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The Eat Beat Dining around South Florida
with Mike Mayo
Eating The Eat Beat

Chinese restaurants for Chinese New Year, chili cook offs and meaty reviews

Welcome to the Eat Beat Newsletter. Next weekend brings Super Sunday but this weekend brings something more colossal. Saturday, Jan. 28, is Chinese New Year, with China’s 1.3 billion inhabitants and millions of others worldwide celebrating the Year of the Rooster. Cock-a-doodle-doo.

(Dragons, lions ... and food.)

Chinese New Year festivities: If you want to party Beijing style, my colleague Barb Duarte has a roundup of traditional Chinese celebrations, including a lion dance at Gold Marquess Fine Chinese Cuisine, 8525 Pines Blvd., Pembroke Pines, at 8 p.m. Jan. 28 and 7 p.m. Jan. 29. Call 954-367-7730 for reservations. For those who simply want to eat some good Chinese food to kick off the new year, you can try dim sum at Pine Court Chinese Bistro, 10101 Sunset Strip, Sunrise, 954-748-5958, or longtime local favorite Tropical Chinese Restaurant, 7991 SW 40th Street, Miami, 305-262-7576. For roast meats like you'd find in New York's Chinatown, complete with ducks hanging in the front window, there's Hong Kong City BBQ, 5301 N. State Road 7, Tamarac, 954-777-3832. For dumplings, there's Dumpling King, 237 NE 167th St, North Miami Beach, 305-654-4008. And for those who want white linen and refined service, there's Rainbow Palace, 2787 East Oakland Park Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-565-5652.

(Dueling chili fests.)

Chili cook offs: When there's a winter chill in the air, it's a good time for chili on the stove. And there'll be no shortage this weekend, with two chili competitions on consecutive days. On Saturday, Jan. 28, there's the Riverwalk Chili Cook Off at Esplanade Park, 400 SW 2nd St., Fort Lauderdale, from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is $5. On Sunday, Jan. 29, there's a more raucous, elaborate affair, the 32nd Annual Kiss Country 99.9 Chili Cook Off, at C.B. Smith Park in Pembroke Pines, 900 N. Flamingo Road. If features big name musical acts such as Florida Georgia Line. Tickets are $52.

(Veal with tuna in tony Palm Beach.)

Italian high and low: Correspondent Susan Bryant has the details on the recent Palm Beach opening of Sant Ambroeus, a high-end Italian eatery with other locations in New York and Southampton. And deal maven Doreen Christensen has the lowdown on an all-you-can-eat promotion at Olive Garden, starting at $11.99, featuring popular dishes such as chicken parmigiana, lasagna and fettucine alfredo with unlimited soup or salad and bread sticks.

(Beef, it's what's for review dinners.)

Review roundup: I had a meaty week of critiques, gorging on all manner of flesh. I saluted the safe, solid and exorbitant comfort of delicious prime cuts at Steak 954 in the W Hotel Fort Lauderdale, awarding it three stars. The eatery has a new chef but hasn't changed much since opening seven years ago, not such a bad thing. Four Rivers Smokehouse in Coral Springs, the first South Florida location of a growing barbecue chain that began near Orlando, ran a little too sweet and salty for my tastes, a two-star review that drew passionate responses. Some readers agreed with me, but others did not, including one Four Rivers fan who wrote, "I wouldn't expect a liberal, Marxist like yourself to know much about good BBQ if it slapped you in the face." Really? That makes me want to retreat to a safe space - amidst a pile of properly seasoned ribs.

(From Hell's Kitchen to Bal Harbour)

Paula DaSilva returns: After leaving 3030 Ocean in Fort Lauderdale for a second time in 2015, talented chef Paula DaSilva has resurfaced with her latest venture, Artisan Beach House at the Ritz Carlton in Bal Harbour, 10295 Collins Avenue, 305-455-5460. The restaurant opened earlier this month and features sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean and Haulover Cut. DaSilva, a runner-up in season five of Hell's Kitchen with Gordon Ramsay in 2009, partners once again with restaurateur Seth Greenberg. They previously collaborated at 1500 Degrees in the Eden Roc hotel. Chef de cuisine is Tony Coddington, a Michelle Bernstein protege. Among the menu offerings: cassoulet with local beans, farm egg and porcini stock; and salted fish croquettes with pickled okra and preserved lemon mayonaisse.

(Pureed nuts with grape relish reduction?)

Question of the week: M.J. Feehan writes, "While I realize your space is limited and readers have access to Google, do you think you could define some of the more exotic cooking terms you use? I'd be very surprised if five percent of your readers know what a 'nage' is. Or perhaps you could write a separate column giving a glossary of trendy terms?" Whether covering sports or politics, I've always tried to write simply and clearly, so all I can do is beg forgiveness and try to do better. I agree that highfalutin foodie jargon can be confusing and maddening, and to a certain degree insiders fall too easily in the trap. I saw a funny Facebook post recently about a food snob's description of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich: "Pureed nut spread with grape relish reduction on artisanal bleached flour brioche." A nage, by the way, is an aromatic bouillon or stock used for cooking seafood.

Got a restaurant tip or dining beef?  Reach me at mmayo@southflorida.com or 954-356-4508. Don’t troll me, but feel free to roast or flambeé me on Twitter: @heymikemayo, and follow my food adventures on Instagram: @mikemayoeats.

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Stay hungry, my friends.

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