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Miami Spice 2015 | La Mar by Gaston Acurio

I always look forward to the months of August and September for Miami Spice when many of South Florida's restaurants offered discounted 3 course lunches ($23) and dinners ($39). It is truly a foodie's delight. This year, my first experience was at La Mar, which was one of the featured restaurants on The New Times' 10 Best Miami Spice Lunches article. La Mar is located inside the beautiful Mandarin Oriental on Brickell Key and boasts a beautiful view of Biscayne Bay with seating available outside on their patio or indoors.

On the Miami Spice Menu: There is a very limited selection.

Appetizer: They offer one appetizer, two entrees and one dessert. However, the appetizer selection is actually composed of three different dishes. The Criollo Sampler consists of (1) cebiche chifa with salmon, peanuts, ginger, wonton strips, cilantro, pickled vegetables, and sesame leche de tigre, (2) causa salad with beets, artichokes, peruvian asparagus, piquillo peppers and avocado over a yellow potato causa, and (3) jaleita de calamar with crispy calamari, rocoto pepper cebiche sauce and chalaca. They were all very good but my favorite was the cebiche chifa.

Entrée: Your choice of Arroz Noteno (seafood rice with huancaina sauce and criolla sauce) or Salmon Fusion (salmon, bok choy, kale, broccolini, peruvian pepper curry, coconut milk, white rice chaufa). I chose the Arroz Norento and wasn't very happy with it. The rice was slightly overcooked and the "seafood" consisted of a few calamari rings.

Dessert: Peruvian Chocolate Mousse; chocolate mousse with caramelized quinoa and lucuma bomb with a scoop of passion fruit sorbet. This was delicious! The caramelized quinoa added a delightful crunch and the passion fruit sorbet may a wonderfully cool combination with the mousse.

Summary: Very nice deal for $23. Get the salmon entrée, though.

Arroz Norento