By David Minsky
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By Sara Ventiera
By Candace West
By Emily Dabau
By Doug Fairall
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By Laine Doss
He felt correctly. Ferrer succeeds on every level, from the homemade Sangría stocked with apples to the "deconstructed" tiramisu -- chocolate-fudge soufflé, mascarpone ice cream, and amaretto-espresso espuma -- except one. Quite simply, the man needs a proofreader, because the inconsistencies on the menu are so numerous and glaring that you don't know when a dish is innovative or simply a spelling error. The carpaccio, for instance, surely comes with ciabatta toast and not "cibata," and the baby "bock choy" is the vegetable and not the dark beer. I vote for the latter with "Peruvian ahi tuna sachimi ceviche." Interpreted as simply as possible, the dish was a mound of sushi-grade tuna marinated with a host of citrus juices and spices, mixed with hunks of buttery, bright avocado, and served in a martini glass for extra effect.
And surely he didn't really mean that the "My Way chicken quesadilla" was partnered with "caramelized sour cream" or that the "Cohiba tenderloin-sausage mixed brochette" would literally be "served on fire."
Well, turns out that, in the latter two cases, he meant exactly what he wrote. The sour cream had been mixed with savory bits of caramelized onions, adding sparks to a rousing example of a chicken quesadilla that was more poultry than paltry. And the brochette was not flambéed but rather set upon a miniature spit that the diner could turn over a butane fire until the desired results were achieved. We didn't let the goods cook for long, as the nuggets of beef were already dripping medium-pink juice, and the skin on the highly flavored sausage hunks was at a perfect textural contrast to the supple interior. A quick dip in the robust horseradish chimichurri was all the meat needed to refuel our incentive, even after our appetites were exhausted.
17864 NW 2nd St.
Pembroke Pines, FL 33029
Region: Pembroke Pines
Indeed, as per the Spanish fad, the menu descriptions didn't, or couldn't, quite match the customer's vision of what a dish would look or taste like. Fortunately, the surprises are all pleasant ones. In other words, while you may not know at the outset that the delicate tongue-shaped slices of beef in the Japanese salad will be raw, you'll be thankful in the end. Layered like carpaccio, the leaves of exquisitely fresh and shockingly tender meat were blanketed with greens tossed in a gently vibrant miso-honey-chipotle dressing. And while no coddled quail eggs in hardened shells of sugar will be in your fish soup, like you might find at the Michelin-starred restaurant La Broche in Madrid (and now in Miami), you will find a quail egg sunny-side up on top of your "one-eyed" giant hamburger. Garnished with bacon, Monterey jack cheese, and sun-dried tomato mayonnaise, that burger numbers among the best I've had this decade.
Oddly, the "eyes" have it when it comes to appetizers as well. The "Korean BBQ 'Three Eye' Spare Ribs" were like ribs that had been shaved by a knife that in television commercials can cut through a can and still slice a tomato afterward. The succulent results looked like a fan of combs -- the bones as handles and the meat hanging down -- and tasted exactly as if they had been cooked on a Mongolian grill set in the center of the table. Large, crunchy onion rings and crispy spinach were intriguing companions to the ribs.
Ferrer can not only handle a wide disparity of ethnic flavors; he can move easily from bufala mozzarella, arugula, and astonishingly good and reasonably priced risotto -- $12! -- spiked with homemade Italian sausage to halibut that was so translucent and cleanly flavored with a lemon grass-saffron broth that it tasted coddled. He also plates dramatic presentations: The red wine/sofrito-braised lamb shank, for example, arrived with the bone pointing upright and stuffed like a vase with fresh herbs. Underneath, the no-knife-required lamb was cushioned with malanga mashed with goat cheese. Topped with "baby tomato mojo" and napped with a rich sauce echoing rosemary and truffles, the concoction was simply stunning. As was the entire dining experience at Cohiba Brasserie, which does its "excellent" if oft-misinterpreted name complete and utter justice.