Deal or No Deal?

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Seems as though just about every restaurant is offering some sort of Miami Spice-type "deal" throughout this season. This is a good thing, but not always quite as good as it looks. Take I Corsini's recent offer for a three course meal, including a glass of house wine, for $33. We haven't yet been to this upscale Italian restaurant, which opened last month at 560 Washington Avenue in South Beach (where Baire's Grille had been), and so there is no reason to doubt that chef Beppe Galazzi's cuisine is fresh and well-prepared. We would like to tell you a little more about Galazzi and I Corsini, but the website for this American restaurant is written in Italian!

First course choices are ribollita, a bread-thickened Tuscan soup; gran farro, a spelt and bean soup; or pappa al pomodoro, which is a salad of tomatoes, basil and day old bread moistened with olive oil. Second course is a pick between caprese salad of tomatoes, basil and mozzarella; panzanella salad of tomatoes, red onion, basil, cucumbers, olive oil and bread; or crepes filled with asparagus and gorgonzola cheese. If you're thinking of taking advantage of this special menu, let's hope you like tomatoes and bread.

Main course brings pumpkin tortelloni with butter and sage; spaghettini with seafood (clams, mussels, cuttlefish and shrimp); or a "petite" steak with potatoes and vegetable. So in sum, a dinner will consist of soup with salad or crepes, or salad with salad or crepes, plus either pasta or a small steak. If you selected either of the soups to start ($7), then chose any second course ($9), and finished up with the pumpkin pasta ($15), and decided to pay regular a la carte prices, it would come to $31 -- or two dollars less than the "deal". But then I suppose you wouldn't get the glass of what is no doubt spectacular house wine.

Add tax and gratuity to the $33 and the bill becomes $45-plus. Valet parking is $5, or the cheaper meter option $3, so now it's really a $50 dinner. Note how dessert isn't one of the course options? Guess that was an oversight. Add a napoleon and cappuccino and it's $60-plus. But let's assume you walk to the restaurant and don't have dessert or coffee -- is even the cheap-tipper base price of $45 a "deal" for soup, salad, and either pasta or a flimsy square of steak? We'll let you decide. The folks at I Corsini evidently think it is so special an offer that they are applying it only between the hours of 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Plus there might be someone standing by the restaurant entrance holding a hoop for you to jump through.

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