BLT Steak Miami

It’s officially my favorite season of the year: Miami Spice! $35 for a three-course, prix fixe menu is my kinda season.  At BLT Steak, however, you get a six-course feast (if you count the popovers as one course, which I totally would) for a mere $35. Yes please.  Located in the Betsy Hotel on Miami Beach, BLT is known for its dry aged steaks, giant bread basket, and celeb clientele. While I don’t find celebrities particularly exciting, giant popovers the size of a human head are very impressive. Especially when accompanied by sea salt and warm butter.
Too many restaurants skimp during Miami Spice, listing their lamest and cheapest menu items.  Miami Spice is supposed to be a time for restaurants to showcase their best dishes, which is exactly what BLT did.
We started with a complimentary amuse bouche, a delicious and surprising spread of chicken liver pate and pickled accoutrements.  The pate was rich and smoky, while the pickled veggies added a salty crunch.  Perfect atop warm, soft, crusty bread.

Amuse Bouche: Pate, Fresh Bread, and Pickled Veggies

Yes, I love me some margaritas.  No, I’m not on Spring Break. This was no ordinary, pre-mixed, overly-sweetened margarita. It was my kind of margarita: good tequila, triple sec & fresh lime juice. Three simple ingredients = one perfect cocktail.

Kettle One on the Rocks & a Margarita

Holy pork belly.  Dear Chef Gorenstein: this pork belly was freakin flawless.  The pork was everything it should be: crispy on top, fatty in the middle, and meaty on the bottom.  The lightly-dressed salad on top was a refreshing counterpart to the heavy centerpiece. I swear I saw fennel hiding in the slaw, but I was eating too quickly to get a better glimpse.  I could have easily eaten this as my entree. I’m highly considering coming back solely for this dish.

Cripsy Kurobuta Pork Belly with Thai Chiles, Basil, Radishes & Maple Syrup Glaze

Apparantly tomato, watermelon, & feta is the new Caprese salad.  At first I thought it was brilliant, but now I’m a little bored {yawn}.  I appreciate the use of riccotta salata in this salad as an alternative to feta, although a few thin slices of jalapeno or serrano chiles could have really elevated the flavor. I did appreciate, however, that it wasn’t a pile of cubed fruit and cheese.   The attention to detail in this dish was worth noting.  It wasn’t overdressed .  The cheese was sliced so meticulously that I stared at it on my fork for a solid 5 minutes.  I may have embarassed my dinner guest, but that comes with the territory of dining with an annoying food blogger. And just look at the little sliver of fennel bulb laying ever-so-casually on the salad.  Perfection.

Heirloom Tomato - Watermelon Salad with Polanos, Red Onions, Cilantro, Riccotta Salata & Aged Sherry

 I only had a bite of the snapper because I was too consumed with my own steak, but my friend had mixed feelings.  The hummus was a nice, medi touch, but I think that flaky fish deserves a little textural contrast.  Maybe cumin-toasted chickpeas or maintaining a little crunch with bites of almond.   Regardless, the snapper was presented and cooked beautifully.

Grilled Local Yellowtail Snapper with White Almond Hummus & Citrus Relish

Lately, I’ve been having a minor obsession with shishito peppers. Why? Who knows. Could be the crisp, charred exterior, the pop of sea salt in your mouth after each bite, the range of spiciness depending of the size of each shishito, or the cuteness of these little peppers. Either way, they are the perfect side dish to any meal, especially rich, buttery steak.  Except when you eat the smallest, cutest pepper and wind up burning the crap out of your tongue.  Collateral damage.

Charred Shishito Peppers with Soy-Lime Glaze

 Enter: the dessert omelet.  I guess I didn’t really give the menu’s description of this dessert much thought.  Once I see “key lime” on a menu, my decision-making is essentially over.  Crepe souffle is pretty accurate.  The souffle was puffy, airy, slightly on the savory side.  The passion fruit was awesome: sweet, tangy, syrupy.  I don’t know how my friend managed to finish this, it was so rich and heavy.  I applaud BLT for creating such a substantial dessert in a town where one layer of panna cotta, usually accompanied by a single macaron, is considered dessert. This souffle could have definitely satisfied two people, but again, BLT pulled through with a stellar Miami Spice rarity: one dessert per person.  Some places give you the option to “choose one dessert per two people.”  Excuse me, but I want my own damn dessert with the option of hitting others with my spoon if they try to steal a bite.  What planet do you live on when forcibly sharing dessert is acceptable? Not my planet.

Passion Fruit Crepe Souffle

This key lime bar was art.  Edible, fantastic, sour art.  The Greek yogurt ice cream was on another level.  I thought it was goat cheese or white chocolate ice cream because of the richness and tart flavor, but was admittedly wrong (another rarity).  This was surprisingly delicious, and surprisingly absent from BLT’s non-Miami Spice menu.  The shortbread crust was buttery and crumbly.  I love key lime pie, but this was a better, amped-up version.  I really, really liked it.  I never really, really like anything.  Except being right.  And complaining about how restaurant food could be better.   But this was goooood.  

Key Lime Pie with Greek Yogurt Sherbert

BLT shines on Miami Spice’s participating restaurant list .  My steak  (not pictured: Black Angus Top Sirloin Cap with Chili Butter and Caramelized Cipollini) was perfectly cooked and the chili butter blew my mind.  I mean, seriously good stuff.  The jalapeno mashed potatoes disappeared surprisingly fast from the table.  Green, spicy, and velvety, I may have been the one to make them disappear.   Based on my experience at BLT Steak, I’ve already sent multiple friends there and I will definitely be back.   The price was reasonable, service was awesome, food even better, and the color-changing pool provided a killer backdrop.  Then again, great company doesn’t hurt either.

-Shari

BLT Steak on Urbanspoon

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