An imaginative and sophisticated farm-to-table restaurant with a serious focus on seasonal ingredients awaits Miami foodies. This is an establishment that noticeably prides itself on creativity, hospitality and most importantly, using the finest local ingredients hand picked from their very own garden. It is a restaurant that exudes class the second you walk through the doorway. It is a restaurant that would undoubtedly stand up to world-renowned eateries in New York and San Francisco. It is a place I plan to visit every time I travel four hours south of Tampa from this day forward. Eden Roc Renaissance’s 1500 Degrees is culinary excellence at its very best.
This past weekend, my boyfriend and I took a weekend trip to Miami to see one of our favorite comedians, Aziz Ansari perform at the Jackie Gleason Theatre. I had just visited South Florida with my girlfriends less than a month ago when 1500 Degrees, an award-winning steakhouse located in the heart of Miami Beach was strongly recommended. My friends and I followed this outstanding reference to have one of the very best meals I have ever had in my life- that is no hyperbole. It is a fact. This past weekend, I had one of the best meals of my life, all over again. Same fantastic server, same alluring ambiance, same inspired dishes.
We began our night with their Thai basil martini and a strawberry basil Gin cocktail. These drinks were heavenly sweet and smooth with a nice kick from the basil. Hand muddled fresh herbs and fruit shined delightfully with every sip. Our server John (requested for after my first particularly fine experience) was excited and knowledgeable in his menu explanations and suggestions. He politely convinced us of the Ahi tuna Poke and the Short rib Stroganoff as starters. The Ahi tuna Poke, a Hawaiian dish consisting of raw tuna marinated and cubed was paired with a julienned cucumber and hearts of palm salad, drizzled with sriracha aioli. Having just been to Hawaii several months ago and self-proclaimed tuna experts, we were skeptical of this dish. No need for skepticism here. The tuna was incredible. Full of flavor and right on in texture, it was an absolute treat. The salad, crisp, refreshing and topped with black sesame seeds complemented the tuna perfectly.
Next up was the Short-rib stroganoff. Served in a cast iron skillet, hand-made pappardelle noodles were piled high and in a rich brown sauce with short-rib falling apart every inch between. Accessorized with green spring peas, this dish was mouth-watering worthy the instant it was delivered to our table. Beef Stroganoff will never be the same.
It was time for our main courses. Florida grass fed Wagyu Ribeye and Striped bass were served with a side of brussels sprouts and cauliflower in a whole grain mustard sauce. John had raved about the ribeye, begging us to try it. This guy knows his stuff. Cooked to the desired temperature with not a single degree to spare and sliced beautifully, this steak ranked supreme. So tender and juicy, its lusciousness almost brought a tear to my eye. I am normally a devout fan of tenderloin but this Ribeye changed my mind on steak forever.
Moving onto the striped bass proved quite difficult after a few bites of the succulent steak but my fork forced me to it. This bass was fresher and flakier than any mild white fish I’ve ever had before. Served on top of grits with a whole roasted heirloom tomato nestled to its side, it was really something special. Sweet roasted garlic cloves and a balsamic reduction harmonized this dish to great precision. My only criticism was in the execution of the grits. With all that this dish had going for it, I felt that the grits were a little under seasoned and the texture was lacking an ideal consistency as well.
The grilled Brussels sprouts and cauliflower concoction was just divine. Tossed in an incredible whole grain mustard and brown butter sauce, these rustic vegetables did not stand a chance. Full of unforgettable flavor, I was surprisingly shocked by my new found love for Brussels.
After a second truly amazing and authentic dining experience, I did my research. Turns out, 1500 degrees' bar-none brilliance can be directly credited to its chef, Paula DaSilva who was a final contestant on Hell’s Kitchen and who has received numerous awards for her contributions to South Florida’s culinary community. 1500 degrees was also named one of the best new restaurants by Esquire Magazine in 2011. I cannot say I am the least bit shocked by the restaurant’s awards and recognitions. The cuisine, to put it lightly is fantastic. If you have not dined at this gem yet, you are missing quite the show.
Some pictures from my first 1500 Degrees experience in February 2012...
Duck and Hen Egg Waffle
Pork Belly Tacos with Homemade Kimchee
I thought I'd never eat "Sweetbreads"....until now. Sweetbreads over Spring Pea Risotto
Whole Fried Yellowtail with Shishito Peppers and Bok Choy