Review: Emeril's Miami Beach

In the heart of South Beach, Miami, Emeril Lagasse has made a home for his originally named annex, Emeril's...Miami Beach.

While visiting the sunny state, one of my eager and hungry accomplices decided that this was the place for our extravagant evening out. My initial reaction-another over-hyped chain, offering over-priced fare with an over-abundance of fluff and an understate of quality. Being in an affluently relaxed frame of mind, I gave into the collaborative efforts of my entourage and, while admiring my newly acquired tan, went to get dressed.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by an exceptionally friendly sommelier who [at the time] was doubling as host, and escorted us to our table. We were seated in a simple dining room, which had uncomfortably bare walls, and bland coloring throughout. To get the important things out of the way, a bottle of Pinot Gris for the table please! As I grazed the leather bound menu, my eyes' reflex is to initially inspect the dessert list-an abundant tabulation of banana cream, key lime, and various other pies. The Southern Style Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, however, was the one which had me at first glance.

As we finalized our choices (being with 2 other women, you can imagine that this only took about... ~forever and a day), we happily placed our order with...no, not him, he's the bread guy...not him either, he pours the wine...no, this guy places the napkin on your lap...him! Our waiter!

After the first toast, and a few bites of an incredibly moist and not overly sweet corn bread, our appetizer made its way to our table...Emeril's Muffalada Salad. I've only experienced the marvel of the aforementioned in sandwich form, in New Orleans, and this low carb alternative was just as amazing. Fresh mixed greens, the perfect ratio of salami, and mozzarella, a light and flavorful red wine vinaigrette and an overabundance of olives and garlic (good thing I wasnt looking for romance that evening). This was just a tease of what awaited, as our entrees werent too far behind. Andouille Crusted Redfish with Roasted Pecan-Grilled Vegetable Relish, Brabant Potatoes and Creole Meunière Sauce, in which the marriage between the gentle, moist redfish and the crunchy, salty andouille (bonded with a savory, smooth sauce) proved to be a match made in heaven. Sweet Potatoes, which melted in our mouths. Miso Glazed Atlantic Salmon with Bamboo Rice, Pickled Ginger-Daikon Salad and Spicy Mustard that was cooked to perfection and dissolved with a gentle touch of your tongue, leaving a salty, tangy sensation. Pan Seared Tanglewood Chicken Breast that, again, was tender in entirety, with a kick of spice and accompanied by bitter, savory greens.

The portions were just right, not overbearing with a complete balance of accompanying vegetables and starches to last throughout the entirety of the protein, leaving us with just enough room for dessert. As we savored our last bites, not wanting the taste-gazms to end, we breathed a sigh of complete indulgence and satisfaction, with the last sip of wine.

After recovering and reentering reality, the focus was geared on dessert. Can our taste buds [once more] be so aroused by Emeril's flavorful creations in a sweet arrangement? The Southern Style Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream did the trick. A warm tart, with the sweetness of brown sugar and crunch of pecans and chocolate chips, was supporting a scoop of rich, vanilla ice cream-a perfect combination of cool and warm. The New Orleans Style Bread Pudding with Brown Butter Bourbon Sauce and Praline Crumbles, however, was the sole under performer of the evening-offering more of a bland muffin appearance [and taste] than a moist bread pudding. The Bourbon sauce was its only savior [and moisturizer].
This small blunder, in comparison with our main feast, did not damper our experience one bit. Well done Emeril, well done! An almost perfect, distinctive meal left our senses overexcited, didn't push our budgets over the top, and sent our taste buds head over heels for Emeril's Miami Beach.
Emeril's Miami Beach-1601 Collins Ave-Miami, FL

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