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New Times' Iron Fork Recap

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Jackie Sayet
​The

Presidente flowed as Chef John Critchley laid the culinary smackdown on

Giancarla Bodini for the 2009 Iron Fork title.  Critchley's on a

winning streak, with his seafood-celebrating Area 31 having been

recently named one of Esquire magazine's best new restaurants this year.

Our

focus, however, was the side show -- edible offerings of 40 South

Florida restaurants through which crowds weeded mowed.  Here are some

highlights:

- Whisk's

fall-off-the-bone pork with golden honey cider barbecue sauce on a bed

of slaw with corn bread cube was a balanced bite.  Rumor has it,

brother-sister owners, Brendan and Kristin Connor are scouting for

bigger digs, still in Coral Gables.  We approve, as long as they find a

way to maintain the restaurant's intimate charm.

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Jackie Sayet
​- Urbanite Bistro's

bite of deer was upstaged by its tuna, masago, and

seaweed salad on crisp, asymmetrical wonton shards, both in

presentation and flavor. This seconds-worthy bite was enough to

encourage us to plan a visit to its Wynwood home.

- It was a pleasure to catch up with Chef Sean Brasel who manned his Meat Market booth

with class and panache, serving up tender slices of perfectly-cooked

skirt steak on a bed of frisee.  Brasel will be joining chefs Clay

Conely, Michael Bloise, and Michael Schwartz at the January 10 Dinner in Paradise at Paradise Farms in Homestead.

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Jackie Sayet

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Jackie Sayet
​- Managing the sweetness of tropical fruit-based sauces is no easy feat, so we were impressed by MiMo's Le Cafe and its nuggets of a halibut-style fish lightly dressed in mango.

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Jackie Sayet
​- Gimme some more goat!  South Beach Haitian mainstay Tap Tap

may have scored our favorite dish of the night with its spicy goat,

served with a smile by General Manager Gary Sanon-Jules.  Its

finger-licking bone-on bites left lips tingling from a habanero-laced

vinegar sauce.

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Jackie Sayet
​- Gordon Biersch showed up on its best behavior, labeling its Kobe burgers "American."  What a difference some newsprint makes.

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Jackie Sayet
Au Pied de Cochon's macaron with duck mouse.

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Jackie Sayet
Chef Allen's team presented shrimp salad profiterole while he emceed and judged the cooking competition.
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Jackie Sayet
Judgement.
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Jackie Sayet
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Jackie Sayet

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