Porcao parks cheeky Miami steakhouse in Brickell
Chef Jeff O'Neill is putting out dry-aged steaks with creative touches.
The who: Chef Jeff O'Neill, who has worked with chefs Charlie Palmer, Daniel Boulud and Eric Ripert and most recently served as executive chef of the Villa by Barton G., is now helming Porcao Farm to Grill in Mary Brickell Village. (The restaurant bears no relation to the now-shuttered Porcao that used to be in Brickell Key.)
The space: The former Grimpa Steakhouse space retains its cushy expense-account feel with dark wood banquettes, dim lighting and a glass-enclosed wine cellar and dry-aging room. Two lounges — KAO, a small nightclub with a private VIP room, and KAO Smoke, a cigar bar with a separate entrance, smoking balcony and personal humidors — are above the dining room. iPad menus give guests high-res images and descriptions of dishes.
The dishes: Modern American, with an emphasis on local, organic produce and sustainable fish in addition to dry-aged beef and other cuts of meat. Prices keep in line with a business clientele: starters $10-$18 and mains $16-$34.
Free pan con queso rolls studded with raisins gets things started. Apps include crisp beef cheek pierogies and Okeechobee molasses-cured salmon served with buttered toast, citrus sour cream and housemade mustard. Duck pastrami wrapped around melon balls is a twist on the prosciutto-wrapped version.
Signature 16-ounce Kao steaks are dry-aged for 28, 36 or 48 days. Fish dishes include a charred bass served atop cranberry foie gras dumplings with endive, grapes and chive purée. Sides include quinoa with preserved lemon and chorizo and waffle bread pudding with maple and sage.
Desserts show a bit of Barton G.’s influence on O'Neill with oversize portions of whimsical favorites like the bag o' donuts: a sack of hot, sweet ricotta doughnuts, seasonal preserves, peanut butter milk glaze and crisp wafer crumbles.
The bottom line: More than endless beef, Porcao spins out fish and vegetable dishes that go beyond the steakhouse standard.
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