Need dinner plans on a Monday night? Pay a visit to The Café at Books & Books in the Adrienne Arsht Center, where James Beard award-winning Chef Allen Susser serves up a weekly 5-course vegetarian feast for $25. Having attended a special Valentine’s Day edition of the dinner, we can’t recommend it enough. Here’s why.
1. It’s an incredible value. Five courses for $25 is unheard of in this city. Inspired by ingredients sold from the Arsht Center’s farmers market — which takes place every Monday from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. — Chef Allen develops the meal around a specific theme or region. The night we attended, the dishes featured edible flowers in celebration of Valentine’s Day. For an additional $14, you can enjoy a wine pairing with your meal.
2. You’ll meet new people. Most of the dishes are served family-style. As the plates are passed along the communal table outside, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to talk to your neighbors and make conversation.
3. No two menus are the same. If you become a regular (and you will), every experience is unique since Chef Allen does not repeat a menu. Each dinner also features a different food/beverage partner. On our night, Chef Allen teamed up with Paradise Farms in Homestead. If you see a menu you like online, don’t hesitate to make a reservation.
4. You’ll appreciate vegetables more. We’re not huge vegetable fans, so we were a little iffy about trying an all-vegetarian meal at first. We knew we were in for a treat, though, after consuming the first few courses: “Oysters Rockefeller” (oyster mushrooms, organic spinach, purple potato, scarlet begonias) and Grilled Eggplant Po Boy (smoked Ratatouille, hibiscus petals). The meal progressed with a French Radish Salad with champagne vinaigrette, Red Quinoa Jambalaya, and Florida Strawberry Short Cake with wild petunias. We had no idea vegetables could taste this good.
Chef Allen’s farm-to-table dinners take place rain or shine. Although walk ins are accepted, reservations are strongly recommended. To make your reservation for an upcoming dinner, call 786-405-1745.
The Café at Books & Books in the Adrienne Arsht Center is located at 1300 Biscayne Blvd in Downtown. For hours of operation and other information, visit their website or call 786-405-1745.