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Wednesday, October 7, 2015


     I can hardly believe it's time for Miami Spice again. That means fall is almost here. I guess I'll feel it more when the violent afternoon thunderstorms and the 90-degree days start to dwindle.
    This Argentinian bistro has three locations in trendy areas of the city. On this Labor Day weekend, we decided to take a drive on the Rickenbacker Causeway to Key Biscayne. The striking view of the Miami downtown skyline never gets old, so close you can almost reach out and touch the shiny buildings.
     We ordered the sangria with excited anticipation expecting it to be comparable to our favorite version, which is served in another Argentinian eatery. It was presumptuous of us to expect it to be the same. It wasn't sweet and full-bodied like our favorite, and it was made with cheap wine. We both had headaches that evening.
    For appetizers, both John and I ordered the ham and cheese empanadas. John liked the buttery pastry. I thought it was overcooked, but the worst part of it, there was no ham to be found. For the main course, we both ordered the Picanha steak with mashed potatoes. Again, the meat was not of the highest quality, not even mid-grade, but I will give them props for masterful seasoning, and it was cooked to a perfect medium, which did a lot for disguising the mediocre cut. And one other thing stood out: The steaks came with a sauce very much resembling a tangy and velvety chimichurri, but its main component was tomato. I had my portion with the steak, and I had John's portion with bread.
     The potatoes prompted a study in texture and flavor. John theorized that the restaurant is attempting to extend the yield of their potato budget by mixing natural with boxed flakes. I accept the theory but I propose that they are enhancing the flavor either with loads of butter or olive oil. I found them satisfactory, John didn't.
     For dessert, we ordered the orange flan and the Tiramisu. The Tiramisu was ordinary, and the dusting of powdered coffee was excessive. However, John liked it better than the flan, which in contrast, I thought was better executed. The orange flavor was genuine and it had respectable density.
     The bad news is our first Miami Spice outing of the year was undistinguished at best. The good news is I can check Novecento off my list and move on to my next adventure.

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