2.5 stars for Key Biscayne’s Milanezza

 

Bite into a "combination of milanesa-style meat and pizza"

millaneza

Victoria Pesce Elliott

Call it what you like: schnitzel, cotoletto alla milanesa, wieninleike, tonkatsu, apanados, panado or breaded cutlet. Thinly pounded, lightly crumbed and deep-fried sheets of meat are beloved around the world. At the whimsical new Milanezza on Key Biscayne, waiters explain its namesake creation as a combination of milanesa-style meat and pizza. It took me a moment to figure out that the cutlet serves as a crust that you top with combinations that might include anything from Cheddar, chives, bacon and sour cream to a more classic, pizza-like tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil, garlic and oil.

For those who don’t warm to the idea of fried meat, the menu includes plenty of grilled meats and fish, salads, sandwiches and bar snacks like empanadas and stuffed dates. The milanezzas are available in small or large, and even the small ones are shareable if you are not a huge eater.

Ambience Set in a strip mall next to a Sir Pizza, the eatery has a playful, retro feel with a classic penny-farthing (the old-fashioned bike with the big wheel in the front) attached to the ceiling. Exposed light bulbs and metal chairs add to the turn-of-the-19th century charm. Half a dozen flat-screen TVs, mostly tuned to sports, break the vintage spell. Cozy booths and busy sidewalk tables allow for a more intimate experience. The cute young servers are decked out in bow ties and crisp white shirts or swingy black dresses, while bussers wear white T-shirts, black suspenders and newsboy caps. 


 

What Worked

  • Tender & tasty beef milanezzas topped with brie, sun-dried tomatoes and baby arugula
  • A whisper-thin but still juicy chicken cutlet, that was perfect with lots of melty mozzarella, green olives and onion rounds
  • Cigar-thick french fries, still-in-their-skin batons that are served hot, crisp and golden
  • Delicious quiche stuffed with minced spinach that has the diameter of a bread plate and is thick and puffy with a buttery crust
  • A well-priced menu,
  • A perky side salad of baby greens, red onions, tiny tomatoes, cucumbers and a respectable vinaigrette
  • Satisfying sesame-crusted tuna fillet over mixed greens with crunchy cucumbers and a sweet Asian dressing
  • Hearty arugula salad with knobs of ripe avocado, orange segments, slivered almonds and Parmesan cheese slivers
  • Lunchtime express sandwiches
  • A chicken cutlet sandwich on a golden, crispy French loaf that crackles with each bite
  • Penne pasta with tiny tangles of spinach and bite-size bits of fresh salmon in a not-at-all-heavy cream sauce
  • An extensive beverage menu that includes aged whiskeys, craft beers and affordable, mostly New World wines
  • Petite parfaits in fluted glasses
  • A wooden lollipop tree


What Didn't Work

  • Baked milanezzas
  • A generic chocolate mousse that was tasty enough but nothing special
  • Bungling service that detracts from the generally good food and cute setting

 

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