Monday, August 3, 2015

Miami Spice Menu Previews of Corsair and Bourbon Steak

The most exciting time of the year in Miami isn’t around Art Basel, Swim Week or Ultra. If you are seriously into food, then the best time of the year has just started on August 1st, with the arrival of Miami Spice. This means that for the next two months, the city's hottest restaurants will offer a three course menu for a mere $23 for lunch and $39 for dinner.

With over 180 restaurants to pick from, experiencing some serious FOMO seems inevitable, which is why this year I started Miami Spicing earlier by attending a preview tasting at Bourbon Steak and Corsair and documenting it all for you. And yes, I may still have 178 more restaurants to go, but hey, you have to start somewhere right? 

Up next, my thoughts and recommendations on these two fabulous restaurants from the Turnberry Isle. 

Bourbon Steak

As a Miamian, having dinner at this high end contemporary American steakhouse is something that you must do at least once in your life. In my case, even though I had already been to Bourbon Steak once before, the thought of sinking my teeth again into one of its famous butter-poached meats got me all giddy with excitement for days prior to the experience.

Sampler size of the figs and goat cheese toast (left), and the Maine lobster risotto (right).
Things started with a preview of all three appetizers: the black mission figs and fog goat cheese served on toasted ciabatta bread, the Scottish salmon pastrami, and the Maine lobster risotto. While the fig and goat cheese toast was delicious, everyone's favorite dish was the risotto, which made perfect sense as a light appetizer thanks to the fact that it's made without dairy, and mixed with corn and chunks of lobster. 

Sampler sized entrees: BBQ glazed angus rib eye with jalapeño corn bread (left) and organic chicken breast with crispy pesto gnocchi (right)
For the main course, even though we all had our eyes on the rib eye, it was actually the chicken breast that stole the show, with it's crispy and tasty skin, juicy white meat and the phenomenal homemade pesto gnocchi that it was served with. 

Dessert options here consisted in a delicious Valrhona chocolate cake topped with olive oil gelato, and the cracker jack sundae, which was my favorite of the night.

Corsair's chocolate budino (left) and Bourbon Steak's cracker jack sundae (right)

By now, you should be familiar with Corsair, chef Scott Conant's latest Mediterranean restaurant, known for its homemade pasta and beautiful farmhouse style decor. I've been a fan ever since it opened in December of last year, and have been counting the days for August to start in order to check out their much anticipated Spice menu.

Since our two restaurant tastings were done back to back, the meal at Corsair started with a lovely passionfruit sorbet, topped with a crunchy basil merengue, to help clean our palates. 

While this is not included in the Miami Spice menu, I definitely recommend it as a little side dish to enjoy either in between courses, or as a light and refreshing dessert. Another thing not included in the menu, but definitely worth having, is the Pineapple Spice, Corsair's famous signature cocktail made with tequila, jalapeño, blueberry and pepper.

Cleaning our palates with the passionfruit sorbet, topped with basil merengue
Corsair's signature drink: the Pineapple Spice

I must admit, picking the best choice from the Spice menu at Corsair is definitely challenging, as all the dishes were equally as good and exciting. Take the appetizers for example. The hamachi crudo had all of us raving and practically moaning with delight. The crunch of the fish, the chillies, the shallots and the hawaian salt make this a solid contender in the appetizer list, but I must admit that the heirloom tomatoes and burrata with country bread were not far from it in flavor. 

Hamachi crudo (left) and burrata and heirloom tomatoes (right)
For the main course, even though the Scottish salmon was a nice and light option, everyone in our table agreed that the best dishes were the squid ink campanelle and the ricotta raviolini, which makes sense as Corsair is mostly known for its pasta. The small and delicate raviolini were phenomenal, and the squid ink campanelle were delectable and just as delicate, with baby clams, mussels, calamari and scallions.

Scottish Salmon with asparagus, charred kale, and scallion salsa verde
Squid ink campanelle (left) and ricotta raviolini (right)
Our last stop was dessert, of which we tried  the "budino" (a milk chocolate mousse topped with a biscotti), as well as the brown sugar cake, which was my favorite of the night. This divine little cake is made on a skillet, which results in a slightly crunchy base and an incredibly soft and moist inside filled with blueberries, and paired beautifully with homemade buttermilk ice cream. Are you drooling already?

Dessert sampler: cracker jack sundae (right corner), valrhona chocolate cake (left corner), milk chocolate budino (top center) and brown sugar cake (bottom center).
The Verdict:
Both Corsair and Bourbon Steak are excellent options for Miami Spice and a great value for the price and quality. While I loved everything at Bourbon Steak, if I were to pick just one, I would probably go with Corsair as it is a bit more my style and because of their incredible homemade pasta. 

Corsair and Bourbon Steak are located at the Turnberry Isle hotel, at 19999 West Country Club Drive, Aventura. 

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