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.
focus, however, was the side show -- edible offerings of 40 South
Florida restaurants through which crowds weeded mowed. Here are some
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Gordon Biersch showed up on its best behavior, labeling its Kobe burgers "American." What a difference some newsprint makes.
Jackie Sayet Au Pied de Cochon's macaron with duck mouse.
|Chef Allen's team presented shrimp salad profiterole while he emceed and judged the cooking competition.|