Saturday, September 20, 2008

Christy's Restaurant

I was really excited to go to Christy's this week. Number one, I hadn't been there in many years. Number two, it's still Miami Spice month. Number three, it's nice to get into Coral Gables every now and again. This iconic Coral Gables steakhouse is going to celebrate it's 30th birthday next month in October.

Upon seeing Christy's from the street, I was jogged by memories of years past, and pleased to see the familiar sign with the Christy's logo had survived. As you enter the foyer, you are ensconced with dark masculine colors and brass fixtures that take you back to the elegant 70's. I felt like I had been transported to one of the great reading rooms of Europe. Christy's gave me the feeling it had not been updated in many years.

Christy's Miami Spice menu offered your choice of appetizer: Soup of the day, Caesar Salad, and Fresh Corvina Ceviche. We were only interested in the "World Famous" Caesar Salad and the ceviche. The salad was excellent, anchovies were on the side, and the dressing was great. The only thing missing was a table-side preparation. The ceviche was likewise excellent. The corvina was presented in a small martini glass diced up with red pepper and onion in a lemon juice. I wasn't sure if an old school restaurant could pull off a great ceviche, they proved me wrong. So far so good. Our service was excellent, the gentleman who served us seemed as if he had been there for all of the 30 years Christy's has been open.

The main course was a choice of: 8oz Filet Mignon, topped with gorgonzola butter, with shallot mashed potatoes and fresh asparagus with a red wine sauce, Herb Crusted Seabass, with a baked potato, fresh vegetables and horseradish cream sauce, or Chicken Porcini sautéed in a brandy sauce with porcini mushrooms, served with a baked potato and fresh vegetables. Cristy's is one of the few restaurants to offer a filet on the Miami Spice menu so that was the unanimous choice. We were allowed to substitute a baked potato for the mash, which was a nice allowance, most Spice menu's are not flexible.

The steaks came out cooked correctly, but the quality of the meat was fair at best. I was terribly disappointed in my filet and began rethinking that decision. Christy's is first and foremost known as a steakhouse and they did not deliver this fateful night. The baked potato was great and the fresh chives and sour cream made a nice presentation. The asparagus were likewise cooked al dente and perfect.

For desert, they offered a choice of homemade Key Lime Pie, or Caramel Flan. The pie was very good, a bit on the tart side for my taste. The flan was the better choice. Firm, creamy and smooth, just as you would expect from a Miami restaurant.

It was almost all there. I was ready to give Christy's a glowing review, but alas, I cannot. The service, the appetizer and the desert were magnificent. But the steak took them down. I am not sure who supplies their meat, but I am confident I could have prepared a better filet on my own grill. They could also use a face lift and update their decor. Perhaps we can revisit this in the future, but there is no excuse for such a poor quality of meat to be served in a place with the reputation of Christy's.

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