I decided to give Alter another try this year as it has been going strong and it has been getting rave reviews. I once called Wynwood a seedy area, but I have seen huge changes this year. I actually love visiting Wynwood now. It is more of a cool hipster area with great restaurants, coffee houses, bars, art galleries and stores. Almost every square inch is covered with colourful street art. Wynwood is a destination in itself and worth a visit.
Alter is set in a former warehouse in Wynwood. Intimate, and very casual, it showcases locally sourced, seasonal ingredients in a creative way with globally influenced plates. Chef Brad Kilgore, formerly the chef at the St. Regis Miami is being hailed as a boy wonder in this new endeavour.
The menu at Alter reads like a gastronomic delight. Each dish has lots of components and are quite complex. I still say this is not a place for people who are strictly meat and potato eaters, it is not comfort food. It is more of a place for foodies. The food is beautiful and creative and quite artistic.
We opted for a chef’s tasting at $65 for five courses, two appetizers, two mains and a dessert, which is a relative bargain. It works out to $13 per course. Yes they are tiny portions but each dish is labour intensive and has good quality ingredients. I think for a first time here that is the way to go so you can sample some of Chefs Brad Kilgore’s cooking. But a la carte is also an option. The wine list was also quite reasonable. We enjoyed a bottle of Whispering Angel Rose that went well with our dinner. Please note the prices have not increased in the past year.
We started with a sea Bream appetizer followed by the chefs signature Soft Egg in a sea scallop infused cream, with truffle pearls and gruyere. We added the oscetra caviar for an additional $10, and were served a nice dollop of it. This dish is rich, silky and luscious. It is accompanied by a wonderful homemade bread of sumac and dill seed crust with umami butter that can be used for dipping in the velvety sauce. This is a great appetizer, but I wish it were served a little warmer.
For our main courses we had the Grouper Cheeks with shoyu hollandaise and sea lettuces on black rice. Although a lovely presentation I found the dish a little too salty and a little fishy. Next we had the glazed short rib in a red onion caramel sauce with garlic oil, and smoked peanuts on malted yogurt grits. This was a nice hearty main.
For dessert they offered a chocolate medley similar to El Cielo’s but it did not come close in taste or presentation, although our guests loved it.
The Miami Herald gave Alter 4 stars, bravo. For me it is not Miami’s “best“ restaurant. I give that honour this year to El Cielo. I find they are on another level then Alter. But this is still a great concept for Miami, and it is still a great bargain for the quality, service, innovation and effort.