* Click here for rating key
Juvia Restaurant Review: This indoor/outdoor penthouse restaurant’s design is by Venezuelan architect/interior designer Alejandro Barrios-Carrero, with lush “vertical gardens” by French botanist Patrick Blanc. Indeed, the water and city views, especially from the outdoor patio, showcase SoBe at its most glamorous. The pedigrees of Juvia’s co-executive chefs Laurent Cantineaux (French-born, Daniel Boulud-trained) and Sunny Oh (ex-Nobu Miami Beach) and other kitchen honchos raise hopes of food that’s also dazzling, and often it is, especially if diners concentrate on composed cold seafood small plates plus raw bar items, the latter available with a choice of beautifully balanced sauces. Small plate highlights include a hamachi espuma crudo, delicate yellowtail petals topped with a foam that’s both citrusy and satisfyingly creamy; the Nobu-esque Oyster Chino, slightly seared with sizzling oil, garnished with black bean/chile sauce, and topped with crispy shallots; butter-poached king crab nigiri with mustard vinaigrette and a bit of osetra caviar --- extravagant but worth it. Entrées and other cooked dishes are more inconsistent, a few mouthwatering, like short rib dumplings with parsnip purée, but many hearkening back to last-century ideas of Caribbean/Asian fusion food (Chilean sea bass wrapped in cloyingly maple-glazed eggplant; an overwrought sautéed foie gras with pineapple/mango chutney, grapes and nuts), or are okay but unexceptional. The wine list, while not among Miami’s most extensive, is carefully chosen to pair well with the food. But it’s trendy cocktails that rule. As for desserts, chocoholics will appreciate the gold leaf-decorated “candy bar.” Juvia’s main minus: Service, sometimes accommodating, other times not informed in regard to food and drink.