Ariete – Inventive Pairings Make this the New Coconut Grove Spot
By Rebecca Muller
Photos by Samantha Dockser
We’re told not to judge a book by it’s cover, but in the case of Ariete, the new Coconut Grove restaurant tucked off of Main Highway, you would not be remiss to do so. The bar is set high by the impeccable decor and ambience. The delicious menu, by Chef Michael Beltran, has no trouble reaching that goal, thanks to it’s surprising flavor combinations and signature wood-grilled dishes.
We began the evening with some hand-crafted cocktails. I opted for the Southside, a nectarine infused Bombay Sapphire cocktail with lime juice, simple syrup, and mint. My dining companion sampled the Aviation, another citrus infused Bombay Sapphire cocktail. This time, the gin was finished with Creme de Violette, simple syrup, and lemon juice. It was the perfect light, refreshing prologue to the meal.
Next, we enjoyed a few small plates, including this refreshing Sliced Turnip on a well-toasted crostini, accompanied by Nori & trout roe butter. The briny flavor of the roe combined beautifully with the creamy butter, serving as the perfect foil to the crisp turnip.
Alternatively, the Chicken Liver Mousse on toast and topped with red pepper jelly was incredibly rich. It had an unexpected combination of flavors that combined beautifully. I never would have ordered this for myself, but after tasting Ariete’s take on chicken liver mousse, I’d go back for it.
We were then treated to the highly-recommended Foie Gras, which came atop ember-roasted plantains. This inventive combination toed the line between sweet and savory. The sour orange vinegar tying the flavors together makes this dish a winner.
For the entrees, we elected to go with this beautiful Cod, served with fennel and heirloom beans. This fish dish defies expectations with deep, complex flavors. It’s complemented impeccably by the simple bed of beans. They allow the star of the dish to really shine through, and shine it does.
Then, we took on the Short Rib, which, as you can see, was falling off the bone it was so tender. It was absolutely delicious, served with a shaved vegetable salad and red pepper beef jus. After the first savory bite, I had to consciously stop myself from inhaling the entire thing.
Thank goodness that I did, because my life would be less full if I hadn’t gotten to try these desserts. First was the Coconut Cream Pie, accompanied by a scoop of ice cream over a dusting of crushed waffle cone. My mouth watered just writing that. Every detail of this dish contributed to the out-of-body experience I had while eating it. The topping of toasted coconut, the familiar, nostalgic sugar cone. There’s not a thing I would change, and I strongly recommend saving room for dessert with this pie in mind.
Now, if pie is just not your thing, I suggest you either consider making it your thing, or opt for the equally delicious Orange Creme-Filled Donuts with Marmalade. These arrived at the table still warm. The first bite sent the creme oozing out of the pastry. The velvety flavors of the filling paired excellently with the fresh, just tart enough dipping sauce to create a combination that will have you licking your fingers post-donut.
If you’d given up on dining in Coconut Grove due to a lack of innovation, then the arrival of Ariete should have you sprinting back. Only a week after it’s grand opening, the restaurant and it’s delightful patio seating were packed by 7 p.m. It seems that word of the spot’s fare, and the reputation of it’s chef, has spread.
Other highlights include: