Amuse

 

Sara Liss takes a First Look at Amuse, one of Downtown Miami's best-kept secrets

Tempo Miami

Sara Liss

The goods: Hidden on the third floor of the towering Marquis building, across the street from the AA Arena, Amuse is the latest newcomer to the downtown dining scene. Once the Heat season starts, it will be an ideal spot for a pre-game drink or post-hoops dinner.

Ambience: Located in the boutique hotel Tempo Miami, this sleek stunner has floor-to-ceiling windows that frame views of downtown and the bay, giving it a Bladerunner vibe. Dining room seating is on cushy leather chairs that wouldn't be out of place in a design showroom, and a lavender-lit bar adds a touch of downtown chic.

The grub: Modern French cooking with whiffs of molecular gastronomy. Executive chef Emanuel Zarlenga, a French-trained Argentine, marries the two culinary traditions in his concise menu. Prices skew high: starters are $10-$23, mains $19-$32. Wine by the glass can be had for about $9. Dinner starts with rosemary rolls and fruity olive oil. From there, segue to the house gazpacho -- white asparagus soup and tomato puree poured over diced cucumbers, red onions and croutons. The soft shell crab tempura is a celestial version of a seafood standard and the sauted foie gras is tempered by lychee foam and black olives. The half-dozen mains include salmon, halibut, filet and seafood chowder. Go for the tender Havana short ribs, accompanied by Jerusalem artichoke puree and sauted kohlrabi.

Desserts include ice creams and sorbets in flavors like cucumber, strawberry rhubarb, mascarpone and basil. Skip the tomato confit dessert in favor of the pistachio, cherry and saffron ice cream plate.

Verdict: A glossy downtown eatery with ambitious French cuisine.

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