Monday, February 20, 2012

Soyka The Restaurant and Lounge

Less than a decade ago, the MiMo district (Miami Modern District) was not a place beeming with too many tourists or visitors in general. Although quite popular in the 1950's, with a string of affordable hotels and the first franchised Playboy Club (sorry, no longer there), the stretch along US1, running on Biscayne Boulevard from 50th to 77th streets, fell into disrepair for many years. Now, however, the neighborhood is being revitalized with boutiques, parks, lounges, art galleries and an excellent variety of restaurants, making it a great alternative to those looking for respite from the hustle and bustle of South Beach.

Cheval Noir
It was National Drink Wine Day, so we wanted to find a casual, yet trendy place to celebrate with a nice bottle of wine and great food. Looking for just the atmosphere of the MiMo district, we ended up in Soyka, located in the 55th Street Station, at 5556 NE 4th Court. There were many events going on in Miami this weekend, such as Premios Lo Nuestro, the Miami Boat Show and the Coconut Grove Arts Festival, so the place was packed. They have their own valet parking area but it was already filled and so we had to circle around a while, looking for parking; ending up right back at the valet. After about 15 minutes, we left the car right at the entrance, and the valet parking attendant took the keys. Inside, was just as full. There was live music playing and the main dining room was bustling with conversation.

We had reservations, and after checking in and waiting a few minutes, the hostess came and offered us a table. It was just set away from their main dining room, in an area they call The Gardens. Since I hadn't seen this area before, I was a bit hesitant; but once we walked in, I fell in love. It was an intimate patio corridor dining area filled with colorful flowers and beautiful green  potted plants cascading down the walls between the ironwork of the windows.  I was immediately transported to Venice and one of their romantic outdoor cafes. Everything became more quiet and the entire mood changed. This was exactly what I wanted this evening!

Crab Cakes
Argentinian Chorizo
We ordered our bottle of wine, a Cheval Noir, from St. Emilion in France, and looked through the menu; a unique and interesting take of what they refer to as American comfort food dining. For starters, we ordered the Crab Cakes, made with pan seared jumbo lump crab meat, and a dash of remoulade sauce, sitting atop of julienne vegetables. They were tasty and meaty and the portion was very satisfying. We also ordered the Argentinean Chorizo, a stew-like dish that incorporated the chorizos with bell peppers, onions and tomatoes. Of the two appetizers, this was my favorite! It was extremely flavorful and I not only enjoyed the meat itself, but the sauce was amazing also!

Lobster Ravioli
Porcini Crusted Grouper
For our next course, we chose the Lobster Ravioli and the special fish for the day which was a Porcini Crusted Grouper. Both entrees were superb. The Lobster Ravioli was delicious, with each ravioli filled with lobster meat, and prepared with shallots and scallions in a creamy brandy sauce. The pasta was just the right consistency and melted in my mouth with a splash of flavors that were heavenly. I loved it! The porcini crusted grouper was just as amazing, accompanied with haricot vert salad and yellow pepper coulis. It was fresh and well seasoned, with a great crispy texture on the outside and juicy inside. As a side dish, we ordered the Sweet Potato Fries, which I must say, were addicting - there was no way to stop grabbing them!

Sweet Potato Fries
Homemade Brownie
We asked for the dessert menu, and perused it for a while. Nothing stood out at me, but being the chocolate lover that I am, I finally decided on the Homemade Brownie. It was made with dark chocolate and came with vanilla ice-cream on the side.  It was good but definitely not the best part of dinner and I would probably try something different the next time I come.

Since the restaurant was very full, we did have to wait quite a bit of time between the courses, and that got a bit bothersome; but the food was so wonderful and the ambiance so picturesque, that at the end of the night, all else was forgotten. 

For additional information, visit their website at or call them at 305 759-3117.

Soyka on Urbanspoon

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