In my last post about our Miami trip, I talked about the Fontainebleau Miami Resort. But I didn't talk about any of the (numerous) restaurants on the property. There are a number of casual spots on the property, which I will talk about later. Then there are the four upscale "Signature Restaurants", which are the subject of this post.
First up is Stripsteak by Michael Mina, the most upscale restaurant at the resort. We are fans of Bourbon Steak (also by Mina) here in DC, so we were pretty excited to try this out. The space is pretty and modern, with a really cool glass wine room (and a really good wine list to go with it).
Like Bourbon Steak, Stripsteak serves buttery truffle rolls as it's complementary bread. So friggin good. Just give me 8 loaves. Also like Bourbon Steak, like the appetizers are on point. We ordered a burrata, asparagus, and duck prosciutto salad; a trio of oysters with salmon roe, paddlefish roe, and uni; and seared foie gras with strawberries, pickled fennel, and macadamia nut. They were all delicious, especially the foie.
You guys - I have a computer again! Yay!!! We are still in the process of settling in, but I at least have a place to post from now. Right before we moved was my 30th birthday, and I was kind of bummed because I had wanted to do a big trip to New York but the timing with the new house meant that we couldn't. Jasper told me that he was going to plan a smaller trip to a surprise location, so right in the middle of packing we hopped in the car and head to... The Inn at Little Washington! What a great surprise!
It also worked out nicely as a pre-anniversary trip because it was almost to our 5 year wedding anniversary! I can't even believe it - time flies!
We arrived just in time for afternoon tea, which was lovely. Both the sweet and savory bites were delicious and I love that they make all of their own accompaniments. I had a delicious caramel tea that I ended up buying from the store because it was so good.
We had two different events planned in two different states in the weeks before Christmas: a weekend-long birthday party in the Outer Banks and a family get-together in Nashville, TN. We decided it would be fun to connect the events via a long roadtrip, stopping at the Biltmore Estate in NC before continuing on to TN. Biltmore is HUGE. The house is the largest privately owned house in the US, and the grounds cover 8000 acres. It takes 30 minutes to get from the Inn on the property to the house.
We stayed for two nights at the Inn, which is a really nice hotel and spa. They were all decked out for Christmas, and had a gingerbread house replica of the Inn. There are multiple restaurants on the Estate - we ate at the Inn Dining Room the first night, and like it so much we decided to eat there the second night too!
The Dining Room is seasonal, farm-sourced fine dining. I really liked their small plates and respectful treatment of produce. The amuse bouche was a different cream based vegetable veluote both nights and they were both outstanding. I could have eaten a bowl of that for dinner and been happy.
My favorite dish was the fried brussels sprouts with a farm egg, frisee, and bacon. This is seriously the BEST brussels sprouts dish I have ever had. It was eye-rolling good. I ordered it both nights and asked for the recipe, which they gave me! I'll post it at the bottom.
Another standout was the roasted corn and lobster soup with piquillo peppers. This has been added to my list of favorite lobster dishes, and is in the top 3 lobster bisques for sure.
The pork belly with apple tart and goat cheese ravioli appetizers were also very good and I would highly recommend them. The gnocchi with brie, figs, and bacon was not enjoyable, though. The brie overpowered everything else and the bacon was way too salty. It sounded great on paper, but didn't work.
The artisan meat and cheese platter was very satisfying, with lots of variety and good portions. I didn't order any entrees, and Jasper ordered specials both nights. He really enjoyed the seafood special the first night, but did not like the steak special the second night.
Overall, the good outweighs the bad here and I would recommend trying it out if you are ever in the area.
I have written about Marcel's before, but not extensively enough considering it is our special occasion place. It is where Jasper proposed to me (and I said yes) and where we spend most of our anniversaries and New Year's. It's also where we go every time we see a show at the Kennedy center. The provide a special Pre-Theater menu (though you can also do 3 or 4 courses off of the tasting menu), make sure that you get out on time, and provide a car service to and from the theater - brilliant! They also have just the best people working there - from Adnane Kebaier, the Maitre d' who always greets us by our names and seems happy to see us (here is an interesting interview with him about the ins and outs of the job), to Moez Ben Achour, the fabulous Sommelier, and especially our usual server, Jonathan Crayne, who is also the Senior Captain - everyone is just amazing. Anyway, I've never been able to show you photos of their food because it's usually very dark by the time we get there. But we recently went for a Pre-Theater (for Book of Mormon, which is HILARIOUS by the way) and because it is summer, the sun was still out! So I am able to show you some of the gorgeous dishes from our favorite restaurant!
An amuse bouche from the chef - smoked salmon with creme friache, chives, and caviar.
An elegant take on Crab Louis - crab, avocado, and tomato gelee with remoulade.
Alaskan salmon - smoked in house - with red onion, chives, pine nuts, and croutons.
The melt-in-your-mouth signature dish - Boudin Blanc. This is our absolute favorite, we both order it every single time (even though they have started adding a $12 supplement). It is a white poultry sausage that is more like a mousse - so light and creamy, but also rich. It usually comes in a truffle sauce of some sort - this time with bits of foie gras in it!
Steak with mushrooms, potato puree, bone marrow. This was Jasper's entree so I don't know much about it except that he let me eat the marrow.
We both ordered the same dessert - peach souffle with peach ice cream and blueberry sauce. You can't get more summery than that!
I'm so glad I was finally able to share photos with you from a place that is so special to us!
We had been meaning to try out Michael Mina's signature restaurant, Bourbon Steak, for quite a while, and when we finally did we were not disappointed - except by the steak.
We started out in the lounge, where we perused their massive and innovative cocktail list. I had the 1919, with aperol, grapefruit bitters, prosecco, and a sugar cube - a perfect aperitif. There were many more drinks on the list that I would love to try as well; we might have to come back for an evening at the bar.