses were eager to help us open the bottle. 

I had their home brewed green tea that comes with slices of fresh green apples. Crisp and very light, I'm not usually a fan of green tea, but I really enjoyed this. 


Also wanted to mention the dessert I had was so simple yet so delicious. Oh! Sushi has concocted the Nutella Maki roll; a banana tempura and nutella filled sushi roll (wait for it...) with a baileys irish cream dipping sauce. This was absolutely delicious and when we were done, I grabbed the bowl of baileys dipping sauce and drank it straight up when no one was looking... don't judge me. 




Something else that is noteworthy is the fact that Oh! Sushi also acts as a mini asian market. They have a corner of the store stocked with all sorts of Asian goodies and sweets that aren't available in normal markets. 


I genuinely enjoyed this place; the fun and vibrant colors, the helpful staff and the freshness of the food were all great. The restaurant is a casual place selling fresh and great sushi in Doral, definitely not where you'd expect to find this place but definitely worth the drive. 

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Restaurant Details:
Oh! Sushi
(305) 629-8442
9036 NW 25th ST
Doral, FL 33172
www.ohsushi.com


Oh! Sushi on Urbanspoon

Asian Fusion style brunch at Gigi

December 22, 2011

The first time I went to Gigi it was two days after their grand opening and Chef McGinnis was at the helm. The food was bad and the service would have been better had it been self-serve. The experience left such an impact that I didn't return until a month ago to hesitantly check out their brunch. In the over a yearlong hiatus from the restaurant, McGinnis had made his exit and a new chef had taken over the reins. My experience was so positive that my mind had been completely changed about Gigi’s.

Luckily, the food had improved greatly; at least I can attest that the brunch offerings were good. I started with their french toast. Although, their version of French toast doesn’t really involve what us westerners consider usual toast. No slices of brioche or challah bread here kids, this appeared like a fluffy, airy and oversized pancakes topped with a delicious mixed berry compote, rice krispies and a giant slab of delicious honey butter. The mixed berries tasted wonderfully with blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and even blueberries tossed in. The rice krispies were sheer genius; they made the dish fun, jovial and gave it a fun little crunch. Slather on some of the honey butter and you can’t help but make an “O” face while eating this concoction. This was definitely one of the standout dishes in my book. .

Up next, I moved onto something a little bit more savory and had their poached egg with grits and bacon. This dish comes nicely organized; a bowl of grits with a handful of scallions, red peppers, shredded white cheddar cheese and pork belly with a poached egg in the middle. The grits were really well cooked, creamy and although the presentation is nice, this dish was meant for destruction. So take out your frustrations and mix all that pork belly, cheesy, eggie goodness together. The peppers and scallions give this dish a nice dimension of heat and spice that you wouldn’t typically see in grits and it’s counter-acted by the creaminess of the egg yolk, cheese, and grits themselves. The pork belly is just great, nicely cooked and salted just right. Definitely comfort food with a great twist.
We also tried their cornbread with honey bacon butter. The cornbread itself was a bit dry, but the bacon butter really made this bread pop. The butter had the bacon's smokey flavor with a tiny sweetness of the honey. Lathering on a generous helping of the butter really made any of the bread's dryness feel irrelevant. Had the bread been fresh and warm from the oven, this would have been a total winner. The butter alone is just great, I was left wanting to lather it on everything, toast, eggs, the bumper of my car, you name it and I thought about it.


My date went ahead and tried their avocado tomato salad. The tomatoes were different colored variations and seemed beautifully ripe. The avocado was also fresh and ripe. The salad also comes with slices of hearts of palm and it's all tossed in refreshing homemade citrus vinaigrette. I didn't try the salad because I was too busy stuffing my face with bacon butter and french toast, my date did say it was a very refreshing salad. I will attest that it looked insanely fresh and colorful.


While my date south beached it with his salad, I decided to throw down on their braised short rib meat loaf. The way I saw it, this was almost like an Asian fusion take on vaca frita. The outside of the meatloaf is slightly charred and making the meat a little on the crisp side, I personally liked this. The inside of the meatloaf is shredded and juicy short rib. The meat itself has a nice drizzle of soy molasses over the top that give it a nice hint of sweetness, I personally really liked the meatloaf by itself. I felt the tiny side salad that was served alongside of it was superfluous and completely irrelevant.
Lastly, for dessert we had their chocolate banana buns. A sweet take to their savory staple. These buns are made with chocolate, slathered with nutella, and then filled with caramelized fresh banana slices. Holy smokes, these buns will have you rolling your eyes to the back of your head and make you twitch your right foot, like a happy dog getting his belly scratched. They're ridiculously good and so simple. You'll have to catch yourself from inhaling them in two bites.

I have to admit that after such a bad initial experience at Gigi over a year ago, this place has really turned itself around. This time around the food was great and hit the spot, whether for brunch or a 3 am fix on a Friday night. If you are in need of some good Asian fare in Midtown definitely, check this place out. The best part is that prices range from $4.00 to over $20.00 at any given time, so there is something there for every pocket. If you are one of those paranoid types, you can always sit at the bar and watch the chefs make your food in the completely exposed kitchen. However, if you sit at the bar you will see more than your cooks preparing your meal. It's been my experience that Gigi has a fly problem. With flies flying around the open airy kitchen from time to time. One gripe I will share about this restaurant is that Gigi’s charges for water and no, I'm not talking about bottled water. They charge a $1.00 fee for tap water; I think that is ABSOLUTELY ridiculous. The restaurant states the surcharge is because they filter their own water, but one could always counter that other restaurants, such as Harry's Pizzeria, filter their own water and DO NOT charge. I digress. Other than that, it’s definitely a place to try if you’re in the area and craving asian.
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Restaurant Details:
Gigi
(305) 573-1520
3470 North Miami Avenue
 Miami, FL 33127
www.giginow.com


Gigi on Urbanspoon

Phuc Yea One Last Phucing Time!

December 9, 2011

So the Pop Up restaurant that sprouted in Downtown Miami on September 8 is finally dwindling to its grand finale. Phuc Yea (pronounced as fook-yay, but who are we kidding?) was a hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese restaurant that would take over the Crown Bistro at night and had no qualms with crossing the line or trying adventurous new things. From offering free entrees if you complete their cinnamon challenge successfully (ingesting an entire tablespoon of cinnamon in one shot) to serving up jellyfish salad, porchetta di testa (salted pig face) and even periwinkles (snails), these guys never held back. Some of this stuff was right up Anthony Bourdain or Andrew Zimmern's alley and definitely not up mine.




I was lucky enough to check out Phuc Yea's phucing menu a total of 3 times. They changed their menu almost weekly; keeping it funkdified phresh with constant hip-hop jams such as ODB, Jay-Z and even WuTang blasting in the sound system.

On my final visit I started out my meal with their Salt 'n Peppa Soft Shell Crab. Truth be told, I had never had soft shell crab so what I got was no where near what I expected. The menu states it comes with spicy aioli, coconut, beer and herbage, all the things I like so what could be so bad? What I got looked like something straight out of a Goosebumps book and all I could say to myself was, "What the fuck did I get myself into?!" The crab was perfectly preserved and fried in its entirety. Naturally, I poked at it with my chopsticks for a few seconds expecting it to jump up and run off my plate. Finally, I decided to close my eyes and dig in, what I got was a totally pleasant surprise. The crab meat was tender, fresh and even though it had been fried it didn't taste greasy at all. The spicy aioli gave the crab an awesome little kick and extra creaminess. The best part was to grab a little bit of everything in one harmonious bite, crispy coconut, aioli and crab. When I was done I felt both proud and satisfied, like I had just completed a tasty challenge on FearFactor.

Up next I decided to scale back and go with something less exciting but just as delicious, their Short Rib Bao Buns. These little guys are so cute and miniature that you almost don't want to eat them, but phuc it. Them thangs are good! The fluffy Bao bun comes filled with short rib, hoisin, fresh jalapeño and herbage. This Polly pocket sized sandwich packs a spicy punch. The short rib is well seasoned and the bun feels like your biting into a handheld cloud. An awesome little treat, definite not enough to share (especially if you're me).

Lastly, I had their dessert. A phenomenal mix of condensed milk ice cream, pound cake and sesame seeds. Although this dessert seems simple on paper, it's was phucing wonderful. The nutty and slightly saltiness of the sesame seeds mixed in with the rich condensed milk ice cream dance on your taste buds.


By the end of the night, we had eaten well and drank extremely well. We ended the night with hugs and kisses, but mainly lots of well wishes and luck for Daniel Treiman, Cesar Zapata and Anièce Meinhold and all of their future endeavors. Here's to adventurous new eats wherever they go. This place closes tomorrow night, December 10, 2011 so get y'all phucin asses over there and check it out before its gone forever!

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Restaurant Details:
Phuc Yea (CLOSES ON 12/10/11)
19 SE 2 ave.
Miami, FL 33131
http://www.phucyea.com/



Phuc Yea! on Urbanspoon






Rosa Mexicano puts the App in Happy Hour

December 5, 2011

It was a stressful day at work when I decided to grab a girlfriend and drag her to happy hour in Lincoln road. We had grown tired of Doraku, Sushi Samba and Nexxt Cafe and decided to peek our heads into Rosa Mexicano to see what they had to offer. Rosa Mexicano’s Lincoln road location had opened its doors to the public earlier this year and I’ve been interested in trying it out ever since. We found they did indeed have a happy hour menu, albeit a short one. The place itself is funky and modern looking with large metal columns and colorful walls throughout the large restaurant. The menu offers a handful of appetizers at special prices and some drink specials. To our waitress' surprise we ordered every food item on the happy hour menu and two margaritas to help wash it all down, naturally.


While we waited for our drinks, we snacked on their spicy peanuts. Instead of bread, this restaurant offers its patrons peanuts roasted in their spicy house seasoning mix. These little suckers definitely pack a punch and the worst part is once you start eating them you can’t seem to stop, these little guys were just like Pringles. So by the time our margaritas came we were really thirsty and in need of a cool down. My friend and I got their traditional margarita. It tasted fresh and was definitely refreshing after those spicy ass peanuts. The flavor of the tequila wasn’t overpowering, but no doubt a couple more of those would’ve had me singing, “Las Mañanitas,” in the middle of the Lincoln road fountain.

We ended up with five appetizers on our table and the first one to appear was the Ensalada de Mercado, otherwise known as their market salad. It was a simple salad, nothing extraordinary. It was mixed greens, halved cherry tomatoes, orange segments, red onions, carrots and radishes tossed in a very flavorful and light honey-lime vinaigrette. The menu stated the salad also comes with avocado; however, the avocado was mysteriously missing from our plate. None the less, it was a good salad to get the palate started and for only $3.90 you really can’t ask for more.



Up next we moved onto their Tacos de Pollo (chicken tacos). The pulled chicken is served on warm flour tortillas and topped with cilantro and chopped onions. Alongside the tacos is a chile de arbol salsa that gives these little tacos an awesome yet subtle kick. The chicken itself is slightly charred and really well seasoned, smother on some of that salsa and you’ve got a party in your mouth. I really enjoyed these and wouldn’t hesitate getting them again. The best part is that they’re small, about 2-3 bites per taco, so I didn’t feel bad when I was tempted to order 10 more.

The next set of tacos we got were their Tacos de Panza con Callos de Hacha, in other words pork belly and sea scallop tacos. Definitely an interesting combination between the scallops and pork belly so I was slightly hesitant to try it out. These tacos are served on the same flour tortillas as the chicken tacos. Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed with these. The pork belly tasted great and was perfectly cooked. The scallops, on the other hand, were so miserably under-seasoned that it dragged down the entire dish and made the whole thing taste bland. The tacos are topped with a citrus habanero salsa which was very delicious all on its own. I ended up taking the scallops out completely and just eating the pork belly and citrus salsa on its own. The hint of orange and lemon flavors with the pork belly went really well together.


Up next we tackled the Flautas de Pollo. Their flautas came out smothered in a variety of different sauces. The three chicken flautas are rolled and lightly fried, then topped with salsa verde, crema, salsa pasilla de oaxaca and queso fresco. The combination of the salsa verde, crema and queso fresco made me say, “Well slap my ass and call me Consuelo.” The best part was that these awesome fluatas from Mexican heaven only cost $4.50 during their happy hour.


Finally, we had their Queso Fundido or melted cheese fondue. If you know me, you know there are two things I really can’t live without (other than Family Guy of course) one of those things being cheese. So when I saw melted cheese fondue on the menu I started clapping my hands out of glee and chanting, “Hercules Hercules!” I digress, the fondue came topped with smoky chorizo and chopped cilantro. The menu specifies that it also comes with rajas, or roasted mexican peppers, but our waitress informed us that they were out of them at that time. This was easily my favorite dish. The fondue is served with flour tortillas for easier eating and portability. The smokiness of the chorizo with the fresh flavor of the cilantro went perfectly with ooey-gooeyness and slightly saltiness of the chihuaha cheese. I would have this again in a heartbeat and just thinking about it is making my mouth water.
Rosa Mexicano is one of several New York restaurants that have made their way to Miami Beach in recent months. Their happy hour menu is not only very affordable but a great way to sample what this restaurant has to offer. My girlfriend and I had 5 appetizers and 2 drinks and spent only $40 (including tip). If you’re in the Miami Beach area looking for Mexican food in a funky and modern place or are in need of a good happy hour, definitely give this place a shot. For a neat treat, you could order their guacamole and watch them make it from scratch with fresh ingredients tableside. Their happy hour offerings may not be many, but overall they’re great.
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Restaurant Details:
Rosa Mexicano
(305) 695-1008
1111 Lincoln Road
 Miami Beach, FL 33139
http://www.rosamexicano.com


  Rosa Mexicano on Urbanspoon

Nothing Dutch about the Dutch

November 20, 2011

So yet another New York transplant has made its way to Miami Beach; The Dutch opened its doors to the public this passed week. We headed over to The W South Beach hotel where The Dutch is located and I can honestly say I had never seen so much collagen, fake tits and skin tight mini dresses in my life. There were all sorts of hoes running around that hotel, tourist hoes, guidette hoes and chonga hoes lookin for their papi chulo. We made our way to the restaurant after getting slightly lost inside the hotel. The restaurant looks similar to one of those Ikea display rooms with little odds and ends atop modern looking bookshelves throughout the place. The staff at the door and bar all looked like Abercrombie & Fitch models and were friendly. The restaurant was filled with people laughing and genuinely having a fun-filled time, at first glance the place looked very promising.

Once we sat down our waiter, was kind enough to go over the menu. We looked over it and had a hard time narrowing down what we wanted. One thing we did notice, there is nothing particularly Dutch about the menu, none the less, they had an eclectic selection of food. My date opted for bottled sparkling water (he’s fancy like that) and the runner that brought out the sparkling water had a hard time understanding the concept that only one person wanted sparkling water. Not only did the runner have a hard time understanding this, so did our waiter. Even to the extent of pouring sparkling water into my humble cup of flat water. Besides that minor snafu, our dinner was relatively smooth sailings.

We started out with their complimentary cornbread. It was really soft, moist and flavorful. Lather it up with some of their homemade buttah and it sky rockets to another level. You get a whole mini loaf to yourself and you cant help but have just one bite. You have to be sure to eat it with caution, you can easily eat the whole loaf by yourself and be full before your appetizer hits the table.

Immediately after our bread, we were presented with our three different appetizers. First I’ll cover their Spicy Coconut Lobster. The presentation on this was really neat; it’s served in a halved coconut shell over a plate filled with crushed ice. The lobster itself seemed almost like a lobster ceviche served in a creamy sauce. Although, there wasn’t much spiciness to the dish as its name would suggest, it was very flavorful and fresh. My date only allowed me one bite of this dish, because he’s not only fancy, he’s also greedy. So I’m not able to elaborate too much on the sauce or minced vegetables that were in it. All I can attest to is that the one bite I had definitely left me wanting more. The lobster was tender and the sauce really popped with flavor.

Up next I had their Roasted Beet Salad. The salad is comprised of pieces of fresh grapefruit, fresh goat cheese, pistachios, giant chunks of roast beets and some arugula sprinkled over the top. I had honestly never had beets before and this was my first time having them (truth be told, I’ve been a vegetable-phobe the vast majority of my life) and I really loved the flavor of the roasted beets. I loved the combination of goat cheese and grapefruit alongside the intense flavor of the beets. It worked really well and the little added crunch from the pistachios was a fun touch to this out of the ordinary salad. Only two slightly negative things I have to say about this dish are as follows: the actual chunks themselves were too big and I would’ve preferred them cut into smaller mouthful pieces and I would’ve loved to see more goat cheese on this dish instead of a light sprinkling. Other than that, I really enjoyed it.
We then moved onto their Steak Tartare. The menu states that the tartare is served with arugula, truffle dressing and walnuts. However, the dish we were served had the steak tartare, over a phenomenal truffle dressing, a fried quail egg, crostini and arugula. I personally loved this dish and it was easily the best dish of the night. The truffle dressing was creamy and intensely flavorful, the meat was fresh and the crostini added a great crunch and variety of texture to the whole dish. The quail egg just made this already great dish even better. I found myself scraping the plate with my fork trying to get every last drop of truffle dressing when it was all over. It was that good.
We then moved onto the their Blue Crab Pizza that comes with tomato, zucchini, jalapeno and thinly sliced cucumbers. I didn’t try this appetizer because I was trying feverishly to save room for my entrée and dessert. My date ate the whole pizza like a champ. It was a very thin crust and served on a large wooden cutting board. The colors on the pizza were bright and all of the ingredients appeared fresh. He did say that he felt the flavor of the crab meat was slightly lost amongst the overpowering flavors of the pizza sauce, jalapeno and cucumbers. None the less, we continued our journey.
We finally moved into our entrees. I kept it simple and went with their Pappardelle with lamb ragu, homemade sheep’s milk ricotta and minced mint over the top. I loved the freshness of the pasta and the sauce was wonderfully great but in no-way overpowered the flavor of the lamb, if anything the lamb’s flavor was enhanced by the sauce and the tiny hint of fresh mint went perfectly. These folks didn't skimp on the meat either, this was a heavy meat sauce with tons of meat in every bite. The ricotta also had a great, creamy texture. Again I would’ve liked a bigger dollop of ricotta on my pasta (keep in mind I’m a total cheese hound and I always want more cheese). This dish was a true testament to how different a plate can be when you use fresh ingredients. I honestly had no complaints about this dish and wouldn’t hesitate in having it again.
My date had their Maine Sea Scallops with heirloom cauliflower and citrus. His dish was so colorful and it looked absolutely delicious. That greedy bastard didn’t share any yet again. The dish had three of the biggest sea scallops I have ever seen set a top two different sauces and a wedge of what looked like mandarin orange over each piece. I’m embarrassed at the lack of details I have about this dish because it looked so damn good. The cauliflower was so brightly colored and looked like they had just picked it from the garden. Atop of that there was also a small sprinkling of pine nuts and caramelized onions. He gobbled that dish up like a marielito during Noche Buena and he didn’t hesitate to tell me that it was his favorite dish along with the steak tartare. Bastard.
Finally, we wrapped up the night with a fat slice of their Devil’s Food Cake. This was so delicious, it was chocolate cake with a really thick chocolate fudge frosting in between each layer of cake. The flavor of real chocolate and fudge beamed through and the side of White Russian ice cream tied in perfectly and helped mellow the richness of the chocolate cake. This dessert just made you keep eating more. My favorite part of this dish was the icing on the cake, the menu states it’s a black pepper boiled icing. I didn’t necessarily taste any black pepper and if you ask me the icing seemed like a thick and creamy meringue that added a nice creaminess to the cake. I love chocolate and the intense flavor of real dark chocolate had me at, “Hello.”
I really liked this place and wouldn’t hesitate in going back. Overall, the food is great and fresh, the location is ideal for people watching and the restaurant is aesthetically pleasing to the eye (if you like Ikea catalogues) My only major complaint is that there are no restrooms inside the restaurant itself. If you need to excuse yourself to the bathroom, you’ll be gone for about 30 minutes because the nearest restroom is on the other side of the hotel. The price range of this place is a little on the high side, so its definitely a place to go if you want to splurge or impress a hot date. Either way, it’s a place to check out if you’re looking for good food or tourist hoes in the hotel lobby.

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Restaurant Details:
The Dutch
Inside the W South Beach Hotel
(305) 938-3111
2201 Collins Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139

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