Culinary Highlights from Terry Zarikian

Week of November 21

Enjoy Terry Zarikian’s weekly account of some of the newest restaurants in South Florida, along with many of his all-time favorites.

This week Terry dines at Figata, Christy’s, Tanuki and a return visit to Michael Solomonov’s Dizengoff, to enjoy the first Shabbat dinner served at this location.

Figata just opened less than 10 days ago, and the neighbors are talking! This new Brickell Avenue locale, next to Novecento (they share the same valet parking), serves delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner in a modern café-like atmosphere. Freshly made pastries, house- made pastas, and other Italian daily changing specialties are moderately priced for the high level and quality. The medium sized light pillows of Potato Gnocchi with Four Cheese Sauce was very rich, creamy and unbelievably delicious. Every morsel of light tempura battered Fried Calamari and Zucchini was crunchy, juicy and tender, though lacking seasoning. Got to get back for more as I hear that their Veal Milanese, their other pastas, along with their desserts are worth going back for.

1414 Brickell Avenue
Downtown Miami 33131

Had not been back to the Coral Gables landmark, Christy’s, in over 15 years, and I have to report that it’s better than ever. The expert execution of the superior quality beef cuts, well curated wine list, and the man’s club atmosphere is completed by friendly, swift service, and the best Extra Dry Martinis in the Gables. For starters, we just had to have their always renown Caesar Salad, which was great, but missing the table side preparation. Also, as a flash to the past, I ordered the Prime Rib of Beef – yum, so good, and so juicy and tender. Fried Brussel Sprouts just had that perfect caramelized char. My dinner companion raved about the Herb Crusted Sea Bass with horseradish cream and sautéed spinach she had on her previous visit, as she was enjoying her medium rare small cut Filet Mignon. The White Chocolate Bread Pudding on a nice pool of white chocolate sauce and blackberry drizzle, became the dessert we only wanted a bite of, but quickly devoured it all.

3101 Ponce de Leon Boulevard
Coral Gables, FL 33134

A week later I found myself returning to Michael Solomonov’s Dizengoff, this time to enjoy the first Shabbat dinner served at this location. The fun evening amongst only 18 guests, began with a small prayer and hand-torn pieces (by Michael) of his soft, light and eggy warm Challah, followed by a parade of Salatim, including Pumpkin Baba, which was everyone’s favorite. Matzo Ball Soup, served in a glass mug, was hearty with pieces of celery, carrots and onion and a rustic Matzo Ball – delish! Other outstanding dishes: a briny, spicy and extremely fresh Snapper Crudo and the Charred Bok Choy Saneeya.
Call me crazy, but the moist and tender Salt Baked Chicken tasted freshly killed, which is a flavor one only recognizes if one has had it before. The dessert, Tehina Semifreddo, an addictive end-of-the-meal delight.

250 N.W. 24th Street
Miami, FL 33127

When my old-time dear friend, publicist and “Iron Palate,” Karine Bakhoum, surprised me with a visit last Friday, my only free time was lunch, and I could not think of a better place to take her but Tanuki. As expected when two foodies get together, we over-ordered, but ate every single morsel of Tuna Crispy Rice, Pork Belly Fuku Bun, Beef and Foie Xiao Long Bao, Shrimp Har Gow, and my favorites, the Chicken Truffle Siu Mai and Peking Duck Dumpling. We also had my other big-time favorite, the Crispy Snapper with Kataifi, Jalapeno Relish, Aioli wrapped in butter Lettuce. Next time, I must have the Pumpkin and Duck Croquettes with Foie Gras and Tamarind Sauce.

1080 Alton Road
Miami Beach, FL 33139

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