New England decamps to North Beach - chowder, lobster rolls & all
Ken Lyon brings authentic New England flavors to South Florida with his Cape Cod Room in the refurbished Bath Club, a Roaring Twenties remnant that's the oldest social club on Miami Beach’s Millionaire’s Row. The spot has been open since October to friends and family but barely six weeks to the paying public, and not all the wait staff has its sea legs. We had dishes delivered to the wrong diners and others cleared before we were done, but a seasoned server makes up for the gaffes with style, verve and humor.
Over the past three decades, Lyon has shown his range ... with Lyon Freres, Lyon+Lyon Catering and the beloved enoteca Fratelli Lyon ... and now returns to his New England roots with food that emanates integrity. Some might knock the place as pretentious with its three-paragraph Thoreau quote on the menu cover or eco-insensitive with its shipped-in seafood, but the proof is in the Indian pudding.
Ambiance: Dressed in khaki and sea blue with framed sailboats floating along one wall, the intimate, 75-seat space is done in a style that suits its name if not the charming, Mediterranean Revival building. It's pretty if a bit musty; opening the doors onto the pool-front terrace would provide a welcome breath of fresh air.
- Scrumptious, oniony Portuguese loaves and addictive, cayenne-laced corn bread sticks
- Across-the-board fantastic soups, including tomato bisque with cheddar croutons
- Classic quahog chowder loaded with supple clams in a double-cream broth
- A cast-iron pot of steamed Prince Edward Island mussels with white wine and plenty of garlic that warms the soul
- Tiny, tender Nantucket bay scallops caramelized in sage-infused hazelnut brown butter
- The Provincetown stew with lobster, mussels, scallops, cod and lots of saffron and herbs
- A Delicately dressed petite pair of lobster rolls on buttery toasted buns
- Moist roasted poussin (young chicken) with crisp golden skin served with earthy mashed potatoes and a pan sauce
- Tender strips of buttery shortbread dipped in sweet-sour lemon curd
- Pumpkin-pie-spiced Indian pudding
- A serviceable wine list featuring 30-some young bottles strong
What Didn’t Work
- A pablum of a crab cake
- A stale crust on a pricey lobster pot pie
- Greasy fries with an otherwise decent grilled hangar steak
Photo: John B. Gynell