Let’s get right to it: drop whatever you’re doing and head over to Ariete, the recently opened New American restaurant taking Coconut Grove by storm. Located at the old La Bottega space attached to Taurus in the Grove — another favorite — the restaurant is run by Sidebar partner Jason Odio and former Cypress Room sous chef Michael Beltran. And by the looks of it, the duo already have a success on their hands.
The cozy space is the perfect backdrop for Beltran’s tasty seasonal fare, which is based around the eatery’s wood grill. At first glance, the menu may sound like something you’ve experienced 100 times over — local fish crudo, burrata, short rib, insert super popular menu item here — but at Ariete, you haven’t quite had them like this before. It’s the little details from Beltran and his team that really elevate the dishes and turn them into something special — and turn you into a repeat customer.
From the minute we bit into the housemade parker rolls — you can’t just have one basket — we knew we were in for a fun culinary ride. Our hunch was right: the mackerel crudo delivered a flavor bomb that was equal parts fragrant, bright and delectable.
If there’s one thing you need to order, it’s the venison. It doesn’t matter if you get the venison tartare or the larger main plate: you need to eat it. We opted for the tartare so we could fit in more food, and we were pleasantly surprised by the taste. We can’t really put it into words (besides “awesome”). Maybe smokey? Sure, let’s go with that. It was awesome and smokey, and the egg on top just knocked the dish out of the park for us once we mixed everything in.
Having fallen back in love with agnolotti recently at Proof Pizza & Pasta in Midtown Miami, we had to try Ariete’s version of the pasta. Tasty little bundles of mortadella with a lemony broth made for a light, vibrant dish that served as a great segue into our true main plate: the !!@$#%@$#%@#%@& short rib. No, that’s not the official name. It’s just so good, you’ll probably let out an expletive or two or many more. Smokey (there’s that word again) and charred, the tender short rib took our taste buds down to Flavortown. Sorry, we’re still recovering from filming Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with Guy Fieri.
Where were we? Oh yeah, get the short rib. And get dessert. Pastry Chef Dallas Wynne, who worked alongside the beloved-in-the-305 Hedy Goldsmith, is creating some ridiculously crazy awesome desserts — we daresay some of the best in town. That’s lofty praise, but we’re pretty confident you’ll agree once you try her stuff. Our two selections — sour orange donuts and crème fraîche cheesecake — have practically ruined all future desserts for us. The donuts in all their fried goodness could stand on their own but Wynne added sour orange cream to obliterate your diet with deliciousness.
As for the creme fraiche cheesecake: incredibly airy and smooth. If you prefer something on the lighter side, this is the perfect ending, especially with the addition of fresh seasonal fruit including some welcome citrus. Because it’s an open kitchen, you can watch Wynne make her desserts and we suggest you do; what an artist. Even if you don’t get dessert, guests are given a sweet parting bite to cap the magical experience. During our particular visit, we were treated to some tasty caramel meringues.
We had been eagerly counting down the days until Ariete opened, dating back to when it was announced to open on Calle Ocho. Plans ultimately shifted the location to Coconut Grove, which we think is a better fit anyway. Overall, our meal was one for the record books — easily one of the best in 2016 thus far. We heard Ariete is launching brunch service, so we’re definitely checking that out soon. Hopefully, we’ll catch you there.
Ariete is located at 3540 Main Hwy in Coconut Grove. For hours of operation and other information, visit their official website or call 305-640-5862.