Coral-rock house now a colorful seafood shack

 

By Victoria Pesce Elliott | vpevpe@gmail.com

The historic coral rock house at 10th and Washington has been transformed into a colorful seafood shack of the sort Miami Beach has long lacked.

The 1922 home of pioneer Henri Levy is one of the oldest surviving structures on this barrier island, and its recent redo is adorable.

The room is wrapped in beach-towel-striped booths set against walls the colors of orange and lime sherbet. Rustic hardwood floors, bright neon signs and a steel drum soundtrack contribute to the Key West vibe.

But it is the spacious front patio that lures out-of-towners and locals for al fresco dining. Brushed aluminum tables shaded by bright blue umbrellas are spaced nicely along stone pavers.

The setting is a good match for the casual fare at Catch 10, a three-meal-a-day restaurant for the next-door Wyndham Garden hotel.

Starters are large and can be slightly clunky compared to the better main dishes. Our calamari, for example, was tender but heavily coated and served with a sweet marinara sauce. A pair of biscuit-sized crab cakes are bready but tasty with a nice tangle of salad, while crab bisque made with more butter and flour than crab is as thick as cottage cheese.

The house specialty is fish and chips, a basket of hand-cut fries and bread-crumb coated cod sticks that may lack the shatteringly crisp crust of their British cousins, but are satisfying. Malt vinegar would be a welcome alternative to the pasty tartar sauce.

Though advertised as a fish house, Catch 10 offers a fairly generic selection of fish — mahi, snapper and salmon on one visit, plus dishes with mussels, clams and shrimp. Our well-seared, skin-on snapper fillet was seasoned with loads of garlic and served alongside smashed plantains and salad greens.

The lusty seasonings and portions are courtesy of Cuban-born chef Odell Torres. My overflowing bowl of buttery, competently cooked angel hair scampi had plenty of tiny, tender shrimp— perhaps a dozen — and came loaded with grated cheese and a side of garlic bread.

Lunchtime is a great chance to sample a blackened mahi sandwich on a toasty bun or garlicky chicken wings.

Our servers were vintage Miami — often missing, with limited English skills and seemingly put out by simple requests. On one visit, one of our entrées went missing, the salad we requested with dressing on the side came drenched instead, and our glasses were not refilled. On another visit, however, the manager offered us free soft drinks while we waited for takeout.

This is a mojito and beer kind of spot with 20 or so generic wines that could be had at the grocery store for a quarter of the price. By-the-glass choices, according to our server, are essentially red or white.

Desserts include a dense chocolate cake and other alluring options, but it is the basic flan, a cinnamon-dusted custard, that sums up the experience here. It is sweet, simple and about as low-frill as you can find on South Beach.

If you go

Place: Catch 10

Address: Wyndham Garden South Beach, 1030 Washington Ave., Miami Beach

Rating:★ ★ (OK)

Contact: 305-674-1930; catch10.com

Hours: 7 a.m.-10 p.m. daily

Prices: Dinner appetizers $10-$15, entrees $18-$30, sides $6-$7, dessert $4-$7; daily lunch specials from $10.

FYI: Metered municipal lot and street parking, valet $20. Full bar, no outside wine. AX, DN, DS, MC, VS

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