The goods: Manhattan foodie favorite Andrew Carmellini brings his Soho power spot The Dutch to the W South Beach. It’s a polished hangout perfect for oysters and bourbon cocktails or candlelit dinners.
Ambience: Carmellini has given the old Solea space a Hamptons feel with white brick, wood floors and marble shelves stocked with Americana knickknacks and Deco clocks. A marble raw bar and roaring pizza oven provide a bit of kitchen theater, while romantic lanterns and blond wood tables outfit the patio.
The grub: American melting-pot cuisine with Caribbean, Latin and Asian influences. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, but the chef’s famous fried chicken and biscuits (pictured) is only available at lunch. Portions are generous and prices are reasonable despite the swanky setting. Starters are $5-$18, most mains under $30 and sides $7.
Dinner begins with a mini-loaf of moist, chipotle-flecked cornbread. Then it’s on to snacks like the “little oyster sandwiches,” two-bite sliders of crispy fried oysters on brioche buns. A hearts of palm salad features oranges, smoked pepper and locally sourced avocado, while the blue crab pizza is topped with jalapeno, tomato and zucchini. Mains include rustic trofie pasta dressed with pesto, sweet peppers and pine nuts; spicy short rib mole, and Florida snapper bathed in a subtle lemongrass sauce. Sides of patatas bravas are doused in spicy aioli, while brussels sprouts are tossed with bacon.
Save room for dessert. The homemade pie selection, which changes daily, includes blueberry with a side of ginger ice cream and lime with guava ice cream. A slice of devil’s food cake will satisfy any chocolate lover.
Verdict: A hip hideaway at the W from a popular New York chef.