Holy guacamole: Cantina La Veinte pushes upmarket Mexican food in Miami

 

First Look at Brickell newcomer Cantina La Veinte.

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By Sara Liss

The what: Another high-end Mexican spot with over-the-top décor, Cantina La Veinte is owned by Mexican hospitality company Cinbersol Group, which plans to open more locations throughout the United States. This is the group's first U.S. outpost. 

The space: A cavernous, glamorously decked-out restaurant in the Icon Brickell, across from Cipriani. The 450-seat behemoth is outfitted with Mexican folk art, a black onyx bar with antiqued mirrors and a geometric, pyramid-shaped black-and-gold chandelier. The open kitchen adds to the frenetic energy while an outdoor waterfront patio will be great once the weather cools down. 

The music: A live Mariachi band in full regalia. Roaming the dining room. Accepting tips.

The dishes: Mexican small plates from $12 to $23; larger plates from $18 to $70.

The chicharron de rib eye is a bowl of fried steak chunks served with guacamole, while the dobladitas de jaiba suave is a more nuanced presentation of crunchy softshell crab served in shot glasses filled with jalapeño sauce. Tostadas de atun are wonton chips topped with marinated tuna doused with a yellow pepper-lime sauce, and the chile morita are spicy, tempura-battered and fried bites of morita chiles stuffed with goat cheese.

Desserts include an ice cream sampler of dulce de leche, raspberry sorbet, pistachio and other flavors, and a baked wonton with quince paste and blue cheese ice cream.

The Bottom Line: Calling it a “cantina” is an understatement, but this cavernous spot serves Mexican food in a glamorous setting.

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