Thursday, August 20, 2015

Miami Spice 2015: Quality Meats

Miami-ans do Miami Spice for all types of reasons. Some are looking to try those high end restaurants that they can't always afford. Others just want to get a great bang for their 39 bucks, with an appetizer, main course and dessert. Whatever your goal, there's a Miami Spice restaurant out there for you. And from all the places that I've been to so far, there's one big winner in my book: Quality Meats.

This New York transplant made it into Miami Beach earlier this year and immediately became a local's favorite thanks to its simply prepared but top quality meats, so it's no surprise that their Spice menu is one of the best in town. 

Up next, a photo tour of the Miami Spice dishes that I enjoyed the most.

In classic Quality Meats fashion, the meal started with their bread course. Lacquered with butter and sprinkled with rosemary and sea salt, the piping-hot and incredibly soft monkey bread was one of the best bread dishes I’ve experienced at a restaurant!

Up next came the "Lazy Susan", a charcuterie platter that is not included in the Spice menu, but that is well worth considering as an "add on" thanks to its great selection of homemade cold cuts, cheese, and mini sausages. Warning - if you are opting for this one, make sure to either be a) very hungry or b) with a large group of friends, as the platter is ginormous and the Spice dishes are quite abundant. Unless you want to take some home for a midnight snack, always a good idea in my book...

Let's talk about the appetizers... shall we?

A salad is not exactly what you would think of ordering when you are at a restaurant like Quality Meats and there's other strong appetizer contenders like the house-cured bacon, or the seared scallops. But if you want to go for something a bit lighter, without sacrificing on flavor, the Kale & Manchego salad is just for you. Despite my table being covered in dishes, I simply could not let go of this sweet and savory mountain of greens. Did I mention it has pieces of bacon in it, and its drizzled with lots and lots of honey? Hmmm, my mouth waters just thinking about it. 

Just when I thought that things couldn't get any better, the duo of Seared Diver Scallops arrived in all their juicy and plump glory, served with a velvety black-garlic puree and aromatic celery leaves. The beautiful bivalves were crispy on the outside, and tender and succulent on the inside, just as they should be. 

If you want something hearty, unique and meat centric, the House-Cured Slab Bacon is perfect for you. The most special (and famous!) of all the appetizers, this thick and tasty  bacon is served with crunchy peanut butter and topped with an exquisite jalapeño jelly. 

Last but not least came the Dry Aged Meatballs, which had a very intense and distinct flavor unlike any other meatball I've ever had in my life. Highly recommended if you are feeling adventurous and want to go for something different!

And then came the Main Courses...

The Center Cut Filet Mignon was one of the stars of the night. It was cooked to perfection and served with a homemade sauce that is prepared table side with different herbs. 

My second favorite entree was the Roasted Chicken & Kumquats, and yes, I know what you are thinking: Chicken?! Really? Yes, really. The combination of the tender and juicy chicken with the sweetness of the fruit was exquisite, and surprisingly, even better than some of the other entrees on the menu. 

The New York Bagel inspired Brazino was an interesting option, with its crisp coat of sesame and poppy seeds, and accompaniments of smoked cream cheese and pickled onions. Not as good as the ones mentioned above, but definitively innovative and creative.

Even though the side dishes are not included in the menu, I highly recommend ordering a few, like the corn creme brûlée and the grilled oyster mushrooms.

If you have a sweet tooth and you find yourself having dinner at Quality Meats during Miami Spice, you are in for a treat! Cookie Monster, Coconut Dream Bar and Burnt Marshmallow are just some of the six mouthwatering ice cream sundaes that you can choose from. My faves? The fruity ones (Raspberry Frozen Yogurt & the Orange Creamsicle Sherbet), which acted a refreshing "digestif" after our massive dinner (or that's what I like to believe, anyway!). 

Our experience at Quality Meats was one for the books. The portions were generous, the  food quality was top notch and the service couldn't have been more attentive. The only problem I encountered was finding a "must have" dish from each course, as there were so many outstanding and unique ones, especially among the appetizers. 

Some last words of advice: if you find yourself experiencing some FOMO as you make your dish selections, remember that you can still come back for another month and a half and do it all over again!

Quality Meats is located at 1501 Collins Ave, Miami Beach.

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