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Gastronomique, Without Fiesta

February 19, 2012 Leave a comment

I love tasting food. Tasting menus, wine tasting flights, tasting events are definitely my favorite way to experience food and wine. When I’m in the restaurant which offers a tasting menu, when affordable, I would always go for one.

Last year in Miami we went to the Sra. Martinez restaurant, we took the tasting menu, and it was a great experience – I wrote a blog post about it, which was titled “Fiesta Gastronomique“. The tasting menu which we took had about 10 different dishes, all brought to the table one by one, by the different people, given all the explanations about the food, in a perfectly orchestrated performance – hence the “Fiesta” in the title.

This year we went to another restaurant of the same chef, Michelle Bernstein (she owns Sra. Martinez), called Michy‘s (we even saw chef for a few minutes talking to the customers). Same as last time, we decided to go for the tasting menu. There were two tasting options available – one with an addition of the cold appetizers and one without. When we asked for advice as to which one would be recommended, our waiter told us that unless we are very hungry, he suggests taking the shorter menu – boy, were we happy with his recommendation as dinner progressed.

I can assume by now you are wondering why the post’s title leaves only Gastronimique and removes Fiesta from this experience? We had an amazing food -but it was presented in a different style. We still had all the explanations, yes, but the food was arriving all together in the family style setting – first three appetizers, then three entrees and then two desserts – all exquisite, great tasting food – but Fiesta was not there – it was rather quiet and relaxing gourmet dinner. Don’t get me wrong – I highly recommend Michy‘s and would gladly come back, and in case you are in Miami – don’t miss it, I’m just doing my best to convey the experience we had.

Anyway, let me entice you with some pictures and some additional notes. First, let’s start with wine. The wine list looks very good, with lots of different selections (it has more of a world-wide flare, where wine list at Sra. Martinez had decidedly bigger selection of Spanish wines). We ended up drinking 2009 Sicoris Costers del Segre DO, which is a blend of Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Merlot and Syrah. The wine have good fruit, medium to full body, a little sharpness on the edges but with good overall balance of fruit, tannins and acidity (Drinkability: 7+).

Our first appetizer course consisted of three different dishes. The first one, called Squash Blossoms with creamy polenta, was the best, simply incredible in the balance of taste and texture:

Foie Gras with Stuffed Pancake was also very good:

And then Beets Salad (how did they know I’m a sucker for a beets salad?):

Next three entrees showed up. First, Homemade Fettuccine with Carbonara Sauce – delicious:

Next, Slow Cooked Short Ribs – out of this world! These short ribs were cooked for 6 to 8 hours, and it was showing. Also, they perfectly paired with Sicoris wine, which was an added bonus:

Last, but not the least entree was Snapper in Malaysian Sauce – tasty dish, and very large in size, so once again we were very happy with the fact that we took shorter version of the tasting menu:

Now, the dessert course included two dishes. First one was Brioche Bread Pudding – it was good, but not my favorite:

And the last dessert, Baked Apple Pie, was another “to die for” experience – probably the best Apple Pie I ever had:

All in all, it was a great experience – great food, great wine, outstanding service (impeccable is the right word). Thank you for the wonderful meal, Chef Michelle Bernstein! [Ahh, watching too much Iron Chef…] Cheers!

Michy’s
6927 Biscayne Blvd
Miami, FL 33138
(305) 759-2001
http://michysmiami.com/

Michy's on Urbanspoon

Fiesta Gastronomique

February 17, 2011 1 comment

Some blog titles come in easy and naturally. Some require the painstaking effort to come up. Right after I had an idea for this post, I knew that the word “Gastronomique” will be a part of the title. The first word took some time – but based on the meaning of the word “Fiesta“, I think it fits here perfectly – please read on and tell me if you’re agree.

This post essentially continues previous one about Miami Restaurants – but this time I want to talk about only one, called Sra. Martinez, which is one of the restaurants of the famed chef Michelle Bernstein. Why I think this restaurant deserves a special post? It doesn’t provide food – it provides experience, something which will stay in one’s memory for the long time, and will be relived again and again.

To deliver “experience” in such place as a restaurant, you need all the elements to be just right, almost perfect (yes, can be the other way around – but that doesn’t belong to this post). Service, ambiance, atmosphere, food, wine – all should play together. Even price – but price is a subjective category when you pay for experience, probably QPR (using popular wine terminology) is a better term. Sra. Martinez got it all – the service, the food, the wine, the ambiance (and even QPR).

Our waiter, Oscar, or OD as he called himself, was amazing – always there when you need him, always with the right explanations, always with the right advice. Sorry, I understand, I sound now a bit “overly excited” – but service of this level is truly rare experience – unfortunately.

Next, of course, is wine. Wine list is very reasonable in size, with great selection of spanish wines – I didn’t mention yet that Sra. Martinez is  tapas restaurant – therefore having good selection of Spanish wines is quite appropriate. We’ve chosen Rioja Cincel Gran Reserva 1995 (doesn’t seem to be even available in US through wine-searcher). The wine was food friendly, smooth, with good acidity and tamed fruit expression – and I don’t think it was even ready, probably need another 10-15 years to shine. It did work quite well with many dishes we had.

For the food – and this is where Fiesta comes to mind – we failed to choose what tapas do we want. Therefore, we had no choice but to subject ourselves to the hands of chef, in the form of the tasting menu. Boy, was that the right choice! It was true fiesta of flavors, textures and tastes, a true food experience. From this point on, I really need to let pictures tell the story – I only regret I was unable to capture all the dishes we had. It is also very interesting to note that if you look in the menu, you will see sea salt listed as one of the ingredients in the number of dishes – and it is truly a distinguishing ingredient which makes dishes unique. This was probably best use of the salt I was ever able to experience. And now, almost in the order of appearance, here is what we had in our tasting menu:

Arugula Salad with thinly sliced pear, parmesan cheese and sea salt (wow!) – no picture, but this was one of the best combinations of simplicity and amazing taste.

Bacon wrapped dates and croquettes with fig marmalade:

Eggplant chips with molasses and sea salt:

Crispy artichokes (wow!):

Catch of the day with israeli couscous:

Squid ink risotto ( incredible richness):

sautéed Kale with garlic:

Short Ribs ( incredible – thinly sliced and stacked, with sweet and salty sauce):

Lamb chops ( one of the best I ever had):

Garbanzo stew:

Brussels sprouts with bacon and fried egg:

Sweet corn with smoked paprika, smoked chile and lime – incredible again, you just can’t stop eating it:

And finally… desert! Never had chocolate flan before – wow!

The End (a.k.a. Bottom Line) – if you are in Miami, do it for yourself – visit Sra. Martinez. And if you will not think this is a fiesta, please tell me what Fiesta is…

Sra. Martinez on Urbanspoon

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