Critic: 'Subtle perfection' at new Collins Avenue seafood-focused spot.
Like nothing Miami Beach has seen before, Traymore Restaurant and Bar is neither trendy nor hot. And it is most definitely not for scene-stalkers. Still, it is my favorite new place in town. I’ve been there four times in the past month: for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Low-key but luxe describes the 13-story, 1920s Art Deco building set back on Collins Avenue. The high-ceiling, bowling-alley-thin lobby is as welcoming as a handwritten invitation on Smythson of Bond Street stationery.
Located inside the Metropolitan by COMO, the Traymore presents food that is appealing and approachable without gobs of pork belly, foie gras or caviar to make it so.
The shuttered building was discovered by Singapore-based fashion icon and hotelier Christina Ong as she was jogging in Miami Beach. With the creative talent of Italian designer Paola Navone, the COMO crew has transformed the space into a clean, bright box of light.
Their food is likewise unflashy. While none of the ingredients comes branded with artisan labels, you can be sure all is sourced from the finest purveyors; executive chef Jonathan Lane and pastry chef Emanuel Alves see to that.
A meal starts with warm hand towels imbued with mint, tea tree and eucalyptus oils, followed by simple slices of crusty, chewy, salty sourdough bread as good as any I’ve had in San Francisco.
The seafood-centric menu includes ephemeral salads with newborn arugula, spinach and frisée as well as soups like a smooth-as-satin corn chowder dotted with delicate chanterelles. Octopus grilled with miniature olives and a zingy salsa verde also is an early pleasure.
Squid ink carnaroli risotto from Piedmont is subtle perfection with its cubes of squid, bacon, tomato and chervil micro greens, while a fennel-laced seafood stew with meaty prawns, tomato and softshell crab is a delight.
Pink shrimp from Florida’s west coast show up in a salad of heirloom carrots and beans with tangy orange blossom dressing. Lobster from Maine is cooked perfectly and served gorgeously with pixie tangerines, ribbons of carrot and purple Treviso radicchio.
The 1855 Aberdeen Black Angus bavette, a cut similar to a skirt steak but more tender, is char-grilled alongside wilted baby ramps in a rich red-wine reduction and bone marrow butter.
Only a halibut poached in olive oil and served with sunchokes, olives and lemon lacked oomph.
And, while much of the food here leans toward light, for those truly committed to pure eating there is the Shambhala menu, a spa-like array of gluten-free, vegan and raw creations.
The kale-based green goddess soup is like sipping a warm juice but with bits of sunflower and seaweed. Caesar salad is laced with panes of faux parmesan spun of macadamia nuts and dressed with a dreamy dressing made from young coconut meat. Chicken skewers with sesame seeds and a tahini yogurt sauce over a nutty, dried fruit salad is what I want to eat every day.
Desserts, including luscious berry macarons, reflect a tropical sensibility. An irresistible cannoli made of a sesame-seed shell is filled with passion fruit cream and given tang from a bright mango sorbet.
Service is crisp and competent. Portions are thankfully petite and prices are correspondingly reasonable.
The soundtrack is more Fats Waller than Flo Rida. I only hope that players and pretty young things skip over this boringly perfect spot so that I can still get a seat, for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Miami Herald critics dine anonymously at the newspaper’s expense. Follow @MiamiHeraldFood on Twitter.