By Sara Liss
The goods: For those who live in less tropical climates, summertime is usually synonymous with outdoor movies: a blanket, picnic basket, a screen under the stars and you're set. But seasoned Miamians know that once July hits there's only one way to watch a movie: indoors ensconced in the cool embrace of an industrial A/C system. Luckily the Cobb Theatre's new Cinebistro provides an attractive venue for summer movie watching. Taking "dinner and a movie" to its logical extreme, the posh theater provides in-theater food service where patrons can sip a variety of cocktails, wine or beer and order from a menu of ambitious eats.
Each theater comes equipped with spacious leather stadium seats - some are "loveseats" allowing for couples to sit together - akin to first class airplane seats with swiveling tray tables. Seating begins a half-hour before showtime and guests are greeted by servers who take their orders via wireless PDA devices that beam the orders directly to the kitchen, speeding up serve time. The food is then brought out quickly during the previews and diners are left undisturbed for the duration of the film. A concession stand is available should movie watchers desire to buy refreshments the old-fashioned way. This posh movie-watching comes at a premium; tickets are $15 ($17 on the weekends) but that includes complimentary valet and the ability to choose your seats.
Located in the Dolphin Mall, this upscale spot also boasts its own stylish mini-restaurant for pre- and post-film revelry. The dining room features chairs by Philippe Starck, white leather couches, glass bubble chandeliers and a snazzy bar where black-and-white films loop on wall-size screens.
The grub: Latin-influenced tapas-style cuisine. Consulting chef Alan Lake (Delray Beach's Sundy House) has composed a menu of casual eats with a few sophisticated touches. Prices are moderate; starters range from $5 for ham croquettes to $13.50 for mussels in white wine sauce. Mains include value-priced options like an $8.50 veggie burrito and climb to $25 for tournedos of filet mignon with boniato mash. Start with the fried calamari with mojito sauce and move on to the grilled skirt steak with roasted tomato chimichurri and rice and beans.
Desserts include upscale confections like a cafe con leche flan and a deconstructed Key lime pie served in a martini glass with tequila-soaked fruit and torched meringue topping. Or you could nibble on Toblerone and Ghiradelli chocolates from the concession stand.
An extensive cocktail menu includes all manner of martinis (they sold 400 cosmos the opening night of Sex and the City) including a "Charlie's Angels Carmeltini" made with vanilla vodka and butterscotch schnapps. The wine list includes glasses priced $7-$18 and attractively priced bottles.
The verdict: Dinner and a movie doesn't get more convenient (or luxurious) than this; a nice treat for movie buffs and those looking for a refined film-watching experience.
Cinébistro, 11471 NW 12th St. West Miami; 305-455-7373