Barton G. Weiss has always had a flair for the dramatic. As South Florida’s “caterer to the stars,” he has been known to employ monkeys, giraffes and burlesque dancers flown from Paris to wow jaded patrons. Weiss proved he could translate his exquisite sense of showmanship into a buzz worthy restaurant with his namesake South Beach hideaway, which for nearly a decade has been delighting customers who like smoke and mirrors with their salad. At the sexy, 7-month-old Prelude by Barton G at The Adrienne Arsht Center, this party pro shows he also can deliver a more demure dining experience.
It’s the perfect fix — or make that prixe fix — for the theater crowd. OK, not entirely perfect, but an awfully appealing option for a pre- or post-show repast. The reservation policy is one notable quirk. Meals are supposed to be booked and paid for in advance online, a potential headache for less tech-savvy diners. The menu, overseen by talented executive chef Anthony Dee, is easy to embrace. A full meal – any three courses is just $39, which is less than an entree at some South Beach hot spots. From a Caesar salad to roast chicken and skirt steak, simple items are expertly executed and prettily plated, familiar but not boring. Much of the food seems engineered more for style than taste, but the flavors tend to work. Barton G aims for universally appealing dishes that don’t go out of season. That said, Dee and his team put out delicious and decadent fare that will please any audience.
Ambience: The decor is simply smashing: bold, mustard-colored swirls alongside smoky topaz marble slabs, burnished gingerbread woods, soaring ceilings cut with slashes of red curtain and pulsating, backlit jellyfish that add a science-museum touch. Faux white orchids brighten tables set with Frette linens and custom tableware. Cozy banquettes in almond ultra suede make you want to sit all day, as does the consistently friendly, earnest and attractive staff.
- Truly dangerous crusty sourdough bread served with a bowl of cool, sweet butter
- A striking watermelon and heirloom tomato salad with nice crunch and pop
- A salad of see-through squares of golden and red beets plated alongside gently seared tuna slices dotted with micro greens
- Beautifully balanced tortellini with goat cheese in a savory red pepper broth swimming with mushrooms and bits of asparagus
- Plump and juicy branzino with crisp skin in a gorgeous broth with perfectly cooked zucchini and yellow squash
- Show-stopping puff pastry-topped short ribs braised in a brandy cream
- A trio of sliders on puffy potato buns
- Fried chicken salad
- A silvery slab of salmon with a golden crust in a luxurious beurre blanc
- A sophisticated, 100-bottle wine list
- Grand and showy cappuccino-infused pot du creme with nutty planks of biscotti
- Cascading strawberry shortcake
- Signature caramel sundaes with a fried apple pie twist