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The Pinecrest Grazie Café closed its doors just as carpenters were securing the final cherry-wood panels that would form the visual foundation of a handsome new Grazie Italian Cuisine on South Beach. The 75-seat dining room is lushly comfortable with those warm wood walls and soft lights emanating an orange-hued glow. Grazie's menu is limited, with pastas and a few seafood, chicken, and veal dishes constituting the basis for most entrées. The best main courses include a hefty filet of tilapia (called "John Dory" on the menu), which is sweet, fleshy, and succulent in a white-wine-caper sauce; and a whole, quartered roast chicken bursting with garlic and rosemary notes in a robust red-wine sauce. A wine list dominated by American and Italian selections includes an addendum of special "cellar selections" highlighting heralded vintners (full bar also available). Desserts come from the same checklist used by countless other restaurants, but the flourless chocolate cake was densely fudgy, the tiramisu possessing just the right balance of cake, coffee, marsala, and mascarpone. The restaurant's streamlined Italian cuisine, romantic room, and doting service should have residents of the new neighborhood saying, "Grazie."
If an Israeli and a Honduran were to open a restaurant together, what kind of cuisine would they serve? If you answered hummus in coconut shells or gefilte fish ceviche, nice try. But the correct answer is Italian -- or at least that's the case... More »
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