Tudor House

 

3.5 stars for "stellar" food in a sleek South Beach setting 

tudor house food

Victoria Pesce Elliott

Restaurateur Geoffrey Zakarian, who debuted here with Blue Door at the Delano 15 years ago and has won New York City fans with his recent Lambs Club, has created a sophisticated foodie mecca worth experiencing at Tudor House in The Dream Hotel. Executive Chef Jamie DeRosa does an excellent job of executing Zakarian’s vision with a menu of so many things I like to eat that it was tough to order. It’s a grown-up sampler of American (fried chicken, burgers, meatballs) and Mediterranean (branzino, charcuterie, Provencal-style langoustines) specialties with trendy but judicious riffs like deconstructed soups, a few puffs of foam and lots of mason jars and wooden cutting boards.

Ambience: Set in a refurbished Art Deco gem, Zakarian’s new addition to the Miami dining scene is gorgeous and low-key, with recessed lighting, cushy leather banquettes, marble tables, vintage terrazzo floors and black and white photos of the hotel’s glory days. Lush potted plants bring the tropical garden feel inside. The wait staff is more of the pretty than prim school, dressed in dark starched Levis, black shirts with permanent smiles and enough tattoos to make me wonder if they were required as part of the uniform.

 

What Worked

  • Cruncy bruschetta with buratta, a slippery peeled grape tomato and a basil leaf so small it must have been placed with a tweezer
  • Addictively hot, salty nuggets of pretzel bread served with a pucker-inducing red wine mustard
  • A perfectly fluffy meatball in a silky tomato sauce and a dusting of snowy Parmesan cheese
  • Voluptuous gnudi in a silken sauce dotted with tiny baby vegetables (pictured)
  • A pea soup the color of an Irish field in spring with a flavor so fresh and vibrant it felt alive
  • An aggressively seasoned  picture-perfect mason jar of steak tartare with raw egg, a dollop of crème fraiche and musky chanterelles
  • DeRosa’s Cuban sandwich - perhaps the best I have ever had - made with rich pork belly on slightly sweet egg bread plus sour slivers of pickle and a pot of perfect mustard
  • Branzino - two golden-seared fillets over wilted heirloom spinach, fava beans, baby fennel and Cerignola olives
  • Grouper cheeks  gently floured, grilled and served with a rainbow of herb-roasted cauliflower in a vibrant romesco sauce
  • A dish of tiny, eraser-size clams that approached greatness
  • A standout poached tuna served in a jar with pickled vegetables
  • The wine list - a thoughtful compilation of familiar labels and some unusual gems that work well with the food
  • Vanilla lollipops
  • Rocky road ice cream in yet another mason jar
  • A deconstructed strawberry shortcake with a cool and tangy strawberry soup
  • Brown-butter milkshake

 

What Didn't Work

  • A "so very salty" buttery sauce
  • A basil-infused watermelon cocktail that tasted medicinal
  • Fried chicken with a mealy texture

 

 

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