Miami Spice Preview at The Fontainebleau Miami Beach
August is almost here and in Miami that means Miami Spice. Over 215 restaurants are perfecting their craft to make sure every bite of your 3-course experience is as perfect as the last. Priced at $23 for lunch and $39 for dinner makes Miami Spice a time of year for trying new places or visiting old favorites. Recently, the iconic Fontainebleau on Miami Beach invited a group of us to visit and try out their Miami Spice menu. If you have been watching Grand Hotel, you know that this is as elegant a night of dining as you could ask for.
What’s special about the Fontainebleau is that they have a number of wonderful restaurants to dine in. Each with its own experience so unique and delicious that it’s hard to believe they’re all a short walk from one another. We were lucky enough to visit three of their more popular options: Scarpetta, Hakkasan and Stripsteak.
At each stop, every restaurant on the tour got to show off, as they regaled us with tastings from their personalized Miami Spice menus. We had sides of all kind: Pak Choi with sautéed mushrooms, bright arugula salad with pine nuts, grilled brussels sprouts. We had plates of fresh branzino, tender octopus, shrimp stuffed dumplings, crispy chicken and juicy steaks, all paired with hand-crafted cocktails.
There was too much food to write about it all, so instead I’ll stick to the dishes and drink that made the night memorable.
Scarpetta was our first stop on the Miami Spice food tour. We were handed refreshing lavender cocktails with a candy garnish and made our way to the back of the restaurant where we sat in the sunlit dining room.
One honorable mention before the main course. Scarpetta’s branzino was fantastic. A crispy, delicate skin-on filet with vegetables.
The main course was Chef Scott Conant’s signature spaghetti with tomato & basil. Every noodle was a tender, unique bite. All of the pasta in Scarpetta is made from scratch.
Next up was Hakkasan, one of Fontainebleau’s Asian restaurants found on the third floor. The elevators opened to a dimly lit maze of Asian decor. We were seated in the back alongside a fresh cocktail tailored to the experience. We were served dumplings stuffed with shrimp and beef, fried chicken skewers with sweet and spicy dipping sauces, and an assortment of other dishes. But for me the attention grabber was our cocktail.
“The 24 Carrot,” said the head bartender as he presented a short glass of fresh carrot juice, lime juice and a shot of mescal. A bit of a cinnamon syrup concoction gave it a nice warmth that coated your palate.
And as for the name, a 24k gold dehydrated lime sat on top the drink to crown this cocktail the drink of the night.
The final stop was Stripsteak by Michael Mina and Fontainebleau’s steakhouse. Back down to the lobby floor we entered through the restaurant and walked down a flight of stairs into a dim, candlelit scene. We were greeted at the bottom of the stairs with a drink and a smile and sat at our tables.
There were charred brussels sprouts, velvety mashed potatoes and macaroni in a beautiful white cheese sauce. Their Instant Bacon was hedonistic, something about fatty, gelatinous pork belly paired with juicy grilled pineapple made every bite a joy. To think that those were only the sides.
The main star of the night was finally brought out. Their filet mignon is 8oz, charred and glistening. A pink flush, evenly cooked through. A piece of tender meat, a smear of the garlic confit it laid on, and a small mound of mashed potatoes made for my favorite bite of the night.
The dessert course held its own after the impressive opening act. Key lime pie decorated with a citrus salad and toasted meringue. A bowl of banana pudding done up with roasted banana ice cream and spicy pecan. Tart, sweet and all very decadent.
After the meal everyone slowly trickled out through the lobby, the famous black and white bow tie tile below our feet and the crystal chandeliers overhead and out into the Miami night. The three restaurants leaving us in a haze. Miami Spice is a well thought out occasion at Fontainebleau and with this tour only showcasing a fraction of the restaurants, one can easily see themselves coming back.
Miami Spice begins Aug. 1 and runs through September 30th. There will be hundreds of experiences like the one at Fontainebleau all over Miami, time to go out and find your next favorite restaurant.
Check out our new MIAbites YouTube video channel featuring the Fontainebleau Miami Spice Dine-Around
4441 Collins Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33140