A funny thing happened on our way to Chile. Our flight from NY to Miami had equipment issues. After much debate, delay, and finally a change of planes, our stop-over arrival was well past take off of our connecting flight. So, we got sidelined with a pit stop in our old stomping grounds - Miami. Perfect, since my hubby, Juan Carlos, and I have an apartment in the steamy, sunny city.
Without a car and in the pouring rain, we "Uber-ed" ourselves out for a bite to eat at Harry's Pizzeria in the Design District, one of several successful eating establishments from chef, Michael Schwartz. (There is a second Harry's location in Coconut Grove which we also visited)
With its wood burning oven, Harry's is a quaint little spot for the obvious main item; PIZZA.
As much as I love pizza, I don't eat it due to having both a wheat and yeast sensitivity. You might ask, "why would you torture yourself with the yummy, yeasty aromas and sights of others enjoying crisp, artisanal pizza?" The answer; Harry's also offers daily menu specials that are equally amazing. And on this day, one of the specials was Wood Oven Roasted Tile Fish with Fall Grain Salad. Voilá, perfect for this rainy day in So. Fla. Since we were going to take an overnight flight later on we wanted to fill our bellies with good food, real food... Real good food. Here's what we ordered... And loved every bite.
Polenta Fries with spicy ketchup
Abundant and crunchy. Soft inside with a serious outer crust. Sprinkled with sea salt enough to enhance the flavor but not too much to be salty. Really the perfect touch. These fries are hefty but somehow don't overstuff you. The spicy ketchup was just spicy enough. What a lovely detour from the usual potato version.
(I love making polenta in a variety of ways. I will definitely be posting on those in the near future. However, I have never tried to make such a hefty polenta chunk. After partaking of these crunchy fries, I will certainly try to replicate.)
If you want to try making these, Chef Michael's cookbook shows you how. I have the book and have tried a few other recipes. I think you might enjoy it as well. You can also order an autographed copy.
Hearty kale is mellowed by a sunflower dill dressing. Earthy flavor makes an appearance by the way of roasted beets and goat cheese. Extra sunflower seeds provide a nice textural crunch. (By the way, we took some of this salad home. The longer is sits the better it gets!)
Oven Roasted Tile Fish with Fall Grain Salad
This fish was outstanding. Perfectly cooked and seasoned. Roasted, in a brick wood oven, to a crisp exterior while preserving the delicate white fish interior. The fall grain salad of rice, farro and bulgar wheat was a nice combo. It was served with a garlic alioli. However, both JC and I felt the dish didn't need it. The fish and salad were perfect as is.
As I mentioned I avoid wheat, so I asked to replace the fall grain salad with the Orange & Radish Salad. Since I make salads with ingredients like this all the time, I'm usually a big fan of strong flavors and this one had that. For the most part, I enjoyed it but must admit that, for me, it could have had one less ingredient. That said, I ate it all.
In March, Juan Carlos and I were in Miami again, and again we wandered over to Harry's. First, we stopped into the one in Coconut Grove on a Sunday night. The place was hopping with people, families... and us!
Braised Fennel Pizza
JC couldn't resist ordering this earthy pizza. I tried the topping and must say that braising the fennel brought out the anise flavor and soften the fennel creating a winning complement to the saltiness of the green olive.
The very next day we went back to Harry's in the Design District for lunch. This outing offered up:
Yes, that's right we ordered the Kale Salad and Polenta Fries... again to share. I had the special of the day, Wood Oven Roasted Eggplant.
Big, thick slices of eggplant are deeply roasted to deliver a soft inside, almost creamy inside. Served over farro, smothered with stewed tomatoes and crumbles of feta cheese, I loved how comforting this dish felt.
JC and his business associate each had a bowl of the Yellow Jacket Soup special. A medley of vegetables in a light tomato and fish broth with chunks of Yellow Jacket, a mild white fish.
They shared the Wood Oven Roasted Chicken Wings which were tender and tasty when dunked into the agrodolce & rosemary crema, the hot & cool balancing act of sauces. They finished them all up and moved on to...
The Meatball Pizza with it's perfectly thin, crispy crust covered in caramelized onions, peppers, escarole, cheese and of course, meatballs. The sweetness of the onions and peppers played nicely off the savory notes of the meatballs and escarole.
Another delightful, belly filled visit to Harry's. If you ever find yourself "stranded" in Miami on a layover, or just vacationing in the fun, sun city, do yourself a favor and frequent any one of the restaurants from Chef Michael Schwartz. He and his teams are spot on with their food and flavors. I highly recommend any of his eateries. His approach to food, atmosphere and service are exactly what he professes: Michael's Genuine.
Although we know Chef Michael, this review was unsolicited.