Introducing First Look, a regular feature that gives you the early word about new spots around town.
By Sara Liss
The goods: Miami is steakhouse central these days but unlike other meat-happy chains you won't find a steak parlor more posh or dramatic than Kobe Club Miami, a bordello noir beef palace with a whiff of S&M chic. Like the original Kobe Club in New York, the decor strikes a vampy vibe with 2,000 Samurai swords dangling above jet-black banquettes and a bar tricked out in stingray leather. The intimate 52-seat space, next door to China Grill, feels like a dark, sexy supper club.
The grub: If you love pricey, pampered beef, this is your spot. The food is pitched to the well-heeled and deep-pocketed; most appetizers ring in the double-digits and platters of artisanal beef start at $225 (each feeds two). Small-fry spenders can get a respectable steak for under $40 and other entree selections like roasted chicken and fish are also priced competitively (for South Beach). Try the Samurai Flight, three types of wagyu beef - Japanese, Australian and American - features four-ounce portions bedecked with small flags to highlight the steak's nationalities. Non-carnivores can sup on Dover sole and Atlantic salmon (served with lobster dumplings).
Appetizers include the usual steakhouse fare with a few creative selections such as iced hamachi topped with diced pineapples and jalapeños. Expect decadent sides like, Parmesan truffle fries (which come in a basket big enough for four), sake-white-truffle creamed corn and a hash brown topped with lobster and chorizo.
The wine list provides plenty of options to pair with the hearty fare. Finish off the feast with a digestif or one of the rare whiskeys on hand.
Early verdict: Dining under all those knives can feel a bit risque (restaurant managers swear they're securely fastened up there) but Kobe Club's ambitious menu and swank design make it a sweet spot for scenesters with epicurean tastes.
Kobe Club Miami, 404 Washington Ave., South Beach; 305-673-5370
Kobe Club's waygu beef flight. Photo: Sara Liss for Miami.com