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Exit 1 - Key Biscayne - Anyone been?

While not from the area, I recently went to Exit 1 while visiting a friend who lives in South Beach (coincidentally or not, the same friend who brought me to Route 9 a couple years ago). I'd never been to Key Biscayne and was impressed by the beauty and serenity of the island, and so the stage was set for a very different sort of evening than our prior nights in South Beach.

We arrived at the plush, country-club-feeling Towers of Key Biscayne (I think I saw tennis courts!), and headed for the restaurant. I was excited for the meal as my prior experience at Route 9 was incredible.

Anyhow, we had impeccable service all night: from the moment we arrived, we were greeted heartily by the owner, Jeremy (same guy I met at Route 9), and he seemed to remember me (or at least he pretended to). Either way, like Route 9, they strike the perfect balance between being comfortable and "homey", but not hokey or unprofessional. Service was attentive and polite.

The dishes are on the more modest size (similar to most European restaurants, NOT the average "American" restaurant like Cheesecake Factory). So, between the 2 of us, we ordered a bunch:

PEI MUSSELS Coconut-Curry Vinaigrette, Cucumber Salsa

HEIRLOOM BEET Red, Candy Striped, Pistachio Anglaise, Black Sesame Powder, Anise Vinaigrette

HOUSE SMOKED SALMON “Everything Crusted,” Pumpernickle, Borsin Panna Cotta, Carraway Seed, Dill

BLACK GROUPER Whipped Ponzu, Roasted Lemongrass Broth, Culantro Oil, Daikon, Carrot

FILET MIGNON Butter Basted, Mushroom Potato Puree, Veal Dumpling, Autumn Vegetables, Brown Butter Bordelaise

The food was fantastic. The preparations were unique, and it was clear that whomever was pumping it out in the kitchen knew what he was doing. I'd highly recommend this place especially to those looking to get out of Miami for the night as this experience is absolutely transporting on many levels.

Route 9 (Coral Gables) - incredible food, relaxed atmosphere, and CHEAP

Fineas, at any given time, we had several dishes on the table, and when I used that expression ("each dish was better than the previous"), I didn't mean it quite so literally. Just that each dish was phenomenal, with no drop-off and no klunkers.

Nick, I'm surprised by your experience there. It does sound like the mussels waited in the kitchen. FWIW, our mussels dish was piping hot, and we loved the spiciness of the chorizo with the brine and texture of the mussels.

Anyhow, my friend told me there's new scoop on this place.... that some sort of local Miami newspaper came out with a less-than-favorable review, and that hours later, amidst allegations of the reviewer's integrity, the original review was pulled from the internet version -- has anyone heard about this??? To add another level of mystery is that the Miami Herald ON THE SAME DAY came out with a dazzling review.

Very interesting... I'd be curious to hear more about peoples' experiences and insight if anyone knows about the review scandal....

Route 9 (Coral Gables) - incredible food, relaxed atmosphere, and CHEAP

I tried this place at my friend's suggestion. He's a Coral Gables native and can be an annoying, food snob (we all have at LEAST one friend like that, right!). He'd been to Route 9 several times since their opening only 6 weeks ago, and he was raving about the place, so when I arrived in town (not from FL), we went straight there from the airport.

To say that we had a fun and amazing culinary experience would be an understatement. I've never experienced a restaurant to be as delicious and enjoyable in as non-pretentious and non-self-congratulatory way that Route 9 has managed to do.

The prices are all so low that we just went to town... a great bottle of red for $35 (my friend ordered, sorry I don't recall the name; my friend said this exact bottle usually goes for $50-55 at most area restaurants), and then came a steady stream of the following (which I've cut-n-pasted from the restaurant's website):


Each dish was delicious, unique, and better than the previous. We ended up chatting with our waitress and then with one of the owners (Jerry or Jeremy, can't quite remember) for quite awhile afterwards. It's been a long time since I've walked out of a restaurant feeling as good as I did that night. I was filled, but not stuffed, and the bill at the end was a joke relative to the experience we had. We ended up tipping our waitress 25% because we felt like thieves.

I was kidding with my buddy afterwards that I may have to move down to Coral Gables so I can have more meals at Route 9.... "many a truth is said in jest"... I do look forward to my next trip down to Miami and will definitely make a meal at Route 9 a necessity. Here's their website:

Route 9
1915 Ponce De Leon Blvd, Coral Gables, FL 33134

Tatami room?

Looking for a sushi place with fresh fish that has a tatami room. (You know, those private rooms with the low table - ideally with a foot well.) We're a group of 7 who live in JP, Brookline, and Newton; so we're looking for Downtown or just outside. I know of Fugakyu.... are there any other options (perhaps slightly less expensive) that anyone can recommend?

May 18, 2010
lobstaman in Greater Boston Area

Where to buy truffles in Boston?

Where can a non-chef, non-restauranteur buy truffles in or around Boston?

Oct 17, 2009
lobstaman in Greater Boston Area

Which Boston Restaurants are 1) 'Wow!" wonderful and 2) Worth the Money??

"Expensive" is relative. I certainly agree that Blue Ginger is not cheap, but I don't know if I would call it "expensive" when we are mentioning it alongside O Ya, L'Espalier, and Clio. In fact, it's significantly less expensive and has rather substantial portion sizes (unlike the mouthful or 2 that you get at these other places), so I'd argue that it does have relative value.

Does it offer the best of the best as far as Wagyu beef, caviar, truffles, etc? No. Does it offer a rich gastronomic experience with "unusual combinations or ingredients put together brilliantly" made by "talented chefs" with "sauces, aiolis, vinaigrettes"? I say yes. Wholeheartedly.

Aug 14, 2009
lobstaman in Greater Boston Area

Which Boston Restaurants are 1) 'Wow!" wonderful and 2) Worth the Money??

I've not seen BLUE GINGER anywhere in the original post, nor in the replies. I think it meets your preferences to a T: fusion, incredibly interesting combinations of ingredients, good portion sizes. It's in Wellesley, which requires a car, but otherwise is perfect!

Aug 13, 2009
lobstaman in Greater Boston Area

Lobsters - boiled vs. steamed

Which is the better method for preparing?

Probably the best lobster I've had is at The Lobster Pound in Ogunquit, ME, where they keep the lobsters in an enormous tank of ocean water. And then, I believe, they boil them in the ocean water.

Short of having ocean water at one's disposal, is it better to steam or to boil?

Jul 07, 2009
lobstaman in Home Cooking

Wine pairing with Stone Crabs?

Thanks for all the wonderful replies. I knew I would get knowledgeable and thoughtful posts from chowhounders.

To answer some of the questions that have arisen regarding the context of the stone crabs.... I'm having them delivered by Joe's Stone Crabs to my buddy (and his new wife) in NYC as a wedding present, and I was wanting to buy them an appropriate bottle of wine. They just returned from their honeymoon in New Zealand, and I was thinking of pairing with a NZ Sauvignon Blanc, in part for sentimental reasons, so I'm glad that Bill Hunt specifically recommended avoiding this pairing. They'll be served cold with Joe's mustard sauce.

I'll let you all know what I decided on and how it turns out...

Jan 28, 2009
lobstaman in Wine

Wine pairing with Stone Crabs?

Hi everyone -- what kind of wine pairs well with stone crabs? Looking to spend $20-30 for a bottle at a wine shop. Please be as specific as you can...

Jan 25, 2009
lobstaman in Wine