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2 Stars for 2B Asian Bistro; Norman's 180 Not Great

Victoria Pesce Elliott visits Little Havana's 2B Asian Bistro, where she is immediately taken by the hair style of Bond Trisransri, "the face man for the new blonde, bamboo and art strewn space." His "distinctive, vertical do," aside, VPE calls 2B Asian Bistro a "just add sake success story on Calle Ocho." As for the food, "This is not the subtly spiced cuisine that I learned to adore when I traveled through Bangkok and Phuket, but rather a good rendition of a more two-dimensional but still tasty version." Says VPE "the best dishes are the simplest." Verdict: 2 stars. []

On the heels of something awry there, Lee Klein reviews Norman's 180, saying "Disparate foods from around the globe can come together in a single theme. Unfortunately, here they do not." Klein agrees that the first part of their motto, "Globally inspired," is true. "The bill of fare is all over the map. Instead of doing a 360 and returning to his fine-dining roots, or starting from zero and redefining his cuisine altogether, Norman and team have combined the two notions and come up with a discombobulated 180--which means that a $39 main plate of rib eye steak mingles on the menu with an $8 small plate of crispy chicken wings."

Bottom line: Overall, "ambiance and service are wonderful and the food rather satisfying," but "If you were to then inform [a random group of frequent restaurant diners who don't know where they're eating] that they were seated in the newest restaurant from Norman Van Aken — the Beard-winning, cookbook-writing, television-appearing, restaurant-owning, original Mango Gang-ing father of acclaimed New World cuisine; the person responsible for pinning a signature South Florida cooking style on America's gastronomic map; and the most famous Miami-associated chef in the world — they would probably fall from their chairs in disbelief." [MNT]