While I pretty much had my pick of where to eat dinner for my trip to Miami, there was one evening where my co-workers and I were going to take one of our customers out to dinner. Being that he is apparently a bit of a foodie (and the fact that he is more local than I…and that he’s the customer), he was going to pick the restaurant. But, plans and meetings and things changed, so we found ourselves on our own and the responsibility of picking a restaurant fell to me. So, I figured that given that our customer happened to be Argentinean, I would see if there was an Argentinean restaurant nearby; I mean pretty much everything else seemed to be covered. And as luck would have it, less than two miles from our hotel was Novecento; a three dollar-sign, 89% rated (UrbanSpoon scoring) that looked like it perfectly fit the bill. So I made a reservation, and we made our way there.
The restaurant was upbeat and vibrant, with most of the tables being full. We ended up being fortunate enough to get a seat outside where it was a little quieter. Plus it was a wonderfully mild, South Florida evening…perfect for outdoor dining. I started with my now customary glass of water, and started looking through the menu. There were a lot of very interesting and very delicious looking steak dishes. And there were some fish dishes, but I was concerned about the local freshness. So, I decided to just go with one of the chicken dishes. Oh, and ceviche of course.
My ceviche choice of the evening was the Ceviche con Sandia; a typical lime marinated ceviche with watermelon, jalepeno and fresh basil. A dish that promised to be a nice and refreshing start to the evening, but unfortunately missed on the mark. The fish was a little tougher than I was hoping for, and the promised heat from the jalepeno was missing. The watermelon didn’t add a lot of flavor either leaving the whole thing feeling one note, a little water downed, and pretty bland. When one of my peers asked what I thought, my response was a simple “Eh”.
The chicken offered a chance for redemption though. I kind of like simple chicken dishes at restaurants because they show off the capabilities of the people cooking. It’s so easy to mess up, but if you get it right, it’s fantastic. And I was excited to try a Pollo a la Parrilla. At first I thought that a la Parrilla referred to the seasoning or a sauce or something with it, but it turns out it is a style of grill used for cooking that is very specific to South America. But the excitement waned after about two bites. While the grill browned the chicken nicely, it apparently removed all types of moisture. There was not much seasoning to speak of and it was dry. Given that it wasn’t served with any sauce. Or anything, there wasn’t much to save it. And given that I removed the skin, it actually made it worse.
Unfortunately, given the delicious meals that I’ve had during the week, this one totally fell flat and left me feeling disappointed. Maybe it would have been different if I went with the steak dishes as that’s what Argentinians are really known for, but I will probably never know. With as few trips as I will ultimately make to Miami, Novecento will not be on my revisit list. There are just too many Latin American places that I want to try.