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Andalus: Almost But Not Quite; Makoto is Sublime

Opening his review with an explanation on the origins of the phrase "Close, but no cigar," Andalus, says Lee Klein, "has been trying its best to resonate with diners since opening nearly three months ago." That said, "a pair of dining experiences here didn't quite clang our chimes." Housed in the former Pacific Time space, the restaurant is "the antithesis of warm, boisterous tapas bars of Spain." Tapas "are really full size appetizer plates" that cost $10 to $15 each, which, says Klein, is "not how tapas are supposed to work." Klein liked the "cod carpaccio," and the seafood salad. Shrimp, "not prawns," had a "gutsy flavor." The aio blanco soup never arrived. Waitstaff was "polite" and "performed decently enough." Fish dishes were "very reasonable" price wise, which "helps to mitigate some of the shortcomings." Meat paella was "a better bet." Bottom line: "Well, close, but..." [MNT]

Victoria Pesce Elliott heads over to Bal Harbour to check out Stephen Starr's latest, Makoto, which she calls "an easy 'A' for a neighborhood that, despite its high rent ZIP code, has lacked a high end Japanese dining room." She also remarks that the restaurant is "named for its young, sublimely good looking and talented chef," Makoto Okuwa, who has worked with Uron Chef Morimoto, among others. "The place is as good looking as its staff," she says, and the food is just as hot. What worked? "Divine, light and satisfying" udon noodles, "a tight as a cigar" California roll, "flawless" whole roasted branzino, "buttery" black cod, and a whole lot more. What didn't work? "An uni fettucine whose hand rolled noodles were rendered greasy," tempura asparagus, and "predictable dessert." Bottom line: 3 stars. []


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