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On Route 9: Needs Some Rerouting--Klein; Quality Before Creativity--Pesce Elliott

Route 9 in Coral Gables was well traveled this week with reviews by both Lee Klein and Victoria Pesce Elliott. "We'll start with Klein, who writes that "There is something dulcet about the restaurant," thanks to the absence of trendy cocktails and blaring music. And while it bills itself as American-style with a bit of Latin and Florida flair, Klein says "The Mediterranean region and America seem to exert the most influence on the food."

He also says that "Though it is refreshing to see a selection of "small plates" devoid of pork belly and noodle bowls, this menu could have been written in the year the [owners] graduated from the CIA." The chicken wings were "the tastiest things" off that menu while the fish spread "could have used another component." Fish tacos were good but "at $17, is steep for a street snack with no accompaniments."

Wait staff was "excellent," and "service here is about as good as it gets. Bottom line: the owners may "want to revisit the CIA to take some refresher courses in cooking. A very thin line exists between simple, unpretentious restaurant fare and that which is boring and uninspired. Route 9 travels the wrong side of that line too often." [MNT]

Victoria Pesce Elliott had a better experience, it seems, giving 3 stars for the restaurant she says is "as straightforward and unpretentious as the northern highway for which it's named." The menu, she says, " is a quirky list of what chef-restaurateurs Jeremy and Paola Goldberg do best, from charcuterie to berry cobblers." VPE adds that at the "cozy and endearing spot," "Their eclectic (truly more Mediterranean) menu puts quality before creativity." Based on the Miami.com version of the review, everything worked, from "a picture perfect burger," and "perfectly steamed Prince Edward Island mussels," to "perfect pink Keys shrimp," and "impressive salad of pinky-sized arugula leaves," "a charmingly sloppy banana cream 'pie',"and "earnest and enthusiastic staff." [Miami.com]

Route 9

1915 Ponce de Leon Boulevard, Coral Gables, Florida 33134 305 569 9009 Visit Website

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