I’ve always wondered exactly what the recipe is for a good restaurant. Some places mask mediocre food with superb service or the perfect ambiance (see: Landing, Scotty’s). Some places have a single dish that is so perfectly done nothing else matters (think blue fin toro carpaccio from Bond Street). Still others are just ordinary in every category but for some reason the sum of the parts keep me coming back. These are the naughty little buggers (note that this writer is using the 3rd definition of bugger from Merriam-Webster and in no way is accusing any hereafter mentioned establishments of being practitioners of sodomy) that perplex me. I like parentheses (and mojitos).
People come to South Beach for four things: weather, food, fun and drinks (Ed. note: cough, chicks with fake boobs). I say why not indulge in all of them in one spot.
Café Nuvó, situated on beautiful world famous Española Way (go back and read that again using your Robin Leach voice and it becomes much more convincing), has just enough of all of those to make up for any shortcomings you may find.
For the weather and the fun; sit outside so you can enjoy the people watching. There is ample shade in case you’re an early diner or pale like this writer. You’ll see tourists, locals, celebrities, club goers and that weird guy I see walking around with a white-headed capuchin on his shoulder. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White-headed_Capuchin The drawback…it gets pretty loud during peak dinner hours which makes chatting with your fellow diners difficult.
For the food; remember that everything is relative. You’re not at Prime 112 and you are in a touristy area. That being said, $9 for an excellent example of lobster bisque (hello chorizo!) and $22 for a rather tasty and generous piece of skirt steak is just fine by me. You’ll rarely be amazed at how quickly the food comes out but hey, you’re sitting outside on South Beach…put down your cell phone and enjoy your mojito…
For the drinks; the menu has two pages of mojitos. Unless you’re Nick Nolte I wouldn’t suggest trying one of each. If you are Nick Nolte, I still love Blue Chips. The bartender is a muddler extraordinaire and letting the fresh sugar cane soak up the rum before you chew on it shows everyone around you how much of a mojito connoisseur, or barbarian with no manners, you are. I’m a classico or kiwi kind of guy. The last time I was there they made my tourist guest a watermelon version that was all types of good. I would prefer they weren’t $11 but hey, at least it’s not a $31 cocktail made from liquid nitrogen like you get at 1427 West Ave Miami Beach FL. “Oh you want your martini to be -320° F and undrinkable? My pleasure.”
So I say to you Café Nuvó: when it comes to a solid mojito, decent food and an enjoyable atmosphere, you and Ralph Macchio have something in common.
(Ed. note: I think he's saying that you're the best around, Café Nuvó.)
Granted I’m no math major but in the case of Café Nuvó…1 + 1 = 3.