Another night at along the Ocean Drive, we came across the Oriente. This restaurant is right on the first floor of the Cardozo Hotel, on 1300 Ocean Drive. The restaurant and the hotel are both owned by the famous Gloria and Emilio Estefan (along with many other things they own in Miami).
What caught our attention was their menu selection. They offered a Cuban/Asian fusion selection of foods. (If you haven’t noticed, I’m a big fan of fusion food, when it’s done right.) Also, we read about this restaurant in the newspaper earlier in the morning. They mentioned some interesting dishes that we were thrilled to try.
Here’s our dinner at the Oriente:
Warm bread rolls
Remarks: They served these complimentary bread rolls, while we drank our wine and awaited our food to come. I liked the butter they had. It had some orange zest or something.
Drumsticks with sweet chili tarini sauce and Asian slaw
LOOKY: totally exhilarating (above average)
TASTY: absolute lick on the lips (above average)
Remarks: A simple dish, but very well presented. I laughed when I saw the drum sticks arrive on the table. Lollipops, they call it. Very cute indeed! Each drumstick was very easy to eat, just like a lollipop. Clean bone on one end and meat on the other. It was very nicely crafted. It was seasoned pretty simply. The drumsticks were nice and crunchy but not oily. The sweet chili tarini sauce was delicious. It went well with both the chicken and the slaw. The Asian slaw was really just shredded cabbage, carrots, and crispy noodles.
Rice noodles with coconut curry sauce and oriental vegetables
LOOKY: a colorful blob (average)
TASTY: satisfactory (average)
Remarks: This dish was decent. It was good, but not as good as other similar dishes I’ve had. It’s pretty much a take on Pad Thai, minus the eggs and stuff, but with coconut curry sauce and just more veggies. The coconut curry sauce was very sweet and tasty, but it was too thick and got dried up very quickly. It was good while it lasted.
Chinese steak tacos
Ginger marinated steak, wasabi sour cream, avocado, cilantro aioli pico de gallo and fried yucca sticks
LOOKY: delightful (above average)
TASTY: definitely order this again (average)
Remarks: It’s very cute to look at. It was simply three soft tacos hanging on a small wooden stick. I never thought it would be so amusing. The steak was marinated just perfectly and tasted absolutely delicious. This was a very simple dish and didn’t have a lot of complication to it. All that was important was that the steak was yummy and everything else will just go great with it. I didn’t know what yucca sticks were. They looked like mozzarella sticks to me, but it tastes more like potatoes. It’s a Latin thing I think.
The dinner experience was good. The service was satisfactory, but not spectacular. I thought I would have expected better service. However, it seems to be a trend that when they include the 15-18% additional gratuity to your check, they don’t concentrate much on the service. The food on the other hand, I had mixed thoughts about. I’d give points for creativity. However, I felt that the food could have been better, being it, a well-known place. I think its one of those restaurants where you probably have to know in advance which are the specialty dishes. Otherwise, simply exploring the menu might not generate the worthy meal you desire. But, it would give you a few laughs. Chicken lollipops still makes me laugh.