In the parking roundabout at Tempo Miami, white-vested valets linger like schoolboys on the corner waiting for girls to saunter by. When one finally does, the guys jump to attention, straighten their uniforms and produce megawatt smiles. One was happy to chase down my cellphone when I realized I had left it on my front seat, even giving it a little polish before handing it back.
Besides their obvious charm -- and boredom -- these guys at Rock Resort’s sky-grazing hotel/condo give a handsome face to the otherwise gawky skyscraper that casts shadows over the AmericanAirlines Arena. The ambitious Marquis project may seem eerily empty at this queasy real-estate moment, but it's trying to make a go of it with its sexy pool deck, Jetsons-like décor and dizzying views. Oh, and the restaurant.
The skeletal young crew at Amuse -- our sweet waitress seemed to double as the bartender -- is mellow, kind and disarmingly honest. The Argentine chef left just a week into the gig (a replacement is expected any day now), leaving behind a rather bristly menu mashup of tropical, Asian and Mediterranean elements with some modern flourishes. Consider, for example, pan-seared langoustine with a carrot coconut puree, Rice Krispy, sweet carrot galangal emulsion and beet essence. Hmm. The staccato descriptions make it tough to know what to order, and we found most we tried to be more ambitious than delicious.
While the restaurant seems as much a work in progress as the property itself, I have hopes that it, too, will fill up and find its way. It would be a sexy spot for drinks and dinner before or after any event downtown.
Ambience: Situated rather anticlimactically on the third level, Amuse looks like nothing so much as a posh airport lounge with smoothly rounded ceilings and glowing recessed lighting that makes everyone look as if they just had a week at a spa.
What Didn’t Work