Sunday, July 4, 2021


I recently wrote about my first post vaccination/covid dining experience in Miami which was a fantastic Mother's day lunch at Leku.  I followed that up with my first dinner a couple of Saturday nights ago at Ariete.  The choice for my first dinner was an easy one as I told Chef Michael Beltran during the pandemic that he would be my first stop when I could get back to a restaurant and I'm a man of my word.  Why did I tell him that? Because not only do I enjoy his food but I was very impressed with his hard work, perseverance and resiliency during the rough times.  He made some quick and wise pivots early on and was able to survive. And now he's ready to thrive.   

Once seated my girlfriend correctly pointed out that we also started the lock down with a great Cobaya to Go dinner from Ariete.  I didn't post about it last March because I felt like writing about a great meal and restaurants was a bit tone deaf for the times.  However, I was happy to promote every restaurant that had pivoted to take out dinners on my Instagram feed.  I started and maintained this site to support and promote local restaurants and chefs in Miami and I wanted to keep that going via my Instagram stories to spread the word as often as I could.  

Anyway, as we entered the uncertainty of covid, Michael and his team made a lot of Cobayas (guinea pigs) happy that night. I don't want to get into a lot of detail here about it because he's doing it on a daily basis now and is worthy of its own dedicated post. Nevertheless, if you are a duck fan you definitely want to experience the press. Be forewarned, they are limited and sell out fast so you may want to request it when booking your reservation.  No clue if that is permissible but it can't hurt to ask if you're not an early bird diner. 

The Press


14 day dry aged duck breast, pistachio dukkah
duck tamale, wild mushroom gravy
pastelitos of duck fricassée, green salad.

Michael a rising star in Miami but he may take offense to that since he was a James Beard Semi-finalist last year. But I mean no offense by it and nothing but respect. I say rising because he's young and has a lot of great cooking and accolades in front of him. Not behind him. 

Hopefully, he will be a finalist next time and take home the trophy. But unfortunately Miami doesn't garner a lot of love when it comes to the Beard awards although we did have several semi-finalists last year so some progress has been made. I don't know much about the voting or the politics but it has been an issue with me for years now. We've hadsome deserving chefs get snubbed for nominations and as finalists over the years.

Circling back to my recent meal at Ariete. It was fantastic and a really enjoyable night. In addition to the Canard a la Presse experience they are offering a nightly seven course tasting menu called Versos Diarios for $125.00.  This is a great way to enjoy Michael's current menu.  However, we opted to create our own tasting menu because that Our Florida Orange dish in the photo above was not on it and I had to have it.  It's visually stunning and was a real treat. Chicken foie mousse, duck and sour orange pate, chocolate dirt, mint and served with great house made bread.  This is a three-day process and a serious dish.  

Oyster fans should start any meal there with wood grilled oysters.  He serves them with bone marrow butter or sea urchin foam. We opted for the sea urchin foam which we a fantastic taste of the sea to start the night. We stayed in the ocean for course two with the perfectly cooked and flavorful combination of scallops and morrels with shrimp mousse and buttermilk air.  I was excited for the next dish, Tamal en Cazuela with sea urchin and pork fat foam and it did not disappoint.  Dive in with your spoon and get it all in one bite.  The aforementioned Our Florida Orange was out next followed by a tasty beef heart tartare.  The last two dishes were from the entree portion of the menu and featured perfectly cooked venison which you do not see often in Miami and something I like to order when I do and a trifecta of lamb.  Both were delicious.  The entree portion of the menu also contains several other enticing options.  

Service and the pacing of the meal was spot on.  Our server was attentive, knowledgeable and friendly.  She recommended half bottles of a white and red wine to pair and both were prefect.  They take cocktails seriously here too so start with one as you peruse the menu.  

I've had many meals over the years that were creative and featured modern techniques and foams and tweezers that sounded great on paper and looked even better when plated.  But they lacked flavor and soul.  Creativity is a wonderful thing but the food has to taste good.  Michael's combination of creativity and skills translates into properly executed and flavorful plates of food. Beard or no Beard his greatest reward will be diners clamoring for more. His dedication to his craft is inspiring to see and I look forward to seeing what he accomplishes moving forward.  The real winners will be Miami food lovers.

PS - keep your eyes open for the re-opening of Chug's Diner along with two new Chef Beltran concepts opening in the Miami World Center 2022.  Laurel Brasserie, Michael's twist on a French Brasserie, a duck press en la casa perhaps and a cigar bar called El Vecino.  

Wood Grilled Oysters with sea urchin butter. 

Scallops & Morels -  
buttermilk & pea puree, shrimp mousse, stuffed morels, buttermilk air.

Tamal en Cazuela -
sea urchin, pork fat foam

Our Florida Orange -
chicken foie mousse, duck and sour orange pate,
chocolate dirt, mint, white bread

Beef Heart Tartare
smoked oyster aioli, herb salad, oyster toast.

braised lamb neck tamale, grilled lamb loin, lamb seco jus.

truffle twice-baked potatoes, foie gras sauce diane, wild mushrooms.

3540 Main Hwy
Coconut Grove FL 33133
(786) 615-3747

Dinner Service 
Sunday to Thursday: 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Brunch Service
Saturday & Sunday: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Happy Hour
Monday to Friday: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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