By Marla Horn Lazarus
“Contemporary Mediterranean Countryside Cuisine”
As the sunlight streams in through two-story windows at Tamara Bistro in the National Hotel, it reflects off the colorful mosaic ceiling that depicts an Art Deco scene in the style of the famous period artist, Tamara de Lempicka, the restaurant namesake. We began our culinary adventure at the iconic and timeless National Hotel, a cinematic Art Deco treasure in the heart of Miami Beach, offering a luxurious oceanfront that embraces the richness of global arts and culture since its opening in 1940. Outside the windows, Miami Beaches’ longest infinity-edge pool and the al fresco-dining patio add a special ambiance to the gourmet menu.
Surrounded with beautiful art and live music in the air, we began with the juicy Watermelon and Feta with candied walnuts, along with savory Mushroom Crostini, served with confit garlic and Gruyère. A house specialty, the Grilled Oysters are served with confit garlic and creamed spinach, while the Bacon Wrapped Dates are filled with creamy Boursin and crème fraiche. Delicious Tuna Tartare is served with olive melba, tomato confit and avocado while the Shrimp Cocktail delivers a punch with horseradish guava bbq sauce. For a lighter fare, yummy Truffle Flatbread has three gooey cheeses, truffle and tomato relish, while Crab Cake Sliders with apple fennel salad and cranberry walnut mayo burst with flavor. The Blue Burger Sliders with caramelized onions, blue cheese, pepper aioli and the Ahi Tuna Sliders with wakame salad, pickled ginger, wasabi mayo and avocado was a party in our mouths. The French Cheese Steak on French bread with brie and caramelized onions is certainly a treat. You can always enjoy the Fromage plate with assorted cheeses and grilled baguette as well as the Mediterranean platter with pita, hummus, baba ghanoush and tzatziki. Perfect with a glas of champage is the Smoked Salmon Platter with caper berries, tomato, red onions, Boursin and grilled baguette.
Wonderful salad creations, large enough to share, offer Endives with Roquefort, arugula, shaved apple and candied walnuts and a Strawberry Salad with avocado, candied walnuts, fig, Chèvre and strawberry vinaigrette. Don’t miss the Nicoise salad with butter greens, anchovies, green beans, eggs, potatoes, olives and tomatoes or the Bib Wedge Salad with bib lettuce, bacon, heirloom tomatoes, onion and Roquefort dressing. The Burrata and Heirloom Tomato with basil, olive oil and balsamic reduction is velvety and amazing.
For the main entrée, the Poulet Roti features a Joyce Farms pomegranate glazed chicken with maple blueberry jus while the irresistible Snapper Meunière in lemon butter sauce is always a favorite. The Filet Mignon with wild mushroom demi glace and the Sirloin au poive are both cooked to perfection, as is the Provencal Rack of Lamb with rosemary jus. The Honey Walnut Salmon in beurre blanc rouge was sensational.
For a sweet ending, the Sorbet and Berries with Grand Marnier and orange water blossom is refreshing and delightful while the Mousse au Chocolat with macaroon and Crème de Cassis is decadent. The rich Banana Crème Brulée with flambé banana and crispy caramel is luscious and the Key Lime Tart with flamed meringue and fruit graffiti is simply perfect.
With legendary grace and unforgettable style Tamara’s Bistro at the National Hotel is perfect any time of the day for business or a special occasion. Open for daily breakfast, lunch and dinner, reservations are recommended. Bon Appétit…
1677 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach • 305-532-2311 nationalhotel.com
Photo Credit: Lee Quest, Houseit Productions