Quality Meats, Menage A Trois
Welcome back enthusiastic readers to the Quality Meats regurgitation that is our blog. In today’s edition we swim the streets of superficiality wearing nothing but a fake tan in South Beach, Miami. Until, that is, we found Quality Meats inside the Bancroft Hotel. When in Rome? Exactly. Another quintessentially overpriced steak house in the city that cocaine built, how could we say no? We read the grill menu outside and liked what we saw so inside we went, join us stalwart readers, for our foray into the place where Quality Meats, South Beach. http://www.qualitymeatsmiami.com/home.cfm
If the menu is good enough to grill, it’s good enough for me.
We stepped inside the fairly brightly lit interior at least, brightly lit for a steakhouse. Modern & linear, the kind of place where people with fake breasts sit comfortably in their own mock tanned skin and judge you. Moments later we’re seated at the bar where polite societal norms demand we acquire beer. Mission accomplished. Having adhered to polite societal convention we began to peruse the menu. We can’t help but notice that this menu differs from the menu board outside. Whatever, surf & turf bitches, scallops and steak 3 ways, shut up & take my money.
Before we even order an amuse bouche is presented to us in proper modern restaurant fashion on a slab of wood. Plates are soooo last century. Bright pink water melon cubes accompanied by smoked sea salt. Slightly sweet, slightly salty and a refreshing treat on a hot Miami evening. Quality meats are off to a great start. It’s nice to meat them.
While we’re still contemplating the amuse, we’re offered garlic butter dinner rolls. Quality meats nail this one too, this is the singlehanded best bread course, we’ve ever had anywhere, ever. So buttery, and garlicy, sweet and pillow soft, we’re taking the leftovers with us.
A couple sidles up to the bar and are handed “the grill” menu as the bartender adds, this menu will save you a little money. We recognize this Quality Eats menu as the one we saw outside. I don’t know what there was about us that made us look like we didn’t want to save money, but here we were. I suppose we looked like we wanted to eat at an overpriced Miami steakhouse and he was understandingly optimizing the experience. We should send him a fruit basket and thank him.
Seafood? Eat it
The amuse bouche and the bread course have done their job magnificently. Slightly whetting our appetite, we’re ready for more. Seafood came scalloping to the rescue. Artfully prepared, the scallop has the traditional hint of crispy exterior, barely containing the buttery texture of the seafood insides. Served on a sweet creamed corn, with ramps and bacon, because duh, pass the bacon I’m trying to eat seafood over here. Buttery, savory, sweet & bacon, all tastes are presented in this stellar dish.
Quality Meats now has me speaking in tongues. As I aim the camera, to take a barely legible, out of focus picture of these scallops, the bartender scowls. I feel like I’ve been caught doing something wrong. His voice drips with disdain, “It makes me nervous, when people take pictures of their food.” Before I can explain that we’re not yelpers and as such are perfectly sane and of sound mind, he disappears with one last scowl in our direction. This does not bode well.
I once read that scallops contain a great deal of cholesterol. If we ordered a Farmer’s salad that would offset any cholesterol snafus set for ourselves from that last course wouldn’t it? But hold on. I’ve also read that drinking alcohol on a plane is bad for you. That obvious quackery has to be denounced as a malicious lie immediately and fundamentally. Thus proving not everything one reads is a proven fact, but some things are. It’s exhausting trying to decipher truths from untruths, better get the salad.
Quality Meats brings a Farmer’s salad, to help us with our general health. I don’t know which farmer’s salad they brought but at $13, we should cut out the middleman and go straight to the source. Crispy, green iceberg lettuce, crunchy carrot strips, a hint of pickled onion and garlicy crouton, dressed lightly in tangy vinaigrette. Nicely done this salad will certainly add years to our lives after side kicking the neck of cholesterol. A farmer somewhere nearby tents his fingers and laughs evilly as he lines his pockets with hard earned tourist cash.
Menage A Trois
Finally that part of the report you’ve been looking for patient readers, the meat of it. One look at the description of this dish and I thought two things. 1. I bet the line cook’s hate making that. 2. I am totally ordering that. The menu simply read: Seared three filets Oscar, Au Poivre, and Wellington. Yes, you read that right. One steak with crab, one pepper crusted & one topped with mushroom & puff pastry… all on the same plate. Why don’t you try and stop me Quality Meats. They didn’t try and stop me.
Where has three steaks on one plate been all my life? The steak Oscar sits atop buttery crab and green beans a perfect medium rare; it is cloaked in a tangy béarnaise sauce. The crab is suitably soft and buttery, the blanched green bean are just shy of crispy. The steak’s sear is exceptional, crusty seared steak goodness on the outside, a perfectly soft, red interior, it tastes like all steaks should taste + seafood= color us happy.
Steak Au Poivre is lightly pepper crusted with the same textbook sear as Oscar. Drizzled with lightly spicy pepper gravy, that brings a light kick to the taste equation. Garnished with onion strings the steak Au Poivre is a slightly peppery, artfully prepared, Miami interpretation of the French classic.
Wellington, the very name evokes the desire to celebrate every Englishman’s dream of decimating the French navy while belittling a short Italian guy in funny French pants. This savory expertly cooked filet from Quality Meats is topped with a flavorful and aromatic mushroom duxelle. Resting atop the mushroom is a glorious ode to Lincoln a proud, stovepipe hat of puff pastry. When you bite all three together it’s a worthy symphony of flavor. The salty crispy exterior of the steak is welcome alongside the buttery, chewy, interior. This contrasting texture dances nicely with the earthy, pungent, mushrooms. And who could forget the tawdry & promiscuous light breadiness of the puff pastry? Exceptional.
While we’re contemplating the steak and the absurdity of capital gains taxes, the bartender makes his move, and stealthily snatches the leftover garlic, butter, bread rolls & walks off. Did that lil’ Jean Valjean just steal the remainder of our bread? Yes, he had. Soon he came back from wherever shifty eyed, camera shy, bread thieves go when they’re not tending the bar. We mentioned the misbegotten bread at which point the light bulb went off in his head… I got you his facial expression said. By accident, we had just confirmed his suspicions. We are not rich. His bartender calculator did the math. White trash + Free Bread= Bigger tip. Consumer Math 101. We’re not above bread bribery, especially for this bread.
You know the old saying all steak & no sides make Homer go crazy? That shit makes me crazy too. Creamed Spinach, because we’re in a steak house and spinach is wicked good for you. Especially, when it’s poached lightly in gobs of cream & cheese, then it is especially healthy. It’s totally true, I asked someone who’s in Cross Fit. Creamy, a hint of salt, and what is that, possibly nutmeg? Served in a deliciously eggy Yorkshire pudding bowl, by the second bite any doubt that this is the least healthy thing you’ve eaten all week will be removed. But all the fucks you give will also dissipate after eating two bites of this creamy, salty, delicious, spinachy goodness.
Would we go back? Yeah, we’d go back, the bartender was a little snarky, but the food was great, we still tipped well. It’s not his fault, Miami is just one of those cities, like DC, Atlanta or anywhere Italians are where our finest clothing pale in comparison to the shimmering fabrics found on the locals. Quality Meats is, at least for us, a special occasion joint as the prices are quite steep even for Miami.
Coming soon, I watch a dude who is clearly qualified for running with a scissors and I find myself in a comprising position. Not only that, but putting my Portuguese to the test ends in failure at Camila’s, we hope to see you there. Until then may the odds be ever in your flavor. – Pot & Pan Handler.
The Pot and Pan Handler are 100% organic, free range, all natural, nomadic restaurant émigrés with an inexplicable food obsession and frequent contributors to the delinquency of diners.