Porfirio’s – Miami Beach

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Seabass al Pastor

I love Mexican food and  was very excited to hear about a very popular restaurant in Mexico city that had just opened  in South Beach. So, I gathered a group of friends and dashed over to explore what all the fuss was about!

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Shrimp Guajillo

Outside, a lovely lit sign that reads Porfirio’s Mexican Non Cliché caught me by surprise. Hmmm…what are they trying to say? That they don’t serve tacos or tamales?  No Tex-Mex here?

Intrigued, I walked into this modern eatery not knowing quite what to find.  It looked a lot more like a hip Asian restaurant than your typical colorful  south of the border joint.  Wide spaces surrounded by beaufiful wood paneled walls keeping up with the trendy feel so common in South Beach.

Our server, a young friendly Basque named Enrique, poured the perfect Gin Tonic that was mixed right in front of me, something unusual in the US.  No, I did not have any tequila but I did try the Pierde Almas Mezcal, made from the Maguey plant, that has a slightly smokey  and sweeter taste.

Yet, as  I looked through the menu, I could barely recognize any of the dishes as Mexican: Burger?  Black Alaskan cod in squid ink? Where are the tortas, the sopes, the enchiladas shown on the original menu??

Fortunately, I found some pretty good guacamole with chips as well as some deliciously grilled octopus tacos  and  a very Mexican appetizer called  esquites made with corn, cheese, lemon, Piquin chile and a little too much mayo for my  taste

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Alaskan cod
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Baked bananas

The best dish of all was  the tender and moist sea bass  al Pastor( marinated with anatto and chargrilled).  As far as the cod in squid ink for $39, very dry! And the ink sauce was so salty it was almost impossible to eat as opposed to the huge shrimp Guajillo  which was rather bland.

Fortunately,  desert was actually very nice. The baked  bananas served with vanilla ice cream were quite the treat in a foster kind of way.  The strawberries with meringue were light and tasty also. Whether non cliché or not, all in all, Porfirio’s was somewhat of a disappointment.  Instead of trying to be like most of the other stuffy and overpriced Miami Beach restaurants, perhaps it should offer more of the authentic fare  it serves back home. After all, everyone knows that   Mexican  cuisine is one of the best in the world! 

Porfirio’s

850 Commerce Street

Miami Beach, FL 33139

786 216 7675

http://www.porfirios.com.mx

Dim Sum at Hakkasan, Miami Beach

hakvegThe last time I dined at Hakkasan was in 2009, the year it first opened at the ritzy Fountainebleu Hotel in Miami Beach. I remember the wonderful ambience and the courteous service, and yes the food was a delicious cornucopia of Cantonese cuisine.

This time, Dim Sum brought me in on a cool sunday afternoon. I couldn’t resist a tempting price fix menu of $28 that included a sample of three steamed dumplings, three pan fried dumplings, one entrée, a choice of  vegetables and a choice of *char sui cheung fun (bbq pork rice noodle roll), wild mushroom *cheung fung (rice noodle roll), spring onion egg fried rice, steamed jasmine rice or wonton noodle soup.

Pork *shui mai (dumpling), a snap pea and shrimp dumpling and a Chinese chive prawn dumpling were the steamed offerings.While the chive and prawn dumpling was tender and flavorful, the pork one was chewy and tasteless.  As a matter of fact, none of the meat dumplings were worth biting into, neither steamed nor pan fried, not even the deep fried  chicken puff.hakdumplings

For the main course you could choose from the BBQ platter, the smoked ribs and char sui (bbq pork) and the stir fried chicken.  We all had to choose the same entrée so we picked the stir fry which was absolutely delicious; tender morsels of breast meat with mushrooms, crispy snap peas,  and crunchy bits of Chinese yam.

hakchickenThe only problem with this dish was its size. It was  too small, more like an appetizer for three people. When asked if it was the right portion, the waitress replied ” that’s what the chef consider’s the right amount to be”. Ok, jut don’t call it an entrée!

The scallion fried rice was light and fluffy. The vegetable side was a lovely medley of perfectly cooked asparagus and thin strips of fried tofu in a sweet Szechuan sauce, the best dish on this Dim Sum menu. Aside from the steep prices and the somewhat snooty staff, Hakassan’s ambience and decor are worth peeking into. Just make sure you order from the regular menu and hope the entrées will really be what they claim to be!

 

hakbarHakkasan

4441 Collins Avenue

Miami Beach, FL 33149

(786)276 1388

http://www.hakkasan.com