The goods: Miami welcomes another restaurant fronted by a celebrity chef: the Dream South Beach hotel’s Tudor House by Geoffrey Zakarian (The Food Network’s Chopped, Manhattan’s The Lambs Club and The National), with Jamie Derosa (Atlantic Ocean Club) as executive chef.
Ambience: The Deco hotel lobby’s swagger has been retained in shiny travertine floors, chrome chairs and Danish wood paneling. A spacious, date-friendly patio is outfitted with teak benches and a stone fountain.
The grub: Modern American cuisine. Expect classics like fried chicken, meatballs and brussels sprouts with a gourmet twist. Portions are delicate, but you won’t go home hungry. Prices are on par for South Beach hotels: starters are $9-$15, mains $12-$29 and sides $8.
Dinner begins with salted pretzel bites and red wine ketchup. Move on to platters of cured Iberico ham, small plates of plump white anchovies on toasted bread, marinated olives, steak tartare with chanterelle mushrooms or a hiramasa (yellowtail kingfish) sashimi with aji amarillo foam and yuzu sorbet. More robust starters include chicken liver pate, fluffy ricotta gnudi with heirloom beets and an English pea soup with lime marshmallows.
Mains include grouper cheeks with romesco sauce, lamb belly with baby carrots, a Cuban-style pressed sandwich with pork belly and pickled cucumbers and an “Ugly Burger” smothered in bread-and-butter pickles. Sides include rustic pots of mixed mushrooms topped with confit shallots and broccolini with melted burrata and preserved lemon. Pastry chef Natalia Arevalo (Nobu) brings a playful edge to childhood sweets. Think a popcorn milkshake accompanied by homemade Kit Kat bars, house-made Oreos with coffee hazelnut milk and rocky road ice cream.
The verdict: American standards with a gourmet pedigree at the jet-setter friendly Dream hotel.