First Look: Canyon Ranch Grill

 

Cuisine that's healthy and high-end -- what a concept.

By Aurora Rodríguez

The goods: With the ever-present influx of fast food chains and red-meat heavy restaurants, it's a struggle for the health-conscious hungry. With the opening of the Canyon Ranch Spa hotel and its elegant resto-bistro, Canyon Ranch Grill, organic-loving foodies have finally met lady luck.

Stroll into the breezy dining room - decorated in rich wood and deep red colors - complete with cozy indoor seating and outdoor oceanfront tables and get ready to indulge in a meal that's good for your body. Those looking for a more private dining experience can nibble on tapas at their adjacent Palm Court dining room or sip on wine at the wine tasting area. Watching the chef in action or dining with an entourage of around 30 more your thing? Have dinner perched atop a comfy stool at the restaurant's open "expo kitchen" area or reserve the Grill's private dining room.

The grub: Canyon Ranch's Chef Alex Asteinza's menu is jam-packed with healthy goodies seasoned with natural ingredients, all of which have their calories printed next to each dish for those who are counting. Start off with a ceviche such as the Thai Ceviche ($11) -- Key West shrimp marinated in pamelo, cilantro, jicama and bird chile -- and sip on the spot's signature Spa Cocktail, featuring hints of cucumber and citrus (about $11). Other nibbles include Devils on Horseback ($9) -- Turkish dates wrapped in veal bacon, stuffed with bleau cheese and served on endive.

Main course menu highlights include the grass-fed beef tenderloin ($29), dressed and served with a tomato demi-glace and polenta, and the Latin-inspired adobo-seasoned and mushroom-essence drenched salmon dish ($29). The very few vegetarian options (and one would expect more at such a health-conscious restaurant) include a roasted zucchini ($9) sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and roasted tomatoes. End with a chef's pick, such as the frozen yogurt and warm brownie combo or sip on organic wine for dessert.

The verdict: With its healthy-yet-sophisticated fare, Canyon Ranch is a refreshing addition to a steakhouse-saturated dining scene.

Canyon Ranch Grill at Canyon Ranch, 6801 Collins Ave, Miami Beach; 305-514-7000

Published: 1/09

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