Friday, August 31, 2012

Best Burgers South Florida- Tiers of a Burger*Cmdv1HBnZwz7DvF6V6YRXlSndYto78CZexRwA16KeCMRDF3/ronald.jpg

The following are the best of the best burgers in Miami according to ME and broken down into Tiers. I limited the list to my Top Twenty and listed them alphabetically within each tier with the exception of Shake Shack because they remain the King.

Let me stress that every burger on this list is great and worth driving for. There are no mediocre burgers on my list. All are located in Miami area unless noted.


Shake Shack -ShackBurger, cheeseburger topped with lettuce, tomato and shacksauce. Burgers are 100% all natural angus beef, ground daily and cooked medium

db Bistro Moderne- The Original db Burger, sirloin burger filled with braised short ribs, Foie Gras & Black truffle served on a parmesan bun.


Bourbon Steak -The All-Beef, dry aged burger topped with melted farmhouse cheddar, shredded lettuce, balsamic onions and secret sauce.

Blue Collar- Real Juicy Cheeseburger, prime dry aged NY Strip on a delicious Portuguese bun.

Burger Fi - BurgerFi Burger, double all natural, grass fed angus burger, lettuce, tomato and secret sauce.

Houston's- Yes, Houston's. Get the Cheeseburger with fresh ground chuck, with cheddar, lto on a toasted egg bun

J&G Grill- J&G Cheeseburger with black truffle dressing and brie on a terrific housemade bun that hung with the burger until the last bite.

LoKal- The Classic, Florida grass fed burgers with thinly sliced white onions, tomato, shredded lettuce, dill pickles, sharp Wisconsin cheddar, mayo and mustard. The grass fed beef flavor shines through.


Burger & Beer Joint - Build your own is the way I go

Edge Steak & Bar - Edge Burger, Creekstone Farms ground beef, Vermont cheddar.

Michael's Genuine Food & Drink - Harris Ranch Black Angus Burger, house ground and served on brioche bun.

Red Light - Red Light Burger, secret onions & white cheddar.

The Dutch- Dry aged prime burger, cheddar, sesame bun, secret sauce.

Whisk- Big Old McDonald's Burger, 8 oz sirloin patty, shredded iceberg lettuce, Florida tomato, special sauce, pickles, shaved red onion, melted muenster cheese on toasted sesame bun. *Friday only.


Char-Hut - Char-Burger. (Broward locations)

Charm City Burgers- The Emperor, 8oz American Kobe beef patty melt, sauteed mushrooms, aged gruyere & truffled aioli. (Deerfield Beach)

HiWay Burger- Double Hi Cheeseburger with spread, lto. Ask for pickles and grilled onions. (Delray Beach)

Le Tub - Sirloinburger, 13 oz. ground top sirloin, seasoned, charbroiled, served on a bun with lettuce, tomato, onion. (Hollywood)

ROK:BRGR -Classic, 10 oz. certified angus beef, yellow american cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickle, sesame bun.

Sparky's Roadside Barbecue- 1/2 pound angus beef burger.

A TIER of Their Own
(great non-traditional burgers/food trucks that deserve their own tier)

gastroPod-Mo Better Burger, short rib, brisket and sirloin topped with poached egg, slaw and gPod sauce

Meat Market- American kobe slider duo- bacon/white cheddar foie gras.

Sakaya Kitchen- Angus beef bulgogi sliders with spicy goat cheese, pickles, roasted pork & kimchi

Sugarcane Raw Bar- Kobe sliders with tonkatsu sauce and fried quail egg..

Sustain and Tudor House. Your burgers will be missed.


Umami Burgers ??

Did I miss any of your favorites?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

September Spice @ The Dutch


It's no secret that I am a huge fan of chef Carmellini and his team at The Dutch.  Chefs Carmellini, Hanlon and Gripper absolutely crushed a recent Cobaya dinner.  I was fortunately invited to a complimentary tasting of their new Miami Spice menu offerings for September and left very impressed.  It is refreshing to see a chef and restaurant of their stature taking Miami Spice so seriously.  It's a win for Miami food fans and a great opportunity to experience The Dutch and their great Spice menu seven days a week. 



Chef Carmellini was in the house discussing the Spice dishes.


Chilled Sweet Corn Soup with fire roasted corn, piquillo peppers, ancho chile.

Chicken Wings- confit drumstick, vadouvan, apple, cauliflower.

Foie Gras Agnolotti- fennel coulis, roasted figs, port reduction. This is a must order dish for pasta and foie fans. The $10.00 supplement is worth every cent.


Chicken Caesar- roast chicken, grilled romaine hearts, white anchovy, parmesan. This is a caesar that even non caesar fans will enjoy. The roast chicken was moist and full of flavor. 

Skate Wing- ras el handout, saffron cous cous, home-made raisin, toasted almond. The skate was cooked perfectly and the accompanying ingredients were packed with great flavor. This is a standout dish and a must order.

Pastry chef Josh Gripper talking dessert.

Lemon Vanilla Cheescake- blueberry compote, graham cracker crisp.

Milk Chocolate Budino- roasted sour cherry, yuzu ice cream.  Spice is nice when you end it with a sweet treat!   

You will be hard pressed to find better Miami Spice dishes and value in town. You do not want to miss out on this.     

2201 Collins Ave Map.f370716 (W Hotel)
Miami BeachFL 33139

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Estiatorio Milos by Costas Spiliadis (South Beach)

                                            Opened in May 2012

Three lunch visits to Milos and three fantastic meals.  Who needs Miami Spice when you can take advantage of their generous $20.12 three course lunch menu that is available seven days a week? This is a great value especially when you factor in the cost of going to dinner there. ($50 a pound fish, $32 appetizers etc.) 

Milos recently opened in the "south of Fifth Street" neighborhood of South Beach one block from Joe's.  This is the fifth Milos to open worldwide with other well regarded spots located  in Montreal, New York, Athens and Las Vegas.  

Why is Milos so good? It's a simple formula. They are serving high quality, simply seasoned, perfectly cooked, great tasting fresh fish.  I've enjoyed everything I have tried thus far and look forward to many more meals lunches there.   

The main dining room is large, open and has a sleek modern look.

The famous "must do" lunch menu.


Grilled Octopus- sashimi quality Mediterranean octopus, charcoal-broiled. I'm a big octopus fan and this did not disappoint at all.  Right up there with the best in town.   

Canadian Classic- Willy Krauch Nova Scotia Smoked Salmon, cream cheese, red onion & world famous St. Viateur bagel from Montreal. Watch out Sage Bagel, this could be best bagel and lox in town.

Fresh Diver Scallop Skewer with green bell pepper, sweet onions and couscous.  The scallop was as fresh as they come, perfectly seared, lightly seasoned and melted in my mouth. A real winner.


Tsipoura - Mediterranean sea bream.  I've had this fish on two visits and really enjoyed it both times.  The fish was fresh, moist and very tasty.  I could eat this everyday.

Honjake Salmon with roasted vegetables. Another standout dish.  It's a  
generous portion of perfectly cooked salmon that contains great flavor.  A must get for all salmon fans.  Non salmon fans will love it too.


Greek Goat's Milk Yogurt-thyme honey.  You can't leave Milos without trying this unreal Greek yogurt.  It's a real treat.

Karidopita- Greek walnut cake.  This was highly recommended by my server and was good but no match for the Greek Yogurt.

I highly recommend paying Milos a visit and taking advantage of the lunch deal that is even available on weekends.  The food is fantastic and the value is great.  Enjoy.

Estiatorio Milos By Costas Spiliadis on Urbanspoon

730 1st St Map.5a20c74
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Common Threads World Festival 10/2/12

This is a great event for a great cause.  I attended last year and it was a fun night that featured some great food.  It's not inexpensive but worth every penny!  See you there.

World Festival events are held annually in each Common Threads program city. At each world festival, Common Threads brings together some of the most influential chefs, diverse professionals, philanthropists, and foodies for a fundraising gala to help sustain and grow the after-school programs.

Don't miss your opportunity to experience our love of food and what we do for Miami children and families at this beautiful event in the heart of the Miami Design District. 

Tickets are avaliable now at or by calling312.329.2501 ext. 207

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

First Date- J&G Grill


J&G Grill opened a few months ago in the new St. Regis Resort in Bal Harbour.  The dining room is sharp, sophisticated and modern with great ocean views.  The chef behind J & G is Jean-Georges Vongerichten.  Jean-Georges currently owns several popular and well acclaimed restaurants around the world including Jean-Georges in New York City which received a four star rating from the New York Times along with a three star rating from the Michelin guide.  In 2007, he received 6 Michelin stars, 3 for Jean-Georges and one star each for Vong, JoJo and Perry Street.  He followed that up with a James Beard award for Outstanding Restaurant in 2008.

His Miami team is comprised of chef de cuisine is Richard Gras who spent several years working in the Ritz Carlton kitchens at Half Moon Bay and Amelia Island.  His sous chef is Leo Pablo who previously worked at another Jean-Georges spot, Fern located in Puerto Rico. 

The J&G kitchen is also home to pastry chef extraordinaire, Antonio Bachour.  Chef Bachour takes dessert to another level with his creative and cutting edge techniques.  His plating skills are the best I've seen.  He was recently named Top Ten Pastry Chef in America by Dessert Professional Magazine.

I was very impressed with sommelier Luis Mejia who did an excellent job pairing wines with our tasting menu.  His parings were diverse, perfectly paired and very enjoyable.

General Manager Antonio Palomares deserves credit as well for having a noticeably well trained team. Everyone was friendly yet professional and very knowledgeable.  

During our recent visit we were treated to an eleven course tasting menu curated by Chef Bachour and Chef Pablo.  That was followed by a seven course off menu dessert tasting prepared by Chef Bachour.  It should be noted that chef Bachour warned instructed us to take a couple of tastes and he would then bring the next dish out.  Despite being full we actually finished almost every bite of every dessert. Yes, they were that good.  

The first of eleven savory courses was a fresh Hawaiian Ahi Tuna Tartare with spicy radish and ginger marmalade.

Course two was a melt in your mouth Hamachi Sashimi with avocado and a soy-ginger dressing. 

Course three was one of my favorite savory bites of the night. It featured very flavorful Salmon Sashimi resting on top of a crispy rice and a tasty chipolte mayonnaise.

Next up were plump Sauteed Florida Pink Shrimp paired with key lime yogurt and red radish.

The chef took a temporary break from seafood with a light Florida Hearts of Palm Salad with heirloom tomatoes and young coconut.

Seafood returned with a generous portion of sweet Peekytoe Crab paired with lemongrass and champagne mango.

A dynamite Corn Soup that requires three hours of prep time was served next. It featured delicious roasted corn, red pepper foam and lobster.

Black Truffle Pizza with fontina cheese had a nice chewy dough and was another winner. 

The knockout dish of the night, Caviar, Crispy Poached Egg and Vodka Creme Fraiche tasted even better than it sounded.

Runny yolk, caviar and creme fraiche. Boooya!!!!!

The Roast Crispy Striped Bass with braised fennel had a tough dish to follow.  The bass was very good but the accompanying broth was my least favorite taste of the evening.

The last savory course was a Grilled Filet Mignon with charred fava beans, jalapeno and parmesan. This was cooked closer to medium than the requested medium rare but still maintained its tenderness.  I'm not a filet fan but this was a nice way to end the savory portion of the meal.


The pictures and dish descriptions should say it all.

Crema Catalana, raspberry foam, berries, raspberry lime fizzy, raspberry sorbet.

Dulce de leche chocolate tart, caramel ice cream, chocolate mousse, white chocolate cremeux, chocolate crocante.

Soft chocolate ganache, coconut mousse, coconut powder, banana yogurt sorbet, banana brûlée.

Lemon cream, microwave pistachio sponge cake, greek yogurt, pistachio puree, green apple sorbet.

Lychee panna cotta, mango cream, passion fruit foam, dried pineapple, mango glass, mango sorbet

White chocolate yogurt mousse, lychee granita, campari gelee, grapefruit, micro rose petal, greek yogurt sorbet.

Petit Fours- lime basil macaron, espresso macaron, raspberry pate de fruits, chocolate bonbons.

I was very impressed with all facets of J & G Grill.  The ingredients and products used in every dish were top notch and they were executed perfectly.  This is one of the better all around restaurants in town.  Go and make sure you save room for dessert!

J&G Grill (Bal Harbour Resort) on Urbanspoon

St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort
9703 Collins Avenue,
Bal Harbour, FL 33154
Get Map

Tel:305.993.3333 Fax: 305.993.0440 FAX

Hotel Valet -- Complimentary parking for brunch and lunch only. Dinner parking is $12.00.
Metered parking available on 96th Street


12:00 AM to 3:30 PM Monday – Friday

11:30 AM to 4:00 PM Saturday and Sunday

6:00 PM to 11:00 PM Daily

J&G Bar:
5:00 PM to 12:00 AM Sunday - Wednesday
5:00 PM to 1:00 AM Thursday - Saturday