Ortanique on the Mile is a Caribbean restaurant located on Miracle Mile in Coral Gables, FL. I’d heard great things about it before, but I never actually took the time to pay much attention. I have had cuisine from the islands (Jamaican, Haitian, etc.) before, and was never particularly impressed. That being said, curiosity finally got the better of me, and I was able to take advantage of their Miami Spice menu to check them out. The cool thing about their Miami Spice menu is that it changes every day. So, you have a chance to try different things on the menu.
One of the first things that you will get at your table is the toast.
The green was a bit off-putting at first, but I took a bite in the name of adventure. Then another, and another. As it turned out, the “green spread” on the toast is a mixture of parsley, chives, scallions, garlic, and butter. Absolutely delicious. Best of all, they keep it coming.
The plan was to order a salad as my appetizer. That was, until the table behind us was brought a dish that smelled so phenomenal, that I had to ask the server what they were eating. It turned out to be the conch and corn fritters, which also happened to be part of the Miami Spice menu. They looked like little hush puppies (on the left). Now, I had never had conch before. It just seemed weird to me. But the smell was too good to pass up. It was an experience, to say the least. I’m still not quite sure how I feel about the taste of conch, but thankfully the corn in the fritter helped mask it. I enjoyed the black bean and corn salsa that it was served with, too. The star of the appetizer round, however, was definitely the curried crab cake (on the right). The crunch of the panko crust led to some of the most fresh and tender crab meat I have ever had. It was as if the crab had just been shelled in the back of the house. The sweet and tang of the papaya and lime coulis paired surprisingly well with the curry spice. We almost ordered another crab cake, but opted to leave room for the entree.
I ordered the Angus Beef Flat Iron Steak. In other restaurants, the flat iron steak is normally a sirloin. The server told us that this was actually flank steak. I ordered it medium, and I think it came out a little on the medium rare side. Still, it was some of the most tender steak imaginable. The port wine sauce was bursting with flavor, as were the Manchego cheese truffled mashed potatoes. The tang of the cheese really added something to the earthy richness of the truffle essence in the mash, and the asparagus was fresh and crisp.
The dessert was another winner. Their creme brulee was served in a shallow dish, which made for maximum sugar crust. Their caramelized sugar crust was actually thicker than others I’ve had, so there was a nice additional crunch. It was smooth and creamy, like creme brulee should be. We were scraping the ramekin for the last of it.
A special mention also needs to go to the service. The server was incredibly helpful and attentive, and there were always attendants passing by to clear plates, refill water glasses, and bring more hot bread. Even the manager passed by to see how we were doing. Ortanique on the Mile may have changed my opinion on Caribbean food. I know I definitely want to go back!
For more information on Ortanique on the Mile, go to http://ortaniquerestaurants.com/miami/.