Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Steak 954 @ W Hotel Ft Lauderdale

Steak 954 is Stephen Starr's first venture into the South Florida market. He is famous for Morimoto and Budakken and there is talk of a Budakken South Beach.

Steak 954 is located at the recently opened W hotel in Ft. Lauderdale. The chef, Jason Smith, was previously chef du cuisine at Table 8 (Miami Beach).

The restaurant is impressive/modern looking and features a huge aquarium filled with jellyfish. There is also a nice view of the ocean if you go for lunch or an early dinner plus there is an outdoor patio facing the beach.

The menu features steaks with a modern touch. Interesting starters include spicy tuna tacos with foie gras, Kobe sliders, and a lobster/crab ceviche. Non steak entrees include a miso-glazed cod, pan-roasted branzino and seared duck breast. Oh and don't forget the $100.00 Kobe cheese steak and the raw bar.

I really wanted to try the Kobe sliders but passed since I was going with the ribeye as an entree. The tuna tacos with foie gras were also really tempting but when it was time to pull the trigger, I opted for the lobster/crab ceviche. It contained nice and fresh pieces of lobster and crab and was very good. My ribeye was a nice cut, cooked perfectly and very tender but unfortunately and surprisingly under seasoned and bland. The large side of stuffed hash browns I ordered was an over salted bust. Why was it sooo hard to simply say tater tots????

I was with a non drinker and didn't get a look at the wine menu. However, there were several reasonable btg options.

I really liked the look/atmosphere of Steak 954 and think Ft. Lauderdale really needed a place with a modern/sophisticated feel like this. It was packed with a lively crowd on a weeknight during my visit.

My meal was good but not great and my ribeye didn't come close to the steaks I've had at Mina's Bourbon Steak. Nevertheless, I suspect there are more hits on the menu and they should be able to correct the steak issue. So, I will be back soon to try more. It should be noted that they are also open for breakfast and lunch.

Steak 954

Steak 954 on Urbanspoon

Photo by Greg Clark Photography


GoBYO.com is a cool site that lists restaurants in your area that allow you to bring your own wine. It also lists the corkage fees and provide a wine friendly rating.



Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Spanish Red Winner - Prima

I have an under $20.00 Spanish red wine for you. It's a 2006 Tinto de Toro(Tempranillo) made by winemaker Mariano Garcia called Prima. I'm not going to bore you with tasting notes here but simply advise you to look out for this one. It's smooth and tasty. This is good stuff!!!

2006 Maurodos Prima Toro

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Bar Rosso- Aventura

Bar Rosso is a new wine bar/restaurant located in the old Ivy spot in Aventura. (around the corner from Chef Allen's) They have incorporated several current trends into their menu including a wood burning oven, small plates and a few mozzarella options. Moreover, you can sample almost every bottle on the wine list with reasonably priced 3 or 9 oz pours. This is a nice option assuming they are pouring enough to keep them fresh.

The restaurant features an open kitchen, large bar area with long communal tables and an outdoor patio. It should be noted that the average age when we were there was 60...

We didn't sample a lot of the menu but what we tried was unfortunately mediocre at best. The burrata was too salty and a complete miss. The allegedly homemade whole wheat pappardelle with wild mushrooms, arugula and goat cheese was nothing special. The wood grilled octopus was okay but no match for the one I had last week at Michael's Genuine. As a huge meatball fan, I opted for the meatball sliders over the grilled short ribs and giant kobe beef ravioli. Another average offering. Not bad but no comparison to Macaluso's, Cafe Martarano's or nearby Fulvio's.

I obviously didn't love Bar Rosso and certainly can't recommend it. Nevertheless, I'm willing to give them another shot because of the numerous BTG wine and small plate food options.

I think they can succeed in that area if they improve the quality of the food, continue with the small plate options, and maintain the reasonable/diverse wine prices/options. This will help get the younger demographic in there for dinner and keep them at the bar late night. If not, they will not make it to next season and be toast by Labor Day.

Bar Rosso Restaurant & Vinoteca on Urbanspoon

Thursday, June 18, 2009

michy's summer wine series 6/30/09

Michy's and Vinifera Imports Present
Four Courses, Eight Italian Wines...

Welcome at the Bar
Orvieto, Castagnolo, by Berberani, Umbria 2007

Summer Hot and Cold Vegetable Salad, Tomato Broth
Frascati dei Preti, by Piero Constantini, Lazio 2006
Pinot Grigio Ramato, by Zeni, Trentino 2007

Shrimp, Creamy Rice, Candied Seafood Nage
Soave Classico, Monte Grande, by Pra, Veneto 2006
Rosso di Montalcino, by Canalicchio di Sopra, Toscana 2006

Barolo Braised and Grilled Short Ribs, Bone Marrow Salad
Langhe Rosso, Long Now, by Giorgio Pelissero, Piemonte 2004
Sangiovese, Flaccianello della Pieve, by Fontodi, Toscana 1998

Panna Cotta with Fresh Cherries
Brachetto d'Acqui, by Braida di Giacomo Bologna, Piemonte 2007

$85 per person (not including tax, gratuity)

Tuesday, the 3oth of June, 2009
7:00pm promptly
For reservations call 305.759.2001

6927 Biscayne Blvd.
Miami, FL 33138

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Recessionista Dinner @ Pacific Time 6/23/09





The American Institute of Wine & Food (AIWF) launches the second of its monthly summer series of economically priced wine and food menus, dubbed Recessionista Wine Dinners, Tuesday, June 23, 7:00 p.m. at Pacific Time, with a menu consisting of four small plates paired with wine samples, created by Chef/owner Jonathan Eismann, priced at just $40 per person; $30 per person for AIWF members, including tax and gratuity. 10% of the proceeds will benefit AIWF culinary scholarships.

Pacific Time is located in the Miami Design District, at 35 N.E. 40th Street. For reservations, e-mail assnmgmt@bellsouth.netor call: 954-396-3875 in Broward; 305-663-9641 in Dade.



sheeps milk ricotta, parmigiano grand cru, organic spinach,

brown butter, speck

pinot grigio terrazze della luna trentino, italy

madagascar prawn

ume boshi plum sauce, sticky rice, nori

sauvignon blanc • joel gott • napa valley, california

local black grouper cheeks

red curry, bananas, coconut water and house fries

chardonnay • chalone vineyard, estate grown, monterey county

braised beef short rib

northern beans, goat cheese, thyme

cabernet sauvignon • dynamite • sonoma, california



Monday, June 15, 2009

Heart Attack Grill

I heard the owner of Heart Attack Grill on the radio today and had to share this place with you. It was the first time I had heard of it. It's a hospital themed fast food restaurant in Arizona. They have "nurses" who fill "patients prescriptions".

The menu includes a quadruple bypass burger that is two pounds of beef and 8000 calories. They also serve fries cooked in pure lard, sell unfiltered cigarettes, beer, liquor, and Mexican Coke made with real sugar.

They have a scale in the middle of the restaurant and any customers over 350 lb eat for free if they weigh in with a doctor or nurse before each burger. They have seven to eight regulars....

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Pizza Pizza!! SOSTA Delivers

Sosta Pizzeria is the latest upscale pizza place to open in Miami. Sosta is located on Lincoln Road in the old Johnny Rockets spot. I was looking forward to trying Sosta but for some reason expected being underwhelmed and disappointed. My fears were unfounded. Sosta came to play and they delivered.

There are no traces of Johnny Rockets anywhere. This is the sharpest looking "pizzeria" I've ever seen. The room was modern, upscale with views of the open kitchen. Moreover, the staff was obviously well trained and the service was great, especially for SoBe/Lincoln Road standards. Hostess, waiter and servers were all top notch.

The Diavola Pizza (tomato, mozzarella and spicy salami) I tried was VERY good. It featured a charred thin crust with a great cheese/sauce ratio. The spicy salami was a perfect compliment. The Cobb salad received a big thumbs up from the salad loving Chowwife. I was too busy enjoying my pizza but the salad appeared very fresh. I didn't get a great look at the wine list but will make an effort next time and report back.

Sosta is a real nice addition to Lincoln Road and a great pre/post movie option.
I'll be back for more real soon.


1025 Lincoln Road
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 722-5454


Baseball Stadium Bites

The Yankees come to town next weekend for a three game series so I'm sure a lot of people will venture over to the stadium. There was a great article in the NY Times last summer about great food at baseball stadiums throughout the country. They also included a map with recommendations at each stadium. Links are below.

At Joe Robbie, ooops Pro Player, I mean Dolphin Stadium, errrrrr Landshark Stadium(why would Dolphins name stadium after a shark???) look for Maggie's Empanadas.

I plan on getting out there for a game and will post back if I find any winners. Any recommendations out there?


This link tells you what to get and avoid at each stadium


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Zagat's Fast Food Champs

Zagat revealed its Fast Food Champs today.

Best Burger- In-N-Out Burger (Haven't tried)
Best Fries- McDonald's (agree)
Best Breakfast Sandwich- McDonald's
Best Value- McDonald's
Most Child Friendly- McDonald's
Best Coffee- Starbucks followed by Dunkin D
#1 Food/Facilities (large)- Wendy's
Most Popular/Healthy(large)- Jared errr Subway
#1 Food/Facility/Popular (small)- Panera Bread
Top Food/Service(small)-In-N-Out Burger
Best Milkshake-Ben & Jerry's
Best Grilled Chicken- Chick-Fil-A
Best Fried Bird- KFC

Reminder Top Chef Masters Tonight 6/10/09

Top Chef fans, Top Chef Masters premiers tonight at 10p.m. on Bravo. Contestants (24 established chefs) were listed in an earlier post that you can find here Top Chef Masters

Links to some previews below

Sunday, June 7, 2009


"You have a problem, you are obsessed, this is getting crazy, you are a FOOD BITCH!!!!" The Chowwife- 7:50 p.m. Saturday night.

Okay, it looks like I may have to change the name of my blog from The Chowfather to the Food Bitch according to my wife.

Here's how it went down..

Earlier in the week we decided that we were going to go on a much needed dinner date a la the Obama's sans secret service. Unfortunately, she doesn't like the same places that I do for various reasons. Thus, I do not get to Yakko-San or Red Light as often as I would like. (She likes the food at Red Light but we've had a hectic year and don't do date nights as often as we have in the past so she usually opts for a spot with a little more ambiance/scene) Anyway, I created a dinner game a few years ago in order to assist us in coming to a mutual decision on a dinner spot. The game essentially allows her to pick the place out of a pool of MY favorites (soo Houston's never makes the list. On a side note, she raves about their veggie burger. I'm a reasonable guy and go with her for lunch...)

The game is fun (for me) and a win win.

I have a couple of variations to the game. Being the huge sports fan that I am, I normally set it up like the NCAA Tournament and rank my preferences from 1-8 or 16 depending on my food mood. 1 v 8, 2 v 7, 3v 6, 4 v 5 etc etc until there is one standing. (Yes, I am aware that I am a fork dork) This week I changed things up and put the restaurants in groups of 4 and had her select one from each in order to speed up the process.

My #1 choice this week was NAOE. I was really lobbying for it but knew she wasn't going to have the patience to sit through this type of dinner. (Thank god for Father's day.... I'm thinking NAOE for dinner, then the movie The Hangover followed by a late night stop at Yakko-San. Now that's a Trifecta babyyyy) Okay, the other 15 spots on my list were Michael's Genuine, Scarpetta, Sra. Martinez, Hakkasan, Michy's, Red Light, Meat Market, Bourbon Steak, Timo, Asia de Cuba, Valentino's, Steak 954, Pacific Time, Talula and Lola's on Harrison.

The final four ended up being Michael's Genuine, Pacific Time, Scarpetta and yesss NAOE. (she loves me, she really loves me)

The finals ended up being a Design District battle between Michael's Genuine and Pacific Time. Schwartz v. Eismann worked for me. Michael's Genuine prevailed BUT the decision was made too late and I was unable to secure a reservation. Pacific Time here we come!!!

The Conception of Food Bitch (immaculate of course)

Friday afternoon- Excited for our surprising first visit to PT, I emailed Frod's in depth Food for Thought-Pacific Time post to CW and told her to study up!!! Now, I need to advise you that unlike me, she HATES, LOATHES, DESPISES reviewing menus prior to sitting down at a restaurant. She also avoids reading blogs, reviews, chowhound etc. (why bother when you have me) That said, she actually read and enjoyed Frod's great post BUT handing her the menu I printed from menu pages was really pushing the envelope. Despite strategically placing it in various spots around the house including inside her US Weekly, she refused to touch it. Resorting to subtle menu dropping Friday night didn't help.

Birth sans epidural

Saturday- Since Michael's was our first choice I called over to see if they had any cancellations. The person who handles their reservations is always a pleasure to deal with and came through. We've been to Michael's several times but have not been to dinner there in a couple of months and the menu is always changing. Soooo, what did I do next?? Duhhh, I emailed her Frod's outstanding recent post Food For Thought- MGF&D where he discusses some of the recent menu changes.


6:00 p.m. Me - "hey any chance you will split the crispy pig ears"
CW- "Are you kididng me? Are you discussing the menu now??"
Me- "what if it's a salad??"
CW- "I'm not going"
Oh no, we can't have that- Me- "ohhh relax I'm just kidding"

6:30- I review the online menu and wine list , read chow thread and Frod's post. I spot a bottle of Pinot I like.

7p.m.ish Me-"any chance you will split a bottle of pinot"
CW- rolling of eyes followed by "I may be willing to discuss that in the car if you stop"
Wahoo the door is ajar...

En Route

7:48 Me-"sooo you in the mood for red?"
CW- "sighh, no, you know I don't like red"
Me- "no problem, sooo how about those crispy pig ears"
CW- "no chance"
Me-" crispy homemade pastrami???"
CW- "stop ruining the menu for me. I like to be surprised when I get there"
Me- "mmm, I think the Fudge Farm Pork Chop is still on the menu"

The night was perfect and our meals were great as usual. I went with the chargrilled octopus in lieu of the pastrami because I was also going with the pork chop. Both were outstanding. I will be back real soon for my pig ears and pastrami.

Friday, June 5, 2009

End Childhood Hunger @ Lola's on Harrison 6/11/09

I published a post a few weeks ago regarding the Gold Medal Wine Tour dinner series. There are thirteen dinners in South Florida through November. In a nutshell, the dinners feature the best wines from the 2008 American Fine Wine Competition and proceeds benefit Kids in Distress, End Childhood Hunger, Crohn's & Colitis and PROPEL. K

The next dinner is at a great restaurant, Lola's on Harrison in Downtown Hollywood. Chef Michael Wagner's menu sounds awesome and it benefits End Childhood Hunger.

This should be a great meal for a great cause.

Passed Hors D’oeuvres

Humbolt Fog Goat Cheese Stuffed Figs wrapped with Applewood Smoked Bacon

Spicy Grilled Shrimp with Mango Gazpacho

Beet & Carrot Pancakes with Dill Crème Fraiche

Mumm Napa Brut Rose

First Course:

Assorted Summer Melon Salad with Swank Farms Micro Mix Greens

Topped with a Basil-Mint Granita

Rodney Strong Sauvignon Blanc 2007 (Best of Class)

Second Course:

Grilled Ruby Red Trout Served with Swank Farms Deep Red Lolla Rosa

Roasted Pistachio Nuts, Sundried Cherry- Pinot Noir Vinaigrette

Davis Bynum Pinot Noir 2005 (Double Gold medal)

Third Course:

Mocha Crusted Braised Buffalo Short Ribs, Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

Coriander Glazed Baby Carrots, Natural Pan Juices

Parry Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (Best of Class)

Fourth Course:

Fresh Blackberry Pie with Marscapone Cream

Oatmael – Black Currant Cookies

Brochelle Syrah 2006 (Gold medal)

For reservations call Shari at 561-504-VINE (8463) and visit www.goldmedalwinetour.com for details about the menus and wines, and up-to-date information. Dinners are $125 inclusive

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Free dinner for two @ Chef Allen's

Dealing With Mangos

It's a simple deal: dinner for two at Chef Allen's for a wheelbarrow of Mangos (approximately 200 pounds).
That might seem like a steep bounty for this humble fruit, but not in South Florida. It's a challenge Miamians happily rise to every summer, when mangos are plentiful in backyards and groves alike. The pride of owning a mango tree turns to a passion as the trees begin to ripen in the steamy tropical heat.

CHEF ALLEN’S : South Florida’s Premiere Gourmet Restaurant

Single Malt Scotch Dinner @ Neomi's Grill 6/25/09

This one sounds interesting for Scotch fans..

Cellars Wine & Spirits Warehouse will be featuring single malts from six distilleries paired with some exceptional dishes from Neomi’s Grill.


‘warm ups’

foie gras, 85% chocolate, granola crunch

spinach pakora, curried raita

St. Andre fondue, rye crisps

jamon iberico, sweet corn, almond

Benromach Traditional, Speyside, Gordon & Macphail

1st Course

bbq’d copper salmon

ginger pickled daikon, toasted nori

honshemiji, wasabi froth, barley sushi rice, oyster emulsion

Laphroaig 7 year old, Islay, Signatory

2nd Course

malt duck

accents of fennel, drambuie, vanilla, citrus, soft herbs

Smith’s Glenlivet 21 year old, Speyside, Gordon & Macphail

3rd Course

arugula & watercress

‘brown butter’scotch, shropshire blue cheese

Scotch quail eggs, grilled orange vinaigrette

Tullibardine Vintage 1993, Highlands, Signatory

4th Course

wagyu & tatties

low smoked brisket, black garlic, sea salted Kennebec potatoes

25 yr. scotch + 25 yr. sherry vinegar = glace de viande

Strathisla 25 year old, Speyside, Gordon & Macphail


cocoa & oats

honey almond sable, coffee-vanilla toffee, chocolate cremoso

oatmeal caramel & streusel, scotch air

Dunkeld Atholl Brose, Speyside, Gordon & Macphail

Date: Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Time: 6:30pm Reception 7:00pm Dinner

Reservations: Neomi’s Grill at Trump International Beach Resort (305)-692-5770

18001 Collins Avenue, Sunny Isles, FL 33160

Price: $85.00 all inclusive (includes tax & gratuity)

Cellars Wine & Spirits Warehouse


21055 Biscayne Blvd.

Aventura, FL 33180


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Pinot Noir Winner from Oregon

Pinot fans, I tried a real winner from Oregon. It was a 2006 Lemelson Thea's Selection. It's not super inexpensive but it is under $30.00 and great Pinot from Oregon is hard to find at that price point.

Lemelson Vineyards produces Pinot noir, Chardonnay, Pinot gris and Riesling from its seven vineyards in Oregon's Yamhill County.

The Thea's Selection is a blend of fruit from Lemelson's six vineyards. If you are a Pinot fan, I would give this a shot.

2006 Lemelson Pinot Noir Thea's Selection Willamette Valley

Monday, June 1, 2009

Personalized Steak on Father's Day @ Chef Allen's

This has potential for the steak loving Dad....

Father’s Day June 21
Personalize Your Own STEAK on Father’s Day.

How would you like a thick juicy steak that you cut yourself? Let our Chefs cook it to your specification on our Lyonnaise Grill that burns Oak at 720 degrees. ON FATHER’S DAY ONLY - you can step up to the butcher block in the kitchen and cut your own Filet Mignon, Rib Eye or New York Sirloin Steak to fit your appetite. We will also offer the entire menu along with our Spice Bistro menu that evening.

Call 305-935-2900 or click here to make a reservation.

CHEF ALLEN’S : South Florida’s Premiere Gourmet Restaurant