When it comes to Top Chef alums and their Miami restaurants, food critic Zachary Fagenson believes they "have a spotty record" and a look at Carla Pellegrino's rooftop eatery, Touche, doesn't change his mind. Calling the meatballs, "the most reliable plate," Fagenson has little praise left in him for Pellegrino's Italian dishes, which in his descriptions range from "flaccid" and "bland" to "rubbery" and (of the sushi) "out of place." But not all is dark and gloomy in the world of Touche; the critic notes, "there's hope." "Pellegrino clearly has the skills to run a successful restaurant," he writes, "[b]ut if Touché is to succeed, it must concentrate on getting the basics right."
As for his second alum, Fagenson checks out Bret Pelaggi and his ode to wine, Uvaggio. His European-style wine bar seems to fare much better in the eyes of a critic, who deems it "a marked contrast" from Touche. "[O]ne of the best dishes included luscious pieces of rabbit cooked sous vide and doused in a red wine reduction," writes Fagenson, calling the dish "unique and memorable." Also noteworthy were dishes like a "refreshing" gazpacho and "impressive" wahoo.
Up north, Sara Ventiera visits Fort Lauderdale's "chic, upscale Tsukuro," proclaiming that the restaurant is "a sign that rowdy Fort Lauderdale Beach is ready to grow up" and "in stark contrast to the collegiate and touristy feel" of the neighborhood. As for food offerings, the seafood selections offer "something for every palate," though the critic notes it's the "rarer selections," like sea urchin and toro, "that are the real treat." The rest of the menu is she says is Asian fusion served tapas style.