The goods: Pied a Terre is an aptly named restaurant tucked away in the intimate Cadet Hotel in South Beach. The tiny restaurant boasts ten tables, seats about thirty and feels cozy enough to be the private dining room of a Miami socialite. The upscale service matches - the chef and maitre de hail from Azul. Reservations are a must – the place is too small for walk-ins.
Ambience: Housed on the second floor of the 1930’s boutique hotel, the genteel space is awash in soft lights, beige banquets and wicker chairs. Music volume is set to a conversation-friendly level and, once construction ends on James Ave, the hotel will open an outdoor chef’s table in its lush garden.
The grub: Eclectic Mediterranean. The concise menu, which changes daily, consists of eight starters and six mains. Prices are on par with cushy hotel spots: starters are $14-$18, mains $33-$45. There’s also a six-course chef’s tasting menu available nightly. Wines are reasonably priced with bottles starting at $23.
Dinner starts with slices of crusty baguettes and a round of French butter. Starters include a baby lettuce salad made with Paradise Farms greens and a selection of American osetra caviar served with homemade blini. The local fish ceviche (cobia or hog snapper) is spiked with habaneros, cilantro and popcorn. Lobster and spring pea tortellini is a petite bowl of tortellini stuffed with pea puree and mascarpone cheese tossed with hunks of lobster meat bathed in truffle butter. Mains include a hefty red wine-brasied Niman Ranch short rib with potato puree and an Alaskan halibut “scampi” with grilled shrimp and toasted pite topped with a zahtar-spiked olive tapenade.
Desserts include homemade fig ice cream, a flaming crème brulee, sweet and spicy beignets and a dense chocolate mousse.
The verdict: A genteel, date-friendly spot tucked away in the chaos of South Beach.
White Wine & Saffron Sous Vide Octopus, photo courtesy of Pied a Terre