Opening a successful restaurant in Brickell is no easy feat. As one restaurant survives its first year in the neighborhood, several others close without reaching that milestone. Porcao, a farm-to-table steakhouse that once occupied 901 Brickell Plaza, shuttered after a few short months. Previous tenants also met a similar grim fate.
Garzón, a family-run restaurant that fuses Uruguayan, Italian, French and Argentinian influences, has now taken over the same spot. Does it have what it takes to succeed where other ventures have failed? Our answer: absolutely.
If you’ve read our previous features, you know that we look closely at two factors: the quality of the food and the quality of the service. Quality food and service are not mutually exclusive in our books, but sadly that seems to be the case at many Brickell eateries we’ve visited. You could have the best food in the world, but that means jack shit if your service is … well, shit. And the inverse holds true.
So what does that long-winded paragraph have to do with Garzón? Everything. You see, where other Brickell eateries have failed, Garzón excels. Not only is the food excellent, but so is the service. And that’s an understatement. One main reason for that is General Manager Camila Diaz, whose extensive hospitality experience working for a number of top hotels and restaurants is on full display here. Between Camila and her mother Gabriela — who is also one of the owners – they touch every table to ensure guests are having a great time. In our experience, that seems to be a dying practice.
Combine that level of service with some delicious dishes, and it’s no surprise that Garzón really wowed us during our recent media dinner. If there’s one thing you need to know about Uruguayan food, it’s that their meat is awesome. That’s why we strongly recommend the Parrilladita at Garzón. It gives you a taste of several types of meat including flap steak, blood sausage and chorizo as well as some empanadas and truffle fries for good measure. It’s the ultimate meat sampler platter and could easily be your entire meal. We wouldn’t — and couldn’t — part with it; it was so good we kept taking bites up until the end of our meal.
Since we had heard so many good things about Uruguayan meats from our friends, we weren’t expecting much from the seafood dishes. We were oh so wrong. The snapper ceviche — light, bright and spicy due to some jalepeno tempura. The tuna tartare: classic, scrumptious and well seasoned. Our favorite seafood/shellfish dish was the shrimp a la parilla, though. Earthy and plump, they stood on their own just fine. But you MUST try it with the salsa golf, which has no relation to the sport besides being a hole-in-one (or whatever the golf equivalent to a home run is).
We exhausted most of our stomach space with these smaller plates, so we had room for just one entree. Remember how we said the steak here is good? Well, the Picanha Prime Steak is unreal. Each bite of the steak — which was cooked to perfection — was a flavor punch to the palate. We could not get enough of the dish, and we think it’s an absolute steal at $27. We would happily pay twice as much (please don’t change the price). Paired with crisp and salty fries, we couldn’t ask for a better steak and potatoes dish.
One last surprise awaited us: the dulce de leche soufflé. You’d think it was thick and heavy based on first glance, but the dough was really light and the dulce de leche overflowed once you broke into it — it was magical.
If you can’t tell from everything you just read, we really really really really like this place. Because previous tenants weren’t anything to write home about, we had no idea what to expect from 901 Brickell Plaza’s latest tenant. Suffice it to say, Garzón is over and above anything that’s been in the space before — and many neighboring restaurants. Just one bite of that prime steak, and we’re sure you’ll agree.
Garzón is located at 901 Brickell Plaza in Brickell. For hours of operation and other information, visit their official website or call 305-364-5480.