Bistro Bal Harbour weaves Latin influences into modern American cooking

The Who: The posh One Bal Harbour resort is now a Ritz-Carlton and the in-house restaurant, which has been through a few incarnations since opening a few years ago (when the hotel was known as the Regent), is now Bistro Bal Harbour.

The Space: A gorgeous sprawling dining room with floor-to-ceiling views of the ocean and the busy Haulover inlet. New additions include a glass-enclosed raw bar packed with whole fish and oysters on ice that runs the lenght of the entrance corridor. There are also cigar humidors at the bar and outdoor heaters on the patio. A two-top has been added to the wine cellar.

The Dishes: Modern American with Latin influences. Executive chef Jorge Ramos hails from Puerto Rico and helms the kitchen. Prices are as cushy as the setting with starters $12-$16 and mains $28-$42.

Warm ciabatta rolls hit the table to start and go well with the roasted beet salad. Raw-bar dishes include a tuna tartare topped with Dijon-marinated crab salad served with a gazpacho vinaigrette and snapper ceviche with fennel and coriander. Bacalaitos nod to the chef’s Latin heritage with battered and fried cod fritters served with cilantro aioli and lemon. Whole fish off the boat is available on a nightly basis and served with choice of two sides. Signature dishes include Florida snapper filet served with saffron couscous and arugula and a lobster pappardelle. Steaks run the gamut from an 8-ounce filet to a 16-ounce rib eye. Sides include charred baby carrots and truffle fries. Desserts stick with classics like molten chocolate cake with pear compote, and almond cookie and Key lime flan festooned with citrus mascarpone, and cookie crumbles.

The Bottom Line: One of the swankiest waterfront spots in the city is now reborn for upscale seafood dining.

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