Friday, August 8, 2008

Five (5) Stars ***** for Chef Allen

Over the years many fine dining establishments have come and gone in South Florida. There is one standout among the rest - Chef Allen's. Chef Allen a/k/a Allen Susser is usually seen greeting tables and is easily identified by his trademark beard and traditional white chefs smock. He was influenced by the culture, local cuisine, and tropical environment here in South Florida. His dishes are eclectic and infuse his favorite ingredient, mango, with other carribean spices, fruits and vegetables. He has been in business since 1986 at the same location in Aventura.

Fast forward to the Miami Spice restaurant promotion showcasing the very best of Miami cuisine. Chef Allen was an original sponsor of this program opening his doors to thousands that would otherwise likely not experience his kitchen. Luckily for you, he still is an avid sponsor of the Miami Spice program and a three course dinner can be had for a mere $36. Chef Allen also offers a three wine pairing for $25. The only other cocktail you should consider is his famous "mango-tini", outstanding and also quite pricey at $16 each. It must be tried at least once.

His service and help is nothing short of exceptional. From the Maitre 'di who greeted us, to the busboy constantly refilling our water, to our server who was also superior. Opening was a complimentary tray of vegetables with a red pepper dip. Very tasty and a pleasant surprise.

Although the regular menu was available, who can pass up the Miami Spice menu? The appetizer choices were: Conch Mixto Ceviche, Wild Florida Shrimp and Grits, or a Roast Beet Salad. The ceviche was fresh and mouth watering good. The seafood tasted as if Chef Allen had caught it himself that afternoon. The shrimp and grits were tasty and the grits were cooked in a seafood base that blended well. The beets were fresh and served with feta cheese. All were great, but the ceviche was the winner. In between the appetizer and the main course a complimentary watermelon sorbet was served to cleanse your palate.

The main course was a choice of a Wood Grilled Skirt Steak, Pan Roasted Mahi Mahi, or Smoked Paprika Grilled Bell and Evans Chicken Breast. The Skirt Steak was cooked to perfection with green beans on the side, and the Mahi was equally exceptional with a side of bok choy. The flavors in the sauces that Chef Allen uses seem to dance in your mouth once you take a bite of his creation. The fusion of the ingredients are second to none.

The deserts were choice of: mango cheesecake, mango cobbler, or mint chocolate shell with vanilla ice cream. They were all delicious.

Chef Allen's is the dining experience we all look for and very rarely get. The fact that he is on the Miami Spice list simply begs your call. This is the "Best restaurant in South Florida". Whether you take advantage of the Miami Spice menu or not, make sure you stop by Chef Allen's. Reservations are recommended, located in NE Miami-Dade at 19088 NE 29th Avenue, Aventura, FL 33180. Phone: (305) 935-2900.

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