Lobster Bar Sea Grille brings the best crustaceans from Nova Scotia and beyond to South Beach’s most exclusive neighborhood.
The setting is like so mething out of a movie: A dapperly dressed man orders a New Old Fashioned (with caramelized brown sugar and marinated black cherries) and—for the lady—a Morpheus (Bombay and St. Germain with lavender petals and edible hibiscus fl owers). The deep purple tincture within the martini glass, transforming into white, looks like something out of The Matrix, from which the beverage gets its name.
This is the scene at Lobster Bar Sea Grille, the first Miami endeavor for Buckhead Restaurant Group. Located at the former China Grill space, Lobster Bar is the epitome of a white-glove seafood house. Paying homage to Grand Central Station’s famed Oyster Bar in New York, subway-tile walls and arched ceilings make diners feel as if they’re underground, or aboard an old luxury steamship—not in the heart of South Beach bordering Fifth Street.
Steering the ship is executive chef Arturo Paz, long notable from stints at places like Cleo and—back in the day—at oceanic gems Baleen at Grove Isle and A Fish Called Avalon. “I’ve been on the beach since ’91,” he reminisces. “It’s been interesting to see the metamorphosis from when it was completely buzzing in the ’90s to what it is today.”
Besides stunning cocktails, the star of the show is, of course, the lobster—namely, a one-pounder cooked to perfection and doused in a mild and buttery chili sauce. “It’s our signature dish,” Paz says. Lightly-fried lobster morsels with Greek honey mustard aioli are just as lip-smacking as the lobster bisque au cognac. And for the truly adventurous, a live lobster option puts what’s heralded as the Rolls-Royce of lobsters (up to five-pound crustaceans from Nova Scotia) on the table in a variety of different preparations, ensuring that the bar and grill lives up to its name.
But you don’t need to order lobster to enjoy a meal here. Simply turn to the Thassos marble fish displaying the day’s catch—anything from familiar species like lavraki and fagri to the harder-tocome- by John Dory and turbot. “We get our fish in fresh every morning and never know what to expect,” says Paz—though they usually hail from the Mediterranean.
Carnivores can go surf-and-turf or full turf with USDA prime filet mignon au poivre, or with a tomahawk that feeds more than two. You’ll want to order sides, namely the house specialty lobster potato mash. Dessert spares lobster, and instead delights with baba au rhum and Kahlua espresso mini martinis finished with hazelnut cream. Talk about a sweet ending. 404 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, 305-377- 2675; buckheadrestaurants.com