February 3, 2013
REVIEW: BLOOM WYNWOOD Up To Bat
Bloom Wynwood has sprouted in the flourishing Midtown Miami district, flavoring the area with thoughtful Latin-Asian fusion cuisine and clever cocktails with a fresh focus. Inside, a white wash of tables and chairs is punctuated with a vibrant palate of accent pillows and splotched cavases. The breezy outdoor patio with its own bar is the best way to enjoy a colorful happy hour.
My bright purple Tequila Beets cocktail was the best sip I've had for some time now. A sweet nose and a mellow finish was the result of a masterful mix of smooth tequila, roasted beet juice, whiskey-barrel bitters, and light lace of chamomile syrup. A worthy bargain at $11 to boot. I wish my conviction could flow to the food, but not wholly so. The tally was split, hit or miss. If it was a hit, it was a grand slam. If a miss, the loss was a strong sucker punch to the gut.
We ordered the two "tamales" offered, neither of which was actually a tamal - a Latin staple marked by a plush but firm cornmeal-encased filling, wrapped and steamed. For the Braised Oxtail, the white cornmeal smushed with "thai coconut" rice was a flavorless formless bed of mush for well-cooked but not stupendous shreds of oxtail, strewn oddly on top, instead of within. The Shitake Enchilada variety was even more perplexing with a fake flavor profile my guest likened to an old, hard candy bar. The nut and nato "cheese" sauce added a weird overly saccharine caramel burnt undertone to the vegan pumpkin "tamal" block, which again, was topped (not filled) with wide mushroom caps. A stomach ache waiting to happen.
|Crab Huancaina Arepa|
Also the Crab Huancaina "arepa" was noone's arepa - not Columbian, not Venezuelan, not good. The corn arepa patties were dry, mealy and bland. The crab meat salad was over-mayonaissed and the eel sauce, which would have a been an appreciated bbq-esque balance, was but a stain of undetectable dressing.
The Salmon Tiradito was probably the only middle ground: fresh and simple topped with tomatillo salsa and crunchy Peruvian-style choclo corn. Non-descript, not offensive. Not a deal-maker, nor a deal-breaker.
Conceptually, the Shaken Octopus wins the presentation prize as a mason jar of firmly cooked pieces in a vinegary pool of yuzu sake, floating juicy, sweet orange wedges and seaweed. Packed with ice and literally shaken table-side for a chill before served, it was a memorable medley on the rocks, indeed.
The one item to which I give whole-hearted praise was the Tuna Yuke Seaweed 'Tacos' dish. Ironically, the seaweed pieces serving as the build-your-own-taco wrapping were superfluously unnecessary. The tuna tartar cubes were bathed in a soy-like saucy crescendo simultaneously smoky, salty, molasses-y and bright. The depth of flavor proudly pleaded insanity, even without the seaweed schtick. I'd happily go crazy for it again and again.
But is that, and the conceptual prowess, enough to pitch me back to Bloom? That's ball I'd toss up, take a swing, and hit - or miss.
2751 N Miami Ave
Miami, FL 33127
All photos by Rebecca Kritzer