Last month when we went to Red, The Steakhouse for my birthday dinner, my friend Jamison—yes, the same Jamison who had the unfortunate fate as leading man in our hilarious Ocio story—showed up dressed like a Ivy-League-college-professor-slash-food-critic. He had previously shown food blogging promise thanks to his (almost snobby) obsession with great food, his bizarrely spot-on observations during past meals, and his ability to point out food trends before anyone else.
On the night of my birthday, however, he was on another level. It's like he took on the food critic persona that we all attributed to him because of his outfit choice to the point that, when we left, our server turned to him and said, "I hope you enjoyed your meal. We look forward to your review." You already got a brief review of Red in our Best of Miami Spice 2016 post, but I asked him to put together a post with his take of the night as a birthday favor. I hope you enjoy reading his unique perspective as much as we enjoyed hearing about it throughout dinner!
Per usual, I was early. Per usual, Margarita was second to show. Per usual, we waited for the rest of our party... Fortunately, this gave us some time to enjoy a drink at the bar and begin our usual banter. In typical fashion, Margarita walked in looking as if she had just come from an appointment at the "blow dry bar". (Editor's note: I'm pretty sure my hair was in an up-do. Men.) I, on the other hand, was out of contacts and came straight from work wearing my spectacles—a look which rarely leaves the house. Margarita was quick to point out I looked like a professor. This point was not quickly let down.
The rest of our party "soon" arrived, and we were "quickly" seated. (Editor's note: Yes, the rest of our party arrived on Miami time to our reservation. Yes, the hostess did make a big deal about it and made us wait an unusually long time to be seated even though a thousand tables were open.) The dinner coincided with Miami Spice so the default theme of the night became affordability. To my MASSIVE surprise, Red has a bring your own wine corkage fee. An even bigger surprise? One of our guests had the wherewithal to bring two bottles of...well...red. (Editor's note: It wasn't just any red. It was Caymus. My friend Roy brought two bottles of Caymus.) Naturally, "the professor" was asked to taste and approve the wine to which I obliged. While I would love to provide more details on which red wine we paired with our red meats, keep in mind it was provided by another guest in our party (read, free). Thus, I didn't care and I don't know.
After some great conversation with friends old and new, its was time to peruse the menu options and order. The preferred Miami Spice menu was typically structured ($39 for three-courses prix fixe) with a caveat. Each section had add-on options that came at an up-charge. One such option—a quite popular one at our table—was the burrata. Another appetizer option was calamari. Going with either these choices increased the Miami Spice dinner cost to $49. If memory serves me correctly, 8 of 9 guests had ordered off the Miami Spice menu and 7 of 8 had ordered the petite filet entrée by the time the server arrived to take my order.
Now, burrata is a dish that I hold dear to my heart and I had recently been on a burrata kick. Under any other circumstances, the standard order of burrata followed by filet would have been my go-to. However, this steakhouse has a distinctly Italian flare so the veal chop parmesan caught my eye. Naturally, I had important questions for our server, such as "Is it good?" He informed me that it is one of their mostly highly rated dishes on the menu and, with a wink, added, "It is huge." SOLD!
After countless glasses of wine (and a stolen bite of burrata for me), everyone else's empty appetizers plates were cleared to make room for the main course. The table quickly filled with petite filets, followed by my dish. The petite filets were, well, petite. On the other hand, my veal chop parmesan was enormous and looked all the larger surrounded by the rest of the table's 6 oz. mini steaks. My plate could have fed the whole table! After eating about 1/3 of it—it was delicious!—and sharing a bit more, I tapped out deeply satisfied. From the smiling faces around the table, I could tell everyone else also enjoyed their meals.
By this time, it was getting quite late and the evening was starting to wrap up. Dessert was dessert. (I really don't know many people who get overtly excited at this point in a meal.) The most noteworthy moment at this point was Margarita's reaction to the birthday song. While most people would be embarrassed and bear the singing with their heads bowed, our fearless birthday girl chose instead to reprimand us. "I can't hear you! Louder!" she exclaimed while motioning her hands up and down like a conductor. Thanks to the food, the ambiance, and the company our evening at Red was truly a one-of-a-kind and spectacular night.
|Jamison waiting at Red's bar.|
|The famous and well-worth-it burrata at an up-charge.|
|"Mine is bigger than yours."|
|Jamison and at least a week's worth of veal chop parmesan.|