The whole Miami club scene is great, but it is certainly not conducive to catching up with your best friend that you haven’t seen in a while. Of course, it is also not conducive to many other things either, such as; relationships, a sober productive lifestyle, maintaining good grades in college, and having your voice in the morning…but it’s fun and so we willingly sacrifice these things. But after showing Jen the whole South Beach spectacle on Friday night, I really just wanted to spend Saturday somewhere low-key where we could actually talk…without yelling over house music and getting elbowed by fist pumping DJ groupies!
I figured that Brickell would probably be the best spot to grab dinner and then drinks, since everything is within walking distance and knowing Jen’s love for seafood pasta, I decided to go the Italian route. Il Gabbianno is my favorite Italian restaurant in Brickell (and so far in Miami for that matter), but after all the shopping we did during the day, we decided to go for a slightly cheaper option (aka more money for drinks afterwards!). Perricone’s in Brickell is both a restaurant and an Italian market. It looks tiny from the front, but don’t be fooled because once you walk through the market, the entire back opens up to an enormous outdoor seating area. It is half enclosed, but the ceiling opens up for just the right amount of fresh air!
I love Perricones because it isn’t stuffy…it’s causal and delicious Italian for an affordable price. If you’re wondering why I only give it three stars then, allow me to explain. Perricone’s is good, and the atmosphere is nice, and the price is reasonable, but the food is very basic and uninspired and the red sauce is very inconsistent. I always enjoy my meal, but never really feel like it is exceptional. I do give Perricone’s three stars though because it is a pleasant dinning experience and they have the most incredible Baked Brie En Croute Appetizer, which is an entire wheel of brie baked in puff pastry with a warm apricot glaze and slivered almonds, served with fresh fruit and precious heart-shaped crackers. It is really fabulous and a must have for the table to share. Even when no one will share with me, I order it as an entrée for myself because it is the best thing that I have had there yet. Of course, this is very difficult to mess up, considering how easy it is to make (see my recipe if you want to try!), but it is still delicious and nice to have someone do the work for you. The heart shaped crackers are so cute too!
As expected, Jen ordered the Seafood Linguine in Fresh Scampi Sauce, with sautéed gulf shrimp, scallops, muscles, and calamarie for her entrée. The sauce was really nice and the seafood was generous, she loved it! I was just jealous because her dish came out piping hot, and my Chicken Parmesan with Penne Pomodoro was only luke-warm, at best. The temperature of my food is one thing that I am very, very fussy about (I hate food to go because it’s not hot enough, and I microwave my dishes to get them hot before putting food on them) so this was a problem for me. But they gladly took it back and warmed it up, in addition to taking it off the bill. I was glad they did too, because even after they made it hot, I still wasn’t thrilled with the dish. The piece of chicken was really thick, resembling a chicken breast more than a chicken cutlet. I tend to like my chicken parmesan pounded out real thin so that the bread crumbs flavor every bite. Also, the red sauce tasted kind of smoky. I’m not sure if it was burnt or if they used liquid smoke to flavor the sauce, but I wasn’t a fan.
When I go back to Perricone’s again, I am going to stick to the baked brie appetizer and order one of their salads as an entrée, which seemed to be a very popular trend there. Overall, I like Perricone’s but it’s not the place I would send someone wanting an amazing Italian meal. It’s definitely good (no Olive Garden for sure), but I am hard on it because a) I am Italian and b) there are so many other fabulous Italian restaurants in Miami to choose from. Although I have not done blog posts on all of them, I suggest (starting with my favorite): Il Gabbiano (Brickell), Scarpetta (Sobe), La Loggia (Downtown), Joeys (Wynwood), Prime Italian (Sobe), and I hear that Café Abbrachi (Coral Gables) is also fabulous and it is on my to-try list!