2.5 stars for Italian eats at Midtown's Salumeria 104
Teams of fast-paced entrepreneurs are angling for the inside track in Miami’s Italian restaurant competition, and Angelo Masarin has put the pedal to the metal with his gleaming Salumeria 104. The real deal is behind the gleaming marble bar — the catbird seat for food lovers who want to watch Masarin deftly handle the Ferrari-red Italma meat slicers and lovingly caress the silken cuts of exquisite prosciutto di Parma or San Daniele. The fare is simple and usually very good. There are a handful of house-made pastas on the one-page menu plus a pair of handwritten daily specials that might include regional surprises such as fegato alla Veneziani, sliced calf liver sautéed with sweet onions and polenta.
Ambience: It might just be a fancy deli, but like the best Italian sports cars, Salumeria 104 is compact, well-designed and stylish. White-tiled walls, exposed ceilings hung with sexy globe lighting, polished concrete floors and rustic wooden tables give it a sleek, handcrafted yet minimalist look.
- Emerald stalks of broccolini
- Gently fried puffs of delicate gnocchi that perfectly balance the salty meats
- Excellent bottles on the predominantly Italian wine list, stored well in a standup cooler and served in tumblers or, even better, quartinos for sharing
- Lunch specials like a salad of Italian tuna over Paradise Farms arugula with baby pear tomatoes
- An unusual dinner salad layering ribbons of radicchio with strips of fried guanciale (an Italian bacon), rosy cranberry beans and a sweetish balsamic reduction
- Uniformly friendly waiters in crisp white shirts and pig-emblazoned aprons
- Cavatello noodles made soft and pliable with ricotta and zingy with fresh tomato sauce and potent basil
- Fresh & fiesty rigatoni amatriciana sauce with a fiery dab of spicy pancetta
- Delightfully creamy bacala
- A slab of porchetta — rosemary-studded pork wrapped in pork belly and seared until crisp and juicy — that’s bigger than the plate
- Cubes of potatoes that are soft inside and crackly outside
- Perfect brussels sprouts
- A punchy tiramisu
- A warm strudel with a side of vanilla gelato
- A surprising offer of free cookies — delicate, buttery and dotted with crushed walnuts or apricot jam
- Whimsical, salami-shaped chocolate log
What Didn't Work
- Tagliolini panna e prosciutto in an overly rich soup of cream sauce.
- Tasteless, standard-issue bread (invest $3 in the house-baked rosemary version)