I had little time to do any researches on local favourite restaurants before leaving for a skating vacation in Miami last week. A few musts were on my list including Joe's Stone Crab and Sardinia Enoteca, both of which offer something I can't easily get in Toronto. In Toronto, despite the proliferation of Italian restaurants, most of them are along the lines of mediocrity. I was understandably excited about the prospect of excellent regional Italian cuisine.
I arrived at the restaurant during last afternoon, nearing the end of their lunch hours. I was looking forward to try a few dishes from their dinner menu so I was a little disappointed that they were not available at the time. The complimentary bread basket included their famous imported Carasatu flatbread from Sardinia. It had a pleasantly subtle flavour though I was more impressed with the loaf with its crispy crust and soft most crumb. The bread went well with the light fruity olive oil.
I looked through the menu many times and was seriously tempted to order one of their pastas. However, since there was only one of me, I really couldn't order that much food. I settled on a vegetali platter and fegatini di pollo. I've read that Sardinia Enoteca is famous for their wood-oven cuisine and wow, was I in for a treat with the vegetali platter! My platter consisted of asparagus & pecorino, cipoline al forno, brussel sprouts with guanciale, roasted beets with pancetta, and braised fennel. I feasted on the vibrant colour, the varying texture, temperature, and of course the natural sweetness of all the vegetables. My favourites were the roasted beets and cipoline onions. The beets were steaming hot, with the concentrated sweetness of the beets contrasted by the smokiness of pancetta. The cipolines were slightly chilled and bursting with a vinegary sweetness which was so appetizing. All the vegetable were perfectly cooked and brought out their natural best.This platter was the perfect argument for vegetarianism.
The fegatini di pollo is a dish of pan-seared chicken livers with butter and sage served with bean salad. I must say I was not impressed as the livers were cooked to the point of chewiness. The whole dish was just quite bland. Upon seeing my barely touched dish, my waitress asked me if everything was okay and I expressed my thoughts. She took the plate away and comped the dish from the bill. I think this gesture reflects very well on the service of this restaurant.
I would definitely return to Sardinia Enoteca next time I'm in Miami. The price is comparable to most touristy restaurants on Lincoln Road yet the quality is entirely on a different level. It's too bad that I did not get to try their dinner menu but my preview from their lunch menu is enough to ensure a second visit...hopefully with friends so I can try more dishes!
1801 Purdy Ave
Miami, FL 33139