Thursday, February 19, 2009

sra. martinez, feb 19

when michelle bernstein opened michy's, i thought it took way too long for me to get there. when we finally went, i loved everything about it, with the possible exception of the location.

so when she opened her second restaurant, and i was planning to be in miami only a few weeks after it opened, i made it a priority to go there. we are in miami, staying on south beach, so there was a part of me that just wanted to go to dinner over here somewhere. leave the car in the garage and walk. but sra. martinez is already on the semifinal list for best new restaurant at the beard awards, and i don't get down here enough to take a pass, so we decided to venture out.

it's actually about three-quarters of a block away from michael's genuine food & drink, which became one of my favorite restaurants in the state last summer. they are in the miami design district, which is pretty cool. if i was ever going to do anymore home remodeling, this is where they sell the stuff i wouldn't be able to afford for it.

the building is a big box-y thing. apparently it used to be a post office. and i read that the restaurant that sra. martinez replaced in the spot was known for having a very large picture of a naked naomi campbell in the dining room. interesting.

it is a tapas joint, with a menu broken down into three headings: cold & crisp, platos grandes and warm & lush. we stayed away from the big plates. we weren't totally hungry after lunch yet. we split four of the tapas.

first we got the heriloom tomatoes with murcia al vino. another heirloom tomato based dish, even after the panzanella at lunch. like the panzanella, it was worth it. don't know if the tomatoes came from the same place or not, but they were good. murcia al vino is a firm goat cheese, and it was served with caperberries and cerignola olives. not lost on some will be the fact that the dressing was made with pedro ximinez sherry. luckily, there was bread on the table. that plate went back clean. we soaked up every drop.

we also went for the croquettas, there was manchego cheese in with the potatoes. the menu says chorizo, but that must've been pretty subtle because i forgot it said that until i was just looking again. then there was a fig marmalade. wow.

we got two meat dishes, first was the quail pinchos. the plate had two quail halves, boned but for the drumstick and the wing. it was rubbed with harissa and the plate was covered in pomegranate seed and syrup. i was trying to sop up all the syrup with each bite of quail, and the waiter took the serving plate before i was done with the quail i had moved to my plate. happened fast, i should've said something. or tripped him. anyway, it was still good.

last, we got the rabbit loin wrapped in pancetta. when we were ordering, i asked the waiter to rate a couple of things, and he said he liked this dish, "because it's wrapped in bacon. how can it be bad?" it was as if he KNEW who he was talking to. it came with a cumin-carrot emulsion, which i got halfway through finishing (carrots ... rabbit ...bahahahaha). just before we started eating it, the waiter rushed out with a small dish, and said "here's your panisse to go with the rabbit." i looked at the menu, and sure enough, the rabbit comes with panisse. i have no idea what panisse is tho. there were four little pieces of it, they were fried, and had a very delicate texture. i just looked it up, and apparently it is fried chickpea something or other. shrug. the rabbit was very good, tho.

we skipped dessert. nothing jumped out at me as must-have. tho there was a sherry-orange flan that sounded good, and a black forest cake. i decided nothing sounded as good as the chocolate cremosa across the street at michael's, so we left to go over there. but it was packed, inside and out, so we kept walking. we got heath bars at the gas station when we stopped to fill up. but there is a gelataria across the street from the hotel, and i'm tempted to walk over there now. tho i am sleepy. its a long drive getting down here.

no celeb chef sightings at dinner. tho possibly because i was constantly being distracted by a woman two tables over that was sporting significant ink on her significant cleavage. i'm all for ink. but not there. just sayin. i actually have a more specific opinion on this subject, but no one asked. so i'll keep it to myself. for now.

our hotel is kind of funny. it is kind of a dressed up beach flop house. there is a nice bar area in the lobby, but we get into the room and it looks like it was decorated by strawberry shortcake on a bender. and, i don't know how to say this, but it looks like it was recently renovated by someone of about my skill level. i make a number of tell-take mistakes in my renovation projects, and i am seeing them, all here. kind of funny. oh, and the smoke detector is hanging by its wires from the ceiling. well, its hanging by 2 of the 3 wires, anyway. and there is a backup in the closet. its not hooked up to anything. just sitting on the shelf. like its wireless or something. we got it pretty cheap on priceline. its not bad. just kind of funny.

tomorrow night is mario's party. i really have no idea what to expect, but i'm hoping for a heaping supply of awesome. we'll see.

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