We read from the newspaper about a very well decorated, almost gourmet-like Asian fusion restaurant located within walking distance from our hotel. We had to check it out.
China Grill located on 404 Washington Ave. The first time we walked by, we accidentally missed the entrance. But when we entered the restaurant, we were amazed by the décor. The atmosphere was very pleasant. The lights were nicely dimmed. The eating area was accented by the candles on the tables and the lanterns on the wall. The host walked us to our table, which was in a room on the side. The room was small, but had an extremely beautiful and extravagant dragon hanging from the ceiling over the center table. We sat at a booth by the window.
I really liked our rectangular plates and sauce dish. Our waitress explained to us that all the dishes on the menu are served family style. This means, the portions are relatively large, each dish is shared and we eat off our rectangular plates.
While we explored the menu, we ordered some martinis. Delicious!
We couldn’t decide on what to order. Therefore, we asked our waitress for some suggestions. She gave us an extensive list of her favorite dishes and her recommendations.
This is what we ended up ordering at China Grill:
Lamb spareribs plum and sesame glazed
LOOKY: totally mouth watering, drool inducing (above average)
TASTY: full of flavor, I want some more (above average)
Remarks: The lamb was absolutely delicious. The meat was tender and the flavoring was sweet and delectable. The cucumber salad on the side accompanied the dish very well. It was simple and refreshing, with a tint of lemony sourness. The lamb spareribs were so good, we devoured them quickly and left each bone squeaky clean.
Sake marinated “drunken” chicken
Ponzu sauce, sweet crispy onions and Asian slaw
LOOKY: extravagant and deluxe (above average)
TASTY: drunkenly wonderful (above average)
Remarks: Marinating and cooking chicken with alcohol is a pretty common dish and often tastes amazing. Chicken with beer. Chicken with wine. This sake-marinated chicken was off the hook. The chicken was moist and flavorsome. The ponzu sauce added a sweet touch to the taste. The dish was beautifully presented. Hidden under the drumsticks was the Asian slaw and crispy onions. It’s as good as Chinatown would make it.
Duck fried rice
LOOKY: overwhelming (above average)
TASTY: if I weren’t full, I’d want more (above average)
Remarks: When it arrived at the table, we were astonished by the size of the bowl. The rice was piled up high to about twice the height of the bowl. Good thing we only ordered one bowl. We had a lot of trouble scooping the rice onto our plates without dropping some onto the table. This duck fried rice was very tasty. It tasted like something I would find in Chinatown (minus the possible MSG). The rice was not too salty and the flavor was just right.
LOOKY: very cute (above average)
TASTY: yummy (above average)
Remarks: What a great way to end our dinner. The key lime pie was nice and sour. The texture was smooth. Each piece was topped with an amazing kiwi, citrus sauce. The plate looked so pretty, that it made us sad to have to demolish it. We practically licked the plate clean.
The food was amazing. We couldn’t finish everything and asked to wrap the leftovers so we could take it back to the hotel for some late night snacking. Our waitress was amazing. She was definitely one of the best servers we’ve encountered in Miami. She was very helpful in giving recommendations on dishes. She checked up on us frequently through out our evening. The surprising part, though, occurred when we received our bill. There was no gratuity added and we got to write in our own tips. It was such great service. I guess the service is much better, when the gratuity isn’t automatically included.
We discovered that the management behind this restaurant also owns a few restaurants in New York City (one under the same name and many others). China Grill New York goes onto my list of places to dine at with family and friends.