Driftwood Room Miami Beach Review – An Alex Guarnaschelli Concept
Driftwood Room Miami Beach recently opened their doors at the Nautilus Hotel in Miami Beach under the culinary direction of celebrity chef Alex Guarnaschelli. Let’s start with the location and ambiance. The Nautilus Hotel is simply beautiful. As you walk through the lobby and make your way to Driftwood Room towards the back end of the hotel, you sense the high-end ambiance of the establishment.
Both indoor and outdoor seating is available; I highly recommend you go for the outside seating. The outside is well lit and makes for a classy, romantic dinner experience. My dinner at Driftwood Room was elevated by the service. I was extremely impressed by our waitress who was exceptionally educated about their menu. If their entire staff is trained this well, I suggest that you ask for their recommendations!
I was fortunate to dine in on a Thursday night where Driftwood Room is promoting their “It Was All A Dream Cocktails & Dinner” promotion. The vibe is upbeat and festive, yet classy and sophisticated.
First up, cocktails!
The Fig & Berries is composed of Casa Noble tequila, fig jam, white balsamic, blackberry, and lime. As you drink the Fig & Berries you get the tequila and lime flavor combination right away with subtle sweetness and tartness from the blackberries.
The Just in Thyme comes with Grey Goose vodka and thyme infused lemonade. The name of this cocktail describes it perfectly. The vodka goes down smooth but the real star of this cocktail is the thyme flavor and aroma. This is the must try cocktail at Driftwood Room.
The Moto-Guzzi comes with Bulleit bourbon, an amari blend, and Italian vermouth. This is Driftwood Rooms rendition between an Old Fashioned and Manhattan. This is a strong alcoholic drink with a prominent bourbon flavor. It is beautifully accentuated by the sweetness of the Italian vermouth.
The Cabana Club comes with Avion Silver tequila, strawberry, basil, and ginger. The basil and ginger deliver freshness to every sip while the strawberries come through with their sweetness, delivering their ever so welcoming iconic flavors. I really enjoyed the ginger in the Cabana Club.
The Couples drink is Driftwood Room’s Valentine’s Day specialty drink, meant to be shared by two people. The drink that uses Absolute Elyx and raspberries is served in a large pineapple serving cup. The cocktail is served over crushed ice and delivers fresh raspberry flavors. The occasional raspberry seeds let you know that there are real raspberries in the cocktail. It is not overly sweet, but you get just enough sweetness from the berries and agave syrup. This one is easy to drink!
We sampled a myriad of their cocktails and were impressed with all of them! The cocktails have a very real decadence to them. The high quality alcohol used in the cocktails along with the creative elements makes for an excellent cocktail menu. Also, all of their cocktails are sweetened with agave.
The herb-crusted lamb kabobs were a fantastic start to dinner. There is a chermoula spice rub on the lamb that is to die for. The lamb kabobs clearly embody coastal Mediterranean flavors. The meat is juicy, tender, and pairs extremely well with the rich aioli that is served on the side.
The Provoleta is simply flambéed provolone, topped with Cuban oregano, and cherry tomatoes. Grilled sourdough bread is served on the side for dipping. What’s not to love about baked provolone? You get the savory richness from the provolone, sweetness from the cherry tomatoes and crunchy texture from the grilled sourdough. This one comes from Chef De Cuisine Lucas Marino whose Argentinean background influenced the inclusion of this appetizer dish into the menu.
The Nautilus Pasta features charred octopus, sweet peppers, and a cherry tomato sauce. The Nautilus pasta was absolutely delicious! For those who have still not tried octopus, order this pasta, you will now like octopus. The pasta is coated in a yellow tomato sauce and the octopus is cooked in red wine and then charred before being included in the pasta. The pasta is actually very simple and you can pinpoint every one of its elements easily. The highlight of the pasta for me was not the octopus, though it was tasty. The slightly sweet cherry tomato sauce that hugs the pasta was the real kicker for me. Personally, I felt that the octopus and sweet peppers were all excellent role players in the bed of flavorful cherry tomato pasta. This was a beautifully balanced pasta dish.
The grilled branzino was prepared with olive oil, salt and lemon. What stands out with the grilled branzino is the freshness of the fish. The crispy exterior adds nice texture and the soft flaky inside is simple yet decadent.
The side dishes stand up well to the main dishes. The Brussels sprouts deliver deep nutty roasted flavors and aromas. The leaves are extra crispy and are lightly covered with balsamic vinegar. The Crispy Red Bliss Potatoes are to die for! They come basked in a balsamic reduction. These were almost like eating candied potatoes. The Haricots Verts also held their ground. Elements of citrus from lemons and even a nutty flavor was eminent as they come garnished with roasted almond slivers.
The Passion Fruit Donuts with Vanilla Bean Custard was sensational. The warmth from the freshly fried donut is so welcoming as you go in for a bite. The pillowy feel on your fingers as you grab the donut ups the ante. The donut is soft and doughy as you bite into it and the sugar on top adds a gritty texture to each bite. The inside of the donut is filled with sweet passion fruit custard. Sweetened condensed milk is served on the side for dunking if desired. This is THE dessert to order at Driftwood Room!