The goods: Vesper is a clandestine supper club serving upscale American standards in South Beach’s revamped Shelborne Hotel.
Ambience: Tucked away in the back of the hotel, Vesper is entered via its kitchen, giving it a mafia-movie vibe. The petite dining room feels like an underground gentlemen’s club with wood paneling, leather banquettes and black and white photos. A large patio offers al fresco seating with white couches, candlelight, ocean breezes and pool views.
The grub: American classics. Chef Frank Ferreiro (Prime Italian) creates a simple menu of generously portioned, upscale comfort food. Prices are on par with SoBe hotels — starters $12-$16, mains $25-$52, sides $7-$9.
The gratis bread basket features house-made cornbread, cheese bread and ciabatta rolls. Begin with warm artichoke-spinach dip in a mini-casserole dish, colossal crab cocktail, a standard Caesar salad with sourdough croutons or the iceberg wedge with Nueske bacon. Mains include a gargantuan platter of shrimp scampi over linguine, a shepherd’s pie with Kobe beef wagyu, grilled branzino bathed in a champagne lemon-butter sauce over roasted corn and a 12-ounce filet with black truffle or Gorgonzola butter.
Desserts include the diet-busting “zeppoli” fried oreos with chocolate dipping sauce, a platter of donuts accompanied by vanilla milkshake and Key lime cheesecake.
Verdict: An attractive patio and covert dining room provide the backdrop to upscale American dishes at the reborn Shelborne.