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Miami Spice report card 2014

Juvia crudo bento box
Juvia crudo bento box
Photo by Gina Guilford

School's back in session and it's time for quizzes, tests and studying. The Miami Dining Examiner has been hard at work, eating out at different restaurants for Miami Spice and has prepared a Miami Spice report card from her studies. This is my experience, so far, of Miami Spice 2014.

Juvia

Juvia has a lot of pluses going for it. The location, on top of a parking garage on Lincoln Road gives diners an amazing view of Miami Beach. The vibe is cool, the music chill and the service relatively good. The downside of Juvia for Miami Spice is that they limit the offering to bento boxes, with small portions of salad, protein, rice and a sweet as the option. The chicken box was fine, but not spectacular. The seared tuna box was excellent. The crudo bento box, which the server recommended as a starter, was delicious, but sets diners back another $23. For these reasons, the Miami Dining Examiner gives Juvia a B-.

Juvia 1111 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach 33139 305 763-8272

Angelique Euro Cafe

The Miami Dining Examiner loved the food at Angelique, however, her party had to wait 20 minutes to get seated and, even then, the table was a round top and square top pushed together, located near the kitchen. This was not exactly fine dining, although the host did comp a couple rounds of drinks for our inconvenience. The other issue was, at 9 pm, they were already out of certain items (calamari frito) on the Miami Spice menu. Having said that, Angelique does offer a wide selection of appetizers, entrees and desserts on its Miami Spice menu. She highly recommends the escargot in sherry cream sauce, seared duck breast with hash and the white chocolate and raspberry bread pudding. Final grade- B.

Angelique Euro Café 117 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables 33134 305 529-9922

Shula's 347 Grill

While the Miami Dining Examiner normally really enjoys the food at Shula's, Miami Spice was a disappointment. Starting with the fact they failed to distribute the Miami Spice menu with the regular menu and wine list (it had to be requested), followed by the fact that the Miami Spice menu was extremely limited (although it had a lot of options for upcharges), it is clear Miami Spice is not a priority at Shula's. Faced with the option of crispy ravioli and Caesar salad for an appetizer, the Miami Dining Examiner ordered the salad, no dressing. It came with dressing; she was so hungry she ate it. Entrees offered are steak, chicken or salmon. Snooze. The steak ordered, Times Square strip was good and came with smashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables. Two desserts- key lime pie and dulce de leche cheesecake, were uninspired and the cheesecake was extremely sweet. For these reasons, the Miami Dining Examiner gives Shula's B-.

Shula's 347 Grill 6915 Red Road, Coral Gables 305 665-9661

Two Chefs

This restaurant, located in a Pinecrest strip mall, was a last minute booking and thoroughly enjoyed. There are a ton of choices on its Miami Spice menu- seven appetizer choices, seven entrée choices and three dessert options. The ahi tuna tartare with thin homemade potato chips was a hit, and the beet salad with green beans and goat cheese was also delicious. The seared tuna entrée with hashbrowns was yummy, but the meatloaf with horseradish mashed potatoes and black bean sauce was also recommended by the server. For dessert, it's a choice of three soufflés- vanilla with blueberry, chocolate or Grand Marnier, so if diners aren't soufflé lovers, they are out of luck. Service was very good, food very good and Two Chefs has a nice ambience as a local favorite dining spot. For these reasons, the Miami Dining Examiners gives it a B+.

Two Chefs 8287 South Dixie Highway, Pinecrest 33143 305 663-2100

Zuma

The Miami Dining Examiner has been wanting to visit Zuma, a Japanese hot spot with outposts in Dubai, Istanbul and Bangkok, for a long time, and it did not disappoint. First of all, it's a very nice atmosphere, located off the lobby of the Epic and situated on the Miami River and downtown Brickell. This is a place to see and be seen, but most of all, to eat and eat well. Miami Spice offers the chance to dine at this pricey, sophisticated restaurant affordably. Service was very good, however, the server asked "Still or sparkling?" for water choices, without adding a third option- "Tap", so the Miami Dining Examiner paid nine bucks for a bottle of still water. Ouch! At any rate, besides that misstep, miso soup and salad with ginger dressing are the appetizers offered and diners get both. The chirashi don, a sashimi selection with velvety smooth fish, crunchy vegetables, tossed in a soy glaze, was served over rice, with wasabi and ginger on the side. It was delicious and is recommended as an entrée to order for Miami Spice. Two desserts, one chocolate and one not, were both quite good, but the green tea ice cream with exotic fruits was the preferred choice. All the dishes were beautifully presented and service was seamless. Valet parking is the only option. It was a bit of a wait, but Zuma did validate. Zuma is highly recommended, A-.

Zuma 270 Biscayne Bay, Miami 33131 305 577-0277

Miami Spice Report Card

Juvia B-

Angelique Euro Café B+

Shula's 347 Grill B-

Two Chefs B+

Zuma A-

Back to work for the Miami Dining Examiner and another report card up at the end of September.