By Sara Liss
The goods: Shopping and cocktails, a match made in consumerist heaven. But the newly-opened Webster boutique, not content to simply offer luxury goods and a champagne bar, has done one better by including French import Caviar Kaspia on its ground floor. The original restaurant, dating back to 1927, is still located in Paris and provides the specially-sourced caviar, smoked fish and Kaspia-branded wine and champagne for this Miami outpost.
Ambiance: The jewel box restaurant, located in the renovated deco building that now houses three-floors of designer frocks, mixes Tsarist opulence with contemporary style. Turquoise tablecloths, slate gray walls and striped banquettes play easily off the dining room's original terrazzo flooring and views of Collins Ave. Servers are outfitted in bow ties, polo shirts and jeans, keeping the vibe fashion-forward. A caviar-lover's dream with seven varieties of the briny delicacy available along with ample vodka and champagne for pairing, the restaurant is perfect for a pre-shopping aperitif or a post-spree meal.
The grub: Caviar, obviously, along with a smattering of classic French dishes. If fish roe is your thing, be prepared to splurge as ½ ounce tastings start at $49 for farmed Imperial Baeri and climb to $360 for an ounce of wild Iranian Golden Oscietra. And you won't find Beluga on this menu as it's illegal in the United States. But you can also mix tastings of the pricey fish eggs with more moderately-priced French fare or opt for the less-expensive salmon roe-adorned dishes like the $22 salmon roe blinis that come with an ounce of the amber-colored pearls along with crème fraiche and fluffy pancakes for wrapping. Non-caviar dishes include salads in the $20 range and mains like pasta and scallops for under $35. Elegant flourishes include serving the caviar with mother-of-pearl spoons, the appropriate utensil for this aristocratic dish.
Dinner starts with complimentary tastes of tarama (smoked salmon roe dip) on toast rounds along with a basket of toasted brioche and butter. The potato “au caviar” is the restaurant's famous dish and is a baked spud served with cream, chives and topped with your choice of caviar in any size denomination. Another house specialty is the smoked salmon blinis. Go for the triology platter to sample the subtle differences between the wild Danish, Norwegian and Scottish smoked fish. Non-oceanic offerings includes a heaping “salade gourmande” tossed with foie gras, smoked duck breast and shredded duck confit. There's also a plate of Pata Negra, or Iberico ham for pork aficionados and a refreshing gazpacho served with Alaskan King Crab.
Desserts include a traditional “Pavlova,” meringue cake with marinated strawberries, a palate-cleansing lemon tart and a trio French macaroons stuffed with ice cream.
Verdict: You may not have any cash left over for those Gucci stilettos after feasting on caviar and champagne at the Webster's Caviar Kaspia, but then again, where else can you do both in this city?
Caviar Kaspia at the Webster Miami, 1220 Collins Ave, 305-674-7899. Monday-Thursday, 11am-11pm, Friday-Saturday, 11am-Midnight, Sunday, 11am-3:30pm.