801 Brickell Ave., Miami, 305-534-2211, KomodoMiami.com
It's not the China Grill that Jeffrey Chodorow was planning to relocate to Brickell after closing it four years ago. But his partnership with nightclub extraordinaire David Grutman might explain the 17,000-square-foot, three-story grandeur of this Southeast Asian behemoth. This is Grutman's first foray into restaurants after forging LIV and Story in Miami Beach.
Grutman has "the ability to create an amazing energy in any room," says Chodorow, who worked with him nearly 20 years ago.
Traditional and contemporary best-sellers include Grutman pastrami egg roll ($16), lamb spareribs ($19), grilled Szechuan beef ($44), 42-ounce Szechuan peppercorn-encrusted tuna porterhouse ($74) and Peking duck ($92). The Dragon Punch with citron vodka and lychee puree leads the cocktails ($16-$17).
Towering steel bamboo with red-lit perforations shine through the windows to the spacious garden patio with a bar. Overhead, a sprawling multilevel tree house with twigged lounge spaces evokes a "Star Wars" Ewok village.
Dinner is served nightly, with lunch soon, followed by Sunday brunch. A DJ spins Thursday through Saturday, and a third-floor lounge will debut in the spring.
Hooper's bottled BBQ sauces in six flavors are still available.
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