Wednesday, June 24, 2015

1826 Restaurant & Lounge in South Beach (CLOSED)

A very good friend of mine suggested I go check out a restaurant in Miami Beach that she had been to recently with her family. It was 1826 Restaurant and Lounge, located at 1826 Collins Avenue. The place is easy to miss as you drive by, not sporting an attention-grabbing sign outside, but inside, it's a different story. Picture a multi-level modern space, that offers both a restaurant and a cocktail lounge, with a pulsating, energetic vibe.

1826 Restaurant & Lounge

Luke Bergman, 1826's Executive Chef, is very passionate about his craft. He has a vision of the kind of journey he wants the restaurant's guests to experience, and his dishes speak it loud and clear. With a multitude of awards under his belt, and a flair for French cuisine, Bergman gives American dishes a European spin. He prepared a multi-course chef's tasting menu for us that evening, that blew us away from beginning to end. 

With Chef Luke Bergman

Our first course was a colorful sampler of three of their appetizers: the Tomato and Cucumber Gazpacho, Wagyu Beef and Zucchini Blossom. The chilled Andalusian soup had bits of delicious King Crab inside and almond and mint snow. It awakened our taste buds in anticipation of the next bite. The Wagyu strip was a burst of carnivore flavor, tender and juicy, served skewered with a shishito pepper. Last on the plate, but certainly not least, the Zucchini Blossom was stuffed with whipped ricotta, tomato and basil, and literally melted in our mouths.

Appetizer Sampler

Our cocktails were just as intense as our first course. We knew it was going to be a long, decadent South Beach kind of night, so we indulged in sampling several. My favorite was their signature hand-crafted drink, the Strawberry Incense, a sweet kiss made with Absolut Elys, strawberry puree, lemon, and black pepper simple syrup. But I also enjoyed the Miami Peach, Royal Mojito and In The Woods.

As we sipped away, our server brought out a teasing bite of their fresh Dayboat Yellowfin Tuna Crudo, served topped with cucumber, avocado and hazelnut, then drizzled with lemon vinaigrette. It made my lips pucker in total pleasure. My friend thought I was hitting on a guy across the bar but it was all about me and the tuna.

Dayboat Yellowfin Tuna
Still reveling in all the tastes we were experiencing, the chef brought out his Foie Gras, crowned with gold foil and served with house-made brioche and rhubarb compote. I just love this delicacy, and this one was creamy and on point. The sweetness of the compote combined with the rich, buttery taste of the foie gras was addicting and I couldn't put it down.

Foie Gras

You would think it couldn't get any better, but it did. Our next course was the Yukon Gold Potato Cloud, which consisted of a Vodka cream and egg jam topped with Baerli Black Sturgeon Caviar. Waving hello from inside the jar was a crispy plantain chip, the perfect scoop for the amazing dish. While everything so far was impressive, this flavor profile truly made my night even more memorable.

Yukon Gold Potato Cloud

The entrees followed, and we started with a Mediterranean Sea Bass, that was served with vegetables and had a velvety, delicate taste. It was paired with a side of  creamy Lobster Risotto, topped with a dollop of burrata cheese. It was definitely a marriage that worked. The Roasted Duck came next, ready to be enjoyed, and our palate was more than eager to comply. Cooked to perfection, the dish was completed with confit, radishes and a kale chip.

Mediterranean Sea Bass

Lobster Risotto

Roasted Duck

With the savory portion of the tasting reaching its culminating point, the sweet and friendly pastry chef came out to bring us her masterpieces. They included a flaky Mille Feuille , Key Lime Mousse, Coffee Bread Pudding, and a warm Chocolate Fondant. The desserts were served with fruity sorbets and bourbon ice-cream. It was a heavenly parade of sweet delights that finished off an enticing meal.

Mille Feuille Creme Puff

Key Lime Mousse

Chocolate Fondant

By the end of the evening we couldn't stop talking about how impressed we were with Chef Bergman's tasting menu at 1826 Restaurant & Lounge. One word of advice though. After about 9pm on certain nights of the week, the ambiance shifts from a romantic dinner setting to a loud, crowded one, so if you're looking to enjoy some fast paced music after your meal, then you'll be fine. However, if you're planning to have a relaxed time with long conversation, you may want to consider coming in earlier or you will have to read each other's lips (which depending on who you're with, may not necessarily be a bad thing). For more information or to make reservations visit their website or call them at 305-763-8860.

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