Ariete is a contemporary American restaurant with an indoor/outdoor space. It had a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere with a good looking bar, stone floors and a lot of warm wood.
Partners Michael Beltran, formally the sous chef at Cypress Tavern and Jason Odio, owner of the popular Brickell watering hole, Side Bar, are running the show. Even on a Tuesday night, off-season, the place was jammed packed, and lively. You want to know why? Because the food is good! They showcase local ingredients, with a homemade seasonal menu and build it around the restaurants wood grill. The cuisine is innovative, new American, with eighty seats. There were a lot of hits for us, but the one standout dish was the foie gras. The sauce had the right balance with a sour orange vinegar, caramel, ember roasted plantains and cocoa nibs. This dish was amazing and worth every calorie. The arugula salad with goat cheese and fresh peaches was nice and light, and the burrata with heirloom tomatoes was good. The bone marrow with grilled bread was another enjoyable dish.
Another signature dish was the tender short ribs in a smokey red pepper jus, with a side of shaved vegetable caesar. The 32oz porterhouse steak at the table next to ours looked awesome. I will put that on the back burner for my next visit. The wood-fired chicken in a salsa verde is another specialty and it was succulent and well-seasoned, well-portioned and well-cooked. The only disappointment was the grilled market fish which was a little too charred for my taste. The creamy potatoes aligot was reminiscent of a dish I had in Paris, where I could taste more butter and cream than potato. Not for the faint of heart or lactose intolerant.
They tell me that the menu rotates frequently but I need to come back to try the oysters in marrow butter and the venison tartar.
For dessert the pastry chef is a protege of Hedy Goldsmith. They have a new pie each and every day, and ours was chocolate that evening. We tried the cheesecake with seasonal fruit and graham crust, and it was just okay, and a deep chocolate cremeux concoction that faired better.
There is definitely a resurgence in building and development in Coconut Grove and Ariete is helping to lead the way for new restaurants. It is relaxed, and welcoming, with good service. The menu has several items that are very good and carefully and artfully-crafted. They just started to open for lunch as well. There is also a space in the basement for private events.
Ariete is located at 3540 Main Highway in Coconut Grove. #305-640-5862