DUNE Auberge – Beach Residence & Spa
We’re never surprised when an enticing dining venue chooses to open inside one of South Florida’s glamorous hotels, but at least one eyebrow went north when we heard last fall that Dune was going to be located inside the Auberge Beach Residences in Fort Lauderdale. With a glorious interiors designed by New York firm Meyer Davis, a seafood-centric menu and an impressive wine list of more than 600 selections that leans toward California vintages, Dune exceeded expectations—and continues to four months after making its debut. Casual yet upscale, beautiful yet comfortable, the oceanfront dining room and attached alfresco seating area awash in white lights are inviting and equally ideal for a date night or a meet-up with friends. Starters go from bright, such as the Hamachi Tiradito with wakame, fresno chili, melon and yuzu kosho, to savory, as with the Octopus a la Plancha, crisp outside and tender inside, made with sofrito, patatas bravas and green onion. Seafood and meats cooked in a Josper oven are charred outside, tender inside, with a Whole Roasted Branzino with charred lemon and hearts of palms being one of the star entries, and for carnivores, a Rack of Lamb perfectly cooked to order with sumac, charred cucumber, tzatziki and warm olives. Even sides, particularly the Olive Oil Crushed Potatoes, are worth noting. And save room for the Tres Leches with Guava Ice Cream—you can stroll the beach out back to work off the calories.
2200 N. Ocean Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 754.900.4059; dunefl.com
Bakan – WYNWOOD
In the Huasteca region of Mexico, bakan means “tortilla”, and at this massive Mexican eatery and mezcaleria in Wynwood, the corn tortillas are made from scratch, from corn grown in Mexico at an altitude of about 6,000 feet in nutrient-dense, volcanic soil. That’s just one indication of how authentic an experience you’ll have here, and how important it is to the chef and owners that guests are presented with dishes composed of the highest-quality ingredients possible. With more than 20 years of experience in the industry, Chef Oscar del Rivero has traveled throughout Central and South America; now, South Floridians are benefiting from his expertise in the kitchen at Bakan. Highlights from the menu include the Cangrejo Rey De Alaska (Alaskan King Crab Taco); Huachinango Entero (Whole Local Red Snapper); and Mole de Olla Divorciado (Short Rib). Specialty cocktails include the Mezcal Mule made with mezcal, lime juice, simple syrup, ginger soda and muddled ginger; the Tu Mero Mule made with mezcal, dark crème de cacao, Frangelico and mole almendrado; and La Ambiciosa Margarita made with Grand Marnier, fresh squeezed lemon juice, homemade simple syrup and fresh lemon verbena. The space is a big one, with an outdoor bar and terrace filled with canopies, cacti and plants, but the experience is one of warmth and hospitality—and genuinely good food and drink.
2801 NW 2nd Ave., Miami, 305.396.7080; bakanwynwood.com
If you’ve always thought the idea of enjoying a full meal experience from a Daniel Boulud restaurant for only $55 was the stuff of culinary dreams, think again. BouludSud’s prix fixe Sunday brunch is just that: three courses and bottomless beverages. You’ll do best to go with friends so you can all choose differently and filch from one another’s plates, but that works—because while one of you can begin on a sweet note, with the Greek Parfait layered with berry compote and almond granola, another can go for the ultra-refreshing Andalusian Gazpacho, a blend of cucumber, watermelon and croutons, or the savory Hummus with Pita. Mains encompass a range of flavor profiles: Brioche French Toast with Chantilly and Marmalade; Moroccan Shakshouka, a skillet filled with slow-poached egg, Manouri cheese and kale; and Catalan Grilled Skirt Steak with Romesco sauce, broccoli rabe and hazelnut. For dessert, if it’s available, we suggest you be the one to order the Mediterranean Sundae, a visually stunning presentation of baklava, lemon gelato, Chantilly and rose loukum, also known as “Turkish delight,” a pretty pink cubed confection consisting of starch and sugar and spiced with rose petals. The textures of the crisp baklava taken together with the sweet, chewy loukum and the cold, creamy gelato as a regular Sunday ritual is one we could all get behind.
255 Biscayne Blvd. in the JW Marriott Marquis Miami, 305.421.8800; bouludsud.com