2.5 stars for Mediterranean seafood at Brickell's Mare Nostrum

 

2.5 stars for Mediterranean seafood at Brickell's Mare Nostrum

Mare Nostrum

Enrique Fernandez

Mare Nostrum is beautiful, with a minimalist elegance, high ceilings and wide spacing between the tables. And so is the fish glistening beneath refrigerated glass as guests enter the dining room. I like being told, when I ask, what each is called and its provenance — that stuff of Portlandia spoofs being important when it comes to something as fragile as seafood.

Mare Nostrum, as the name connotes, is mostly a seafood restaurant. There is a pasta craftsman on board, though I didn’t sample his wares. I came here for the creatures of “our sea,” as the Romans, the original Latinos, called that ocean to their south. Why import seafood from across the Atlantic when there’s so much of it a few blocks away, in the mare nostrum we call the Caribbean? We’re sailing with the foodies, who want the authentically precious.

 

What Worked

  • A nice amuse-bouche of béchamel croquetas
  • Choosing from the wine list on an E-tablet
  • Sea bass fillets simply prepared in a skillet and cooked to perfection
  • Mediterranean tuna, cut thick and grilled rare, like a good beefsteak
  • Excellent dorada (sea bream) baked in salt & served tableside
  • Luscious manchego cheesecake with quince sorbet
  • A 2010 Filaboa albariño wine


What Didn't Work

  • More interesting than satisfying olive oil cake with olive oil ice cream
  • Slow & labored tableside service for the dorada baked in salt
  • Incredibly tender, but not very flavorful fried shark bits
  • Flavorful, but not tender enough razor clams in marinara sauce

 

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