Soon, the international art world will converge on Miami for Art Basel.
But walking from the valet to Edge Steak & Bar on the seventh floor of the Four Seasons Hotel last weekend felt like a Basel preview. The hotel's art collection starts in the lobby with the 12-foot-tall bronze Boteros titled "Adam" and "Eve." Some 25 artists are represented, and as you walk through this gorgeous building, the world somehow seems more civilized.
Things get even better when you arrive at Edge, where an oversize, marble-topped bar draws you into the room. Light-washed oak tables, beige linen walls and almond leather booths combine in a creamy palette that creates the kind of serenity that would be perfect for any menu. Eat outside, and you'll see firsthand how big Brickell and Miami have become. The pool area is breathtaking.
Edge, which opened one year ago this month, stands out for two reasons.
First, chef Aaron Brooks, who will cook at New York's prestigious James Beard House on Nov. 30, emphasizes Florida-grown ingredients. Second, Brooks offers smaller cuts than most modern steakhouses. That not only makes the menu more affordable, but more closely follows current nutritional guidelines. Who really needs to eat 20 ounces of beef? And for a restaurant with steak in its name, it offers just as much seafood as meat.
We started, for instance, with lobster corn soup ($10), scented with tarragon and rich with "creamless creamed corn" and chunks of Maine lobster. Watercress salad ($10) is a mixture of salty speck, creamy Turkey Creek Farm cheese from Palm Beach County and crispy fried dates. The Edge Caesar ($11) has a classic, creamy and garlicky dressing plus fresh Spanish anchovies and a crispy poached egg that's delicious when the runny yolk is mixed into the romaine.
Shrimp and grits ($13) is made with South Carolina polenta, Key West shrimp, Spanish-style chorizo and Middle Eastern Aleppo pepper. I was disappointed in the ahi tuna tartare ($12) with pickled shallots, watermelon and mint. Because of texture and color, it was difficult to tell the difference between tuna and watermelon. The aioli just added one more element of creaminess — the last thing the dish needed.
There are four items called signatures, and I couldn't resist Aussie Lamb ($27): tender grilled chops cooked exactly medium rare and a fresh, home-made sausage link on a plate with arugula, pine-nut puree and olive salsa. The puree needed a bit more salt.
Steaks, however, were seasoned perfectly, from the 7-ounce filet mignon ($36) to the 12-ounce Delmonico ($34). Edge uses Creekstone Farms Black Angus Beef. Each cut was a perfect example of premium beef.
Side dishes are plenty big, but thankfully not as large as those at some steakhouses, where you're often brought enough to feed a family of four. I love the way each dish is presented in its own iron serving pot on a rustic, wooden slab.
But I was underwhelmed with the bland chickpea and Parmesan croquetas ($7) with five-herb dip. I couldn't taste the cheese. That wasn't a problem with blue-cheese macaroni and cheese ($7), topped with crispy breadcrumbs. The creamy mashed potatoes ($7) are made with Yukon Golds.
The dessert menu ($8 each) is divided into flavors, so we ordered Caramel: popcorn cream, bitter caramel ice cream with peanut butter powder. There was Chocolate: warm blackout brownie, pretzel nougat and vanilla ice and cream. Skip the cheesecake pops, sticks of cheesecake balls covered in hard chocolate. They're made in several flavors including pumpkin spice and orange dulce de leche.
Service is as luxurious as the Four Seasons, friendly and professional — hands-off or hands-on — however you want it to be.
Going out to dinner has always been about much more than food. And dining at the Edge will definitely make you feel as if you've left South Florida. For a few hours, you can sit wrapped in the luxury that is the Four Seasons.
Afterward, take a walk by the pools. Sit by the fire pit. Take in the view. Check out the growing metropolis that is Miami.
And like we said to ourselves: "Can you believe we live here?"
firstname.lastname@example.org or 954-356-4632. Read his blog at SunSentinel.com/sup and follow him on Twitter at @FloridaEats.
Edge Steak & Bar
Four Seasons Hotel, 1435 Brickell Ave., Miami
Cost: Expensive-very expensive
Hours: Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily
Credit cards: All major
Bar: Full service
Sound level: Conversational
Outside smoking: Yes
For kids: Highchairs, boosters, menu
Wheelchair accessible: Yes
Parking: $10 valet with validation