Claudio Giordano's new and improved Altamare recently hosted the latest and very enjoyable Cobaya dinner. You can find more information on Cobaya here http://cobayamiami.blogspot.com/
Claudio was a great host as usual. He was responsible for the perfect wine pairings and generous pours. A class act.
New Chef Simon Stojanovic (formerly of Michael's Genuine) treated us to five delightful dishes and a perfect progression. He started the evening with a thin and generous portion of really fresh sheepshead carpaccio. It was nicely seasoned with some sea salt and a touch of citrus. It was paired with a delicious Charles Lafitte Brut Champagne.
Next up was a perfectly cooked triggerfish tempura. The beer tempura was light and properly complimented the moist and tasty triggerfish. It was served with a fennel and buddha hand salad. This was a simple looking presentation but it really delivered. I had a difficult time putting my fork down on this one. This was one of the best fish dishes I've had in a long time including the numerous ones we sampled at Cobaya Fin. I would look for this dish if it's on the regular menu. Claudio paired this well with a very nice Sauvignon Blanc from Joel Gott.
Chef Simon followed this up with one of my favorite things, grilled octopus. His version had a very nice char to it without sacrificing any tenderness or flavor. It also featured some chorizo. This was paired with a nice Sardinian red whose name escapes me.
Next up was a house made pappardelle with tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella plus the dish stealing, braised short ribs. The pappardelle was good but the short rib was the star, very tender and tasty. Another winner that I would look out for on the menu. Claudio simply stated that the sauce required a Chianti which I enjoyed as well.
Chef Simon finished aggressively and strongly with a nice Deep Creek Ranch grilled lamb heart dish. I would assume that this is a difficult item to prepare. No worries because he nailed it!! Even the less adventurous at the table enjoyed it. This was clearly a Cobayaesque type dish and I hope Chef S enjoyed preparing it for us. I'm sure it will be hard to find on their regular menu but a cameo or two would be nice. This was paired with a Pinot Noir from Au Bon Climat.
New pastry chef (impressive that they have one) Crystal Cullison ended the evening with a very nice chocolate and fennel sponge cake dessert.
I didn't take any notes during the dinner so I know I'm missing some details that others can help fill in.
In a nutshell, this was a very enjoyable evening. It was a fun group with a great host. His staff continues to provide some of the best service on South Beach. The new space looked great and the loyal local following should continue. I'm looking forward to going back soon and working my way through the new menu items. They are also open for lunch now and I'm craving that rock shrimp po'boy.