Spice Up Your Life at Contessa in Miami


Contessa co-owner Mario Carbone

Effectively, they’ve executed it once more. After Main Meals Group scored successes with Carbone, Soiled French Steakhouse and ZZ’s Membership, expectations had been excessive—to say the least—for Contessa, the five-month-old Miami outpost of the favored Boston eatery. It’s not just like the Boston unique was some august institution; it debuted in 2021. However the place proved so standard with critics and diners that its house owners grabbed a venue within the Design District and enlisted their loyal inside designer (and Contessa’s inventive director), Ken Fulk, to conjure one more fantasy atmosphere.

“Combining the peak of old-world sophistication with the enduring glamor of the Magic Metropolis, Contessa Miami transports company to Lake Como whereas being firmly rooted within the high-fashion of the Miami Design District,” Fulk has (highmindedly) defined. “At this most main vacation spot, grand gestures abound—from emerald material and marble flooring to one of many nation’s most attractive staircases. It’s a pleasure to spend time within the house.”

Fulk’s interiors are as lavish and elaborate—and pink—and people he created for the sooner trio of Main Meals Group’s eating places. However on condition that we’re within the midst of seasonable climate, my pal and I selected to dine on the terrace, which, with its striped cover and hanging vines, did handle to evoke a restaurant at certainly one of Lake Como’s grand lodge palaces—pretty, however not overwrought or intrusive.

It was straightforward to get right down to enterprise. We didn’t over-order, however adopted our server’s ideas. We fastidiously thought of the whipped ricotta, however figured it will be an excessive amount of, given what we had in thoughts from the menu. However our server introduced the ricotta anyway—and it was properly offset by honey and served with crispy grilled focaccia.

I hadn’t had pizza in weeks, however once I noticed the model on the menu with shaved cremini mushrooms and fontina, I needed to order it to see if was as toothsome as its distant cousin at MC Kitchen, a legacy restaurant additionally situated within the Design District. From the primary chunk, the funghi pizza was virtually overwhelmingly savory, the flavors competing with one another for richness however in some way brilliantly cohering. The feel of the crust was excellent—substantial, with the correct quantity of sponginess. I wouldn’t let the server clear the final little slice—that’s how a lot I treasured it—at the same time as the following course was about to reach. That may be the spicy lobster capellini—which wasn’t spicy in any respect. Nevertheless it was unconscionably satisfying: The sauce had the right quantity of stickiness and the mount-feel was unbelievable. This high quality of this pasta was as elevated as any I’ve loved in Italy.

What emerged from the kitchen subsequent was a dish I’d by no means heard of earlier than however had gambled on for its novelty worth: butter hen Sostanza—the final one cooked within the restaurant that evening, we had been informed. A little analysis revealed that this merchandise is a Florentine specialty, although our server famous that this specific preparation comes from just one spot in Sicily. I used to be not about to quibble about geography—I simply let our server make room for our (glorious) facet dishes of grilled mushrooms and pecorino polenta.

I’d anticipated the hen to be pounded flat, but it surely was hearty and improbably juicy with a scrumptious, frivolously fried crust. It took some time to eat—we paced ourselves to the jazzy strains of “Tu Vuo’ Fa’ L’Americano,” and once we couldn’t eat one other chunk, I did one thing I by no means do. I had them wrap up the remaining to convey dwelling for the following day’s lunch. It will have been a sin to waste these flavors—or abbreviate the reminiscence of this excellent dinner.


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