As we put a cap on 2015, Eater surveyed a group of friends, writers, and all around experts for their take on the past year. We asked them eight questions: from Top Standbys to Top Newcomers, from Best Meals to Restaurants Broken Up With. All will be answered by the time we turn off the lights at the end of the 2015. Responses are related in no particular order; all are cut, pasted, and (mostly) unedited herein. Readers, please do add your survey answers in the comments.
Jackie Gutierrez-Jones (UrbanDaddy Miami): "Family style." I get it, guys. I really do. And honestly, I don't mind the shareable plates concept, but then seriously make it a portion worth sharing. Two tissue-thin slices of hamachi sprinkled with some Himalayan salt for two people? I mean, NYC's pizza rat takes down more than that – by himself.
Carla Torres (Ocean Drive): I spent an evening and calories at Brasserie Azur I am never getting back and way too long (four hours and then some to be exact) at Cielo that was the equivalent of a bad acid trip.
David Rosendorf (Food For Thought Miami): Can I have two? I'm big on grievances. (1) Restaurants chasing trends like a dog chasing its tail. How many oyster bars does Miami need? How many taquerias? It's not that they aren't good: I'm a fan of both Mignonette and Izzy's, I think Taquiza is great and I've had good things at Bodega and Coyo Taco too. I'm just not convinced this city can support four oysters bars within five miles of each other, or that we need as many taco shops as Starbucks. There are so many other interesting options to pursue, and I wish there were more focus on what's not being done, rather than what's recently been done successfully by someone else. (2) The tendency toward celebrity chef idolatry. There are lots of big names associated with Miami restaurants these days. But just because you've seen the chef on TV doesn't mean their restaurant is going to be any good. That's not to say they're all bad, either, and I'm thrilled that we're past the days when every out-of-town chef 's idea of a Miami restaurant was to just stick their name on a steakhouse. Am I excited to have Joel Robuchon, Francis Mallmann, Tom Colicchio, Dale Talde, and Paul Qui opening restaurants here? Sure. But along with the millions of dollars being dumped into places that often close within months (see, e.g., Morimoto, Fabio Vivani's Siena Tavern), I'd also like to see more smaller scale investments in chefs that may not be as well known but are every bit or even more ambitious.
Andrea Becerra (The Hungry Post): Small plates. If we hear one more time, "everything is meant to be shared and will come out in the order that it is prepared…" What if we don’t want to share? What if there are three meatballs and we come in twosomes or foursies? Who gets the third meatball? Who has to share their meatball with the fourth member of the party? And what if we want our salad before and not after our steak? Something to think about… Oh and the loss of Hedy Goldsmith to LA. Come Back!
Ashley Brozic (Racked Miami Editor/Eater Miami Contributor): I was really sad to see Ted's at Young Arts go. It had one of the best happy hour deals in town, the live music was fantastic, and the contemporary furniture and view brought out my inner Megan Draper. It brought back a very 60s Miami vibe, and I very much liked it.
Laine Doss (Miami New Times): It's always the same -- charging for parking -- especially at restaurants that have a parking lot. The thought of paying even $3 or $5 for someone to literally move my car into an empty spot that I can actually see just kills me to no end (restaurateurs...you know who you are. No bueno.)
Giovanny Gutierrez (Chat Chow TV/Eater Miami Contributor): Cielo’s experience was just a disappointment for Miami, Brasserie Azul in midtown was just god-awful all around and closing of Fox’s Sherron Inn. RIP
Matthew Meltzer (Thrillist Miami): Everywhere is still just too damn expensive. I get how much it costs to run a restaurant so it’s logical you can’t get out for under $100 for two people most places anymore. But I blame greedy landlords, really. If rents were more affordable it would trickle down to food prices. Or rich chefs. One of those.
John Dangaran (Eater Miami Contributor): Morimoto South Beach and Siena Tavern
Olee Fowler (Eater Miami): I'm starting to think the whole "shareable plates" idea is a big cop out. Sure, charge us (close) to entree prices for a few bites of something. It's convenient for those who want to try a few things, but most people aren't like that. Also the farm-to-table, "New American" concept that you see everywhere makes me roll my eyes every time, which is sadly still a lot.