Okay...neMesis was one of the coolest dining experiences evah, so this is likely to be my longest blog post to date (plus I have tons of photos I want to share). You might want to grab a snack before you start reading.
Located in one of the less-nice areas of downtown Miami (but not bad enough to let fear deter us), NeMesis is owned and operated by former Top Chef contestant Micah Edelstein...who I must say was very friendly and accommodating, both when I called for reservations and when we met her at the restaurant. Oh...and her eclectic global comfort cuisine (for lack of a better description since I've never eaten anything like it) is amazing. I haz a new girl-crush.
I'll start with the interior, which had me at "hello". If it weren't for the bar and open kitchen, I might've thought we were in a modern art gallery. It's a very small bistro, but as I gazed around over the course of the meal I kept finding my eyes drawn to previously unnoticed (and charming) decor eye candy. It's also an incredibly warm space which never got too loud but had a nice, convivial buzz going on over the course of the evening.
Colorful, unique umbrellas added interest and cozied up the ceiling of the foyer:
Necktie sculpture, anyone?
Bar and open kitchen:
We had originally planned to each order off the menu, but we were informed of a $50 tasting meal option when we arrived and we jumped on it. We started with "Don't Get Emutionial"...which was house-made bison sausage topped with a fried emu egg, cherry tomatoes and a sundried tomato balsamic chutney. Behold the jade-green perfection of our emu egg...just before it met its sad end. You will never be forgotten, tasty emu chick that never was!
The finished product. The perfectly cooked emu egg lent a luxurious richness to the lean, flavorful bison sausage. It looked like a horde of locusts had descended upon this plate by the time we were done.
Next up...Tuscan Sushi (prosciutto with marscarpone, gorgonzola dolce and figs). I'll just say that it was every bit as amazing as it looks and sounds...what a combo! A "must order".
The Caramelized Shallot Foccacia with Hibiscus Marscarpone and Black Sea Salt was also enhaled by the four of us in embarrassingly short order. It almost reminded me of a deconstructed, upside-down French onion soup.
The Leek and Braised Fig Duck Potstickers with Guava Cardamom made me swoon. I could've easily eaten a separate order of these on my own. The lovely Debbie displays this fabulous offering while showcasing her equally fabu manicure.
A seemingly endless number of dishes continued to pour out of the kitchen. I feel like I should add that we were provided with individual small plates, but the items presented for tasting were served on one plate from which everyone served him/herself. If you get skeeved out by food sharing (I don't, but I know people who do), this option might not be for you.
Moving on, the juicy and tender Guava Chili Pork with Cheddar Spetzle, Apple Fennel Compote and Apple Cider Gastrique was a real crowd pleaser. We gave eight thumbs up to this upscale twist on a classic southern meal I grew up eating...pork chops, mac 'n' cheese and applesauce.
Kira Inspired Grilled Scallop with Tomato Saffron Sauce, Currants, Chorizo and Grilled Bread also ratcheted up everyone's heart rate. The sweetness of the huge, fresh scallops and the currants were a perfect foil to the spice of the chorizo. This offering was definitely one the favorites of the evening.
The Bison Steak with Huckleberry Dark Chili Sauce and Sage Squash Hash was an interesting taste combo but was universally voted by our table of four as the least favorite item of the evening. The bison was flavorful, but had a chewiness none of us were expecting...possibly the nature of the beast due to its inherent leanness (or maybe we neglected to carve it against the grain as we hastily fell upon it like vultures). But, trust me...something had to come in last in this decadent tasting overload and certainly no one actually disliked the bison.
Next up was the Special Steak Stack...Cowboy Ribeye with Duck Egg, Lamb Bacon and Micro-Greens. This perfectly grilled steak was presented already portioned into four servings for easy transfer to our individual plates. Lamb Bacon is my new drug and makes me want to put on stilletos and stomp on regular pork bacon. It is to pork bacon what aged Stilton is to Velveeta. I am ruined, now. Benton's, my former One True Love, will never be good enough again.
It was now finally time for dessert(s)...as IF anyone had any stomach space to spare at this point. The Warm Malva Pudding, a South African dessert, was outstanding and something none of us had ever had the opportunity to try. It was a simple, dense apricot cake with nice chewy edges served with a sweet and creamy booze-laced sauce. It reminded me a little of bread pudding, which is one of my favorite desserts. What's not to love?
The Willy Wonka showed up next. By this point, I was seriously feeling the effects of my three glasses of Sauvignon Blanc...but I will never forget this rich, silken trio of creamy, house-made chocolate barks studded with everything from nuts, to currants, to sesame seeds and coconut. Amazing.
We were told that we had one more dessert coming, but begged for mercy. It would've been impossible to shoehorn anything else down at this point (three hours after our arrival).
I had to hit the restroom on the way out and could've spent all night in there perusing the walls (and this is the only spoiler I'm going to divulge...you'll have to visit personally if you want read further). I'll admit to being one of the few woman who occasionally WILL throw around the most estrogen-loathed word on the planet (yes, I'm talkin' the "C" word)...so I got a kick out of seeing this quote from the 2000 movie "Snatch" on the bathroom wall.
The chef came out to pose with Underdog the birfday boy, along with her daughter who adds a charming element to the venue with her sweet, waif-like presence. And, yes...UD had a spot on his shirt for this illustrious photo op. Ugh.
What a fabulous meal! The bill was around $350 for four, which included two nice bottles of red wine and three $10 glasses of Sauvignon Blanc. I have to admit, I initially feared we might experience a more off-the-wall and uber-contrived foodfest than the wonder of what actually materialized. This young chef is a force to be reckoned with and our dinner was one that we will be talking about for years to come. Truly a feast for the senses!