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Wandering Chef Finds a Home at MIA at Biscayne; Fast and Fresh Wok Town

Photo/Greg Clark Photography
Victoria Pesce Elliott "got a full visual experience" at Mia at Biscayne, but did she get the full gustatory one, too? Thanks to "wandering chef" Gerdy Rodriguez, she did. "Our starry-eyed waiter eventually snapped to, and soon brought us a platter of six gooey, golden, bechamel-rich balls of ham croquetas dabbed with a bit of cream and a tiny round of chive that looked as if it had been placed with a tweezer." She liked the ceviches, too, and while "a simple, smoky arroz con mariscos with hunks of tender calamari and delicate snapper works well, a brazen tortilla espanola nueva fell flat." But "along with the Miami flavors come unfortunate Miami service issues, including disappearing waitresses, clueless food runners, over-eager bussers and cartoon character bouncers." That said, the wandering chef seems to have found a home--for now. "Like the chef himself, Rodriguez's cooking is bold and confident, clean and sometimes gimmicky. While it lasts here, Mia is worth a shot for a fun night out and -- if you skip the cutesy offerings -- some tasty surprises on the plate."[MH]

Don't be fooled by Wok Town's "fast-food world 2.0" decor, says Lee Klein. "The room shouts fresh and clean. So does the food." And despite grammatical missteps on the menu, Klein was satisfied by his non soup starters but "chilled lettuce wraps brought double the pleasure (and at $8.95, up to double and triple the price)." Though the wraps "exuded a potent kung fu kick of Asian flavor (not heat) that other Wok Town items could use a little more of," and "many diners might blanch from the blandness of the barely fried and seemingly unseasoned white rice," "like the rest of Wok's fare, [the pork fried rice] boasts a lightness and freshness not always inherent in Chinese food." Klein was happy with the "Singapore-style" rice noodles and the "main wok" dishes, too and though "the fare at Wok Town is not without flaws — an undercooked broccoli spear here, an underseasoned soup there," "this eager-to-please newcomer also does a lot of things right and is clearly focused on providing fresh, fast Chinese food for downtowners to eat in, take out, or have delivered."[MNT]