Friday, August 7, 2015

Miami Spice 2015 - The Trapiche Room

You know that feeling you get when you're having a cozy dinner at home? Of course, "at home" if we had a serving staff at our disposal and our dining room consisted of the lavish, elegant decor you saw in the 80's and 90's T.V. program Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous (am I dating myself?). Such is the ambiance you find at the fine dining, Mediterranean restaurant, The Trapiche Room, located at the JW Marriott at 1109 Brickell Avenue.

I visited The Trapiche Room for a Miami Spice preview tasting and I was enthralled with the intimate space from the moment we stepped inside. It is very small, fitting only about 7 tables and 22 guests, but the luxury and style is evident in every detail and accent. From the intricate mural and paneling on the walls, to the classic, sophisticated furniture, nothing was overlooked in its design. I had never been here before, so I was pleasantly surprised to learn there was such a romantic place inside the Marriott.

The JW Marriott's Executive Chef Alex Paz

I want to start by saying the level of service was impeccable from start to finish. Although the size of the restaurant contributes to the staff's ability to provide great service, there is an obvious level of attention and thoughtfulness displayed by the servers. They made sure everyone at the restaurant was taken care of and provided suggestions with a friendly nature. The hotel's Executive Chef Alex Paz came out and talked about the preparation of his dishes, along with the inspiration behind each one. He explained his vision of offering fresh, flavorful dishes in the Miami Spice menu, and how he wanted everyone to know The Trapiche Room was there to provide each guest with a memorable experience.

Olive Pate

We started the evening sipping wine and spreading their Olive Pate on an assortment of breads brought to our table. I found it to be so addicting, I was topping my bread shamelessly with the spread.  For our particular tasting, the chef began the dinner with an amuse-bouche consisting of a cube of Grana Padano cheese, hollowed out and filled with a creamy scoop of risotto. It was a nice way to prepare the palate for the courses to come.

Grana Padano Cheese and Risotto Amuse Bouche

The Miami Spice menu at The Trapiche Room is not very extensive but it has a nice variety to choose from. My dining companion chose the Jamon Iberico appetizer and I went with the Beef Tartare. The Jamon Iberico was a light starter served with asparagus ribbons, roasted tomato, crystallized peppers and a dabble of fennel puree. The portion was not huge, but it was just right.

Jamon Iberico 
The Beef Tartare was excellently prepared, perfectly balancing the taste of the raw, fresh, beef with the pungent flavors of the additional ingredients. The ensemble was topped with yolk, cucumber shallot, micro celery, then drizzled with lemon, olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt.

Beef Tartare 

For entrees, we tried the Flat Iron Steak and the Pork Cheek Ravioli. The steak was well seasoned and served with King Oyster Mushrooms, vibrant cauliflower, smoked marrow and braised cipollini. The ravioli was filled with tender and lean pork cheek and served with a garnish of rapini, and roasted tomato, then topped with bits of Florida Tomme. 

Flat Iron Steak

Pork Cheek Ravioli

Alas, it was time for dessert. There were a couple of choices on the menu so I asked our server for his recommendation. He suggested we try the Coffee and Salted Caramel Mousse. I will be forever grateful to him. I quite frankly believe this was my favorite part of the meal. Served inside a turned-over brandy glass, the presentation was beautiful. Inside, lay a sweet and salty delight of coffee and salted caramel mousse, mixed with chantilly merengue kisses, resting atop the most delicious baked cake crumbs. Magic, I tell you...

Coffee and Salted Caramel Mousse

For more information on The Trapiche Room inside the JW Marriott, visit the hotel's website here.

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