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Azul Rules: Three Things We Loved About Mandarin Oriental Miami's Resto

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  Site Where: 500 Brickell Key Drive [map], Miami, FL, United States, 33131
July 21, 2011 at 11:30 AM | by | ()

With Miami Spice (a two-month long 'Restaurant Week') on the horizon in Miami, we have food on the brain. To prepare for the food-fest, we've been scoping out some of the city's best hotel restaurants to bring you the inside word on where to book your Spice tables. Today: Azul at the Mandarin Oriental Miami.

One of Miami's poshest, the restaurant opened in 2000 but has a breath of fresh air in the form of Chef Joel Huff, who joins the hotel after stints at Mandarins in San Francisco and New York, and at the Four Seasons Biltmore in Santa Barbara.

Despite serving up seriously high-class dishes like Eggs & Caviar and Sake Marinated Black Cod, Chef Huff is totally down to earth, and happy to talk to guests about his recent move to Miami and his love for surfing. OK, so we were at Azul for a media event, but the restaurant has an open kitchen so you'll always be able to spot him and, really, the guy loves to chat. Trust us, this is one time you won't have to worry about awkward small talk when the chef does his rounds of tables towards the end of the night.

Second on our list of things to love about Azul: the bar. We so want one of these in-built ice bucket bars at home. Instead, we spent some time propped up against it, enjoying the Azul take on the Manhattan (the secret ingredient is the Spanish liquer, Licor 43), and then a few drops from the 700-bottle wine wall. Drinks here are not cheap but whatever you're a connoisseur of, they have it and you'll go home happy.

Topping off our night was this scrumptious looking dessert, the Yogurt Cloud Cake. After three courses of rich dishes, we usually hit a wall on dessert. But this baby is light and refreshing, and worth saving room for. It's topped with fresh berries, rhubarb, strawberry syrup and Meyer lemon ice cream. Chef Huff was still working on what to offer during Miami Spice, but if you see this on the menu, give it a whirl.

Miami Spice dinners are $35 per person, plus tax and gratuity.

[Photos: Courtesy MO Miami; HotelChatter]

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