Rebuilt in October, the International Links Melreese Country Club restaurant is open to the public with no dress code. During the week, doctors, lawyers and judges come here for lunch, and on weekends kids taking golf lessons grab burgers and fries.
Nicaraguan-born chef Marvin Urbina (Riviera Country Club, Tutu Pasta, Giacomo) was hired to create the menu, which takes guests from breakfast (potato pancakes, waffles, frittatas) through lunch and, Tuesday through Saturday, early dinner.
The lunch and dinner crowds can start with pan-seared crab cakes with capers, baked Buffalo wings or George Mira conch fritters, named for a UM quarterback great from Key West. Salads range from house Cobb to blackened mahi-mahi on spinach with strawberries, orange segments and hearts of palm with blue cheese dressing. Five types of soup are served daily, from escarole with white beans to octopus in cilantro broth with peas, carrots and rice.
There’s wide selection of sandwiches, too: Hebrew National hot dog on an egg roll topped with chili; the Charlie’s burger (a grilled patty of ground chuck and brisket topped with Gorgonzola); corned beef, egg salad or a huge club with in-house roasted turkey on rye, Kaiser roll or whole wheat; tuna and chicken melts on crusty focaccia, and whole-wheat tortilla wraps with grilled chicken or veggies with roasted red peppers.
More upscale tastes will enjoy the grilled salmon fillet in saffron cream sauce with diced scallops and micro greens or fork-tender short ribs in demi-glace on garlic mashed potatoes. Risotto with squid ink and pizza with pecorino are also options.
Tarte tatin makes for a sweet finish at this little-known gem near Miami International Airport.Linda Bladholm’s latest book is “Latin and Caribbean Grocery Stores Demystified.”
Butternut Squash Soup
Tart apple balances the sweet squash.
1 tablespoon butter
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 carrot, scraped and chopped
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 tart green apple, peeled, cored and chopped
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
Nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and pepper to taste
Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add onion, celery and carrot; cook 5 minutes. Add squash, apple and broth. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until squash is soft. Working in batches, puree in a blender. Add spices to taste. Makes 4 servings.
Source: Adapted from simplyrecipes.com
Per Serving: 301 calories (12 percent from fat), 4.5 g fat (2.2 g saturated, 1.2 g monounsaturated), 7.6 mg cholesterol, 8.8 g protein, 64.3g carbohydrates, 8.8 g fiber, 641 mg sodium.
If you go
What: Melreese Country Club Restaurant
Address: 1802 NW 37th Ave., Miami (near the airport)
Contact: 305-633-4583, internationallinksgolfclub.com
Hours: 8 a.m-7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday and Monday.
Prices: Breakfast $3.95-$8.95, appetizers $6.95-$8.95, entrees/sandwiches $5.95-$14.95.
FYI: The clubhouse banquet room is available for catered parties.