Chophouse Miami Bistro

The goods: New owner Chef Jacques Van Staden (Celebrity Cruises) has relaunched downtown steakhouse Chophouse Miami Bistro and Lounge with a new look, new menu, sushi bar and automated wine machines. The menu, overseen by Van Staden’s brother Pieter, includes an extensive list of globetrotting small plates and tapas.

Ambience: The main dining room boasts new hardwood floors and brighter pendant lighting, but maintains the pomp of a power-lunch spot with black leather booths and a private wine room. The outdoor patio hosts a buzzing happy hour at its groovy white and orange-accented bar.

The grub: Eclectic mezze and tweaked steakhouse standards. Small plates average $5-$18 while heftier steak and seafood mains range from $15 to $55.  A complimentary breadbasket is available on request. Intriguing starters include the “Laila” eggplant, a Persian-influenced dish blending roasted eggplant, mint, caramelized onions and a mound of tangy labneh cheese; and chicken wings dressed with harissa and a side of tzaztiki. The sushi menu is short and forgettable.

Mains include an eight-ounce filet and a twelve-ounce New York strip served on a chopping block with petite jars of creamed spinach, truffled mashed potatoes and creamed corn. Seafood includes snapper in putanesca sauce and pecan-crusted sea bass with butternut squash puree.

The dessert list offers small, delicate renditions of classics like black forest cake, New York-style cheesecake and a coconut panna cotta.

Verdict: A downtown power-lunch spot gets a makeover with an epic list of globe-trotting mezze.


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