Mayfair Kitchen Review: Exquisite Bites in the Heart of the Grove
Photos By Jason Hesch
Remember the Grove? The hippest spot back in the 90’s? Well, there is a reason to come back to this most elegant, chic, and cozy bohemian village enclave. I fondly remember walking down Grand Avenue on a Friday night with friends, the excitement in the air was palpable. The streets were crowded with people, music, and laughter spilling out from various venues, such as the Tu Tu Tango, the courtyard of CocoWalk, the bar of Fat Tuesdays, and so many other places. At the heart of it all is the Mayfair Kitchen, where I had the pleasure of dining. This new restaurant, which opened on the first of this year, is the latest flagship restaurant representing the historic Mayfair hotel. Executive Chef Ted Mendez heads the kitchen, bringing with him experience from a myriad of prestigious locations, such as the Grove Isle and Barton G restaurant (I also highly recommend visiting Barton G). Being the winner of the “Top Chef of the Grove”, award in 2016, I expected nothing but the best.
His healthy-minded philosophy is locally focused, with fresh garden ingredients, locally caught seafood, and naturally raised meats/poultry. Chef Mendez uses his central wood burning grill and globally artisan flair to produce inventive small plates and entrées. Take note of the vegetarian items on the menu indicated by a homely half avocado icon. I ordered several.
Entering the restaurant my companion and I opted for the outdoor seating in their indoor courtyard. If you like quieter and more secluded spaces this is the spot. It has that outdoor feel while still being sheltered from the actual weather. The bubbling of the water fountain completes the scene and delightfully replaces any loud music you may find elsewhere.
The main event:
To begin our meal I ordered the Beets and Coconut Crudo to start. One can never go wrong with beets, thanks to the recommendation from our server. The sweet burgundy Beets were large, juicy, and cut into quarter pieces. Decorating the beets in their supporting roles were grapefruit, cherry tomato, with a sprinkling of goat cheese, mixed spring greens, mint dill, frisée, and sliced onion. The Crudo ingredients were chopped and diced and finely mixed together into the shape of a cylinder tower. With a lime sauce and jalapeño bits adding a kick, this fancy coleslaw-like dish is great for that summertime feel. The crown of this dish was a round fried tortilla topped with avocado, frisée, and cilantro as the jewels.
Complements of the chef, we tried their smoked fish dip. The dip came with a side of pickled onions and sliced pickles to complement the smoky chunky fish. To spread the concoction we were given huge, crispy, and generously salted Napoli-style bread that was cooked in their wood oven.
Our next course included the Cauliflower. This came in a piping hot cast iron skillet with gratin pudding consistency and was seasoned with melted leeks, Parmesan cheese, and truffle. The sauce tasted smooth and cheesy while letting the cauliflower shine through. The other dish was the Tostada. The bottom of this salad was a lime and black bean base mixed with cotija cheese and grilled corn. It was also topped with thinly sliced romaine lettuce, onions, grilled red peppers, cherry tomatoes, and radish. On top of that was a generous sprinkling of shoestring tortillas strips.
Our main course was the Yellowtail. This grilled hunk of fish was cut thick like a 16-oz steak with all the grill markings one expects, tail included. The salsa verde included green peas, toasted pepitas, and sliced asparagus. On top were sliced red onions, cherry tomatoes, frisée, cilantro, and avocado. The meaty fish was beyond savory with a smoky, peppery flavor.
We ended our meal with the largest glass of Chocolate Godiva Tiramisu I have ever seen. The tiramisu was topped with a heaping scoop of chocolate ice cream, an equally sized dollop of whipped cream and flanked on both sides with two large Godiva chocolate square chunks and planted as a signature flag, a tall ladyfinger. A very decadent dessert made for sharing that we thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend.
Mayfair Kitchen is located at 3000 Florida Ave., at the corner of Virginia Street. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner Sunday through Saturday from 6:00am – 11:00pm.
Reservations are accepted by calling 305-779-5100 or making one through their site on OpenTable.