Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Timo Restaurant and Bar

Sunny Isles Beach, the City of Sun and Sea, is situated on a barrier island in the northeast corner of Miami-Dade County between the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Intracoastal Waterway to the west. It is in a pristine location, midway between Downtown Miami and Ft. Lauderdale.  Many have referred to Sunny Isles Beach as Florida's Riviera, which is why it became the city's prestigious slogan. It is a beautiful, vibrant community with rich history and cultural diversity.


This is where I decided to have my next culinary adventure; in a neighborhood restaurant serving Italian/Mediterranean cuisine, named Timo Restaurant and Bar, located on 17624 Collins Avenue.
As you drive down Collins Avenue, you might miss Timo, since it sits in the middle of a shopping center. Once you step inside, however, it's a whole different story. The place was beaming with excitement; every table was occupied and from the looks of it, it seemed to be a regular crowd. The manager walked around the dining area speaking to the patrons, and the conversations were friendly and familiar. I learned the restaurant had it's 9th anniversary just a couple of days ago, and while it changes its menu seasonally, it is proud to still offer a few of its original favorites.


We started off ordering a Chilean Pinot Noir that was fabulous: Lai Lai from the Bio Bio Valley. The wine was a bit fruity and velvety; somewhat dry towards the end but lingering just a bit before it said goodbye. Nice! As we sipped our wine, the waiter brought us a basket  that contained the most addicting  breadsticks and bread assortment. I couldn't stop breaking off the pieces and dipping them into the olive oil. Then I saw two appetizers on the menu that immediately caught my eye. They were the Blue Crab Raviolo and the Bufala Mozzarella. The Blue Crab Raviolo was served with citrus brown butter and topped with pine nuts. The flavor was a bit subtle for my taste and while the blue crab was very fresh and tender, it lacked zest.  I was hoping for a more exciting explosion of flavors when I envisioned the combination of the citrus brown butter and the blue crab, but I just didn't get it. The Bufala Mozzarella brought a smile to my face though. It was warm and creamy and it came with clay baked Roma tomatoes and slices of eggplant. Wow! This one was a winner.
                                                                                                                                                                   
Blue Crab Raviolo
Bufala Mozarella



Ahi Tuna
Grilled Whole Dorade
We then moved on to the entrees. I noticed they had a nice brick wood oven and a variety of pizzas that included one called Black and White, made with shaved black truffles. Mmmm...I was tempted after an inner struggle, but after reading over their fish & shellfish selection, I decided on the Ahi Tuna. It was seared "Au Povre" with artichoke puree, sweet and sour cipollini onions and crispy artichoke. Being the sucker that I am for sweet and salty, I was sold. Once again, it didn't hit the mark for me. The tuna was very fresh but missing flavor. There was only a hint of sweetness that I felt every other bite and other than that, not much to the dish. The taste of the pepper was the one that overpowered and while I tried to swirl my tuna in the puree to find what I was looking for, in my opinion, it needed more. The second entree we ordered was better. It was the Grilled Whole Dorade, with smoked sea salt, roasted peppers and grilled lemon. The fish was tender and flaky and had a rich, succulent meaty flavor. The secret to this dish is in the sea salt. I have had it several times in numerous places and found this one to be satisfactory.



Brick Wood Oven

Parmesan Risotto
Chocolate Mousse
Now I have to mention the dish that blew me away: It was a side dish that took me to the moon and back: the Parmesan Risotto with wild mushrooms and black truffles. Delicious! I could've probably ordered three of these and called it a night. Actually, the bufala mozzarella appetizer and the risotto are both part of their original menu and I can see why because they were my two favorite dishes of the night. Enough said! I was feeling pretty satisfied, but really wanted to try one of their desserts. At first, I was leaning toward the Tiramisu, since it's one of my Italian weaknesses, but the waiter suggested I try the Dark Chocolate Mousse Terrine with Orange Caramel Gelato. I only heard three words in that name: Chocolate, Caramel and Gelato. I was game. Out came a chocolate delight filled with creamy, delicious mousse. As I glided each piece through the orange caramel, I savored the heavenly taste. The gelato was smooth and sweet, branding the same orange flavor. Very good combination and a nice finish to the meal.

We received stellar service throughout the evening, from the moment we walked in to the moment we left. The ambiance is very friendly and has a welcoming allure.  For more information, you can call them at 305 936-1008.

Timo Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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