Sra. Martinez--Restaurant Review

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Jorge Anaya-Lopez (General Manager) with Christine at front entrance

So after our Happy Hour drinks at Mai Tardi (Design District), our entourage of four hungry women scouted restaurants in between boutique shops and art galleries. One block away, we spotted a corner restaurant housed in a historic post office building (the sculpted Eagle sitting atop was a clue) dating to the 1920's with a healthy crowd dining alfresco on the portico. We soon discovered Sra. Martinez ("Sra" is an abbreviated title to address a married woman "Señora"), a tapas style restaurant.

The General Manager stood outside at the main entrance, welcoming guests and scanning the service. High praise came from Jorge Anaya-Lopez, the GM, for my outfit. Charming!

After an afternoon rain deluge, the sky cleared and the temperature was just perfect so we opted to dine outdoors.

In eyeing the menu, Chef Michelle Bernstein creates modern and innovative cuisine of international flavors in tapas style portions.

The menu begins with a traditional cheese selection of Spanish manchego, blue cheese and other varieties. The price was an astonishing $3 but we learned it's only a dollop of cheese. However in checking the restaurant online, the cheese samplings are not listed (it's not the end of the world, but a pet peeve of mine when I want to remember what I ordered and refer the website to friends). The cheeses were presented on a wooden cutting board along with the plate of ham and sausage (Chorizo).

For our first round we chose at least three cheeses (Manchego -aged one year sheep cheese; Cana de cabra (goat); and Valdeon cheese which is a blend of cow/sheep/goat) the chorizo, serrano ham and fig marmalade. The combination of all three was a utopian blend. But we soon discovered the Fig Marmalade was the secret ingredient that elevated the entire experience! We each dipped into the tiny porcelain square dish and pretty soon I envisioned us thumb wrestling for the precious amount that remained. Shockingly the manager shared the recipe for the fig marmalade. Take notes: fig jam, sherry and sherry vinegar.

Of course you can't have Spanish cheeses without wine. The wine list is well curated and entirely Spanish. Every one ordered their preferred red or white. I faithfully chose a red wine which of course I can never remember the next day. Prices for a glass were a little steep, compared to the tapas menu--starting at $11 a glass. However, it was worth it as the palate delighted in the aged cheese chased by red tannins.

Next we ordered a few tapas plates including Bacon Wrapped Dates, Roasted Japanese Eggplant, and "Galbi Pinchos" (Korean style marinated short ribs with a green tomato slaw). I love bacon wrapped dates in general, except I would have stuffed it with a blue cheese for that extra something. Nonetheless it was scrumptious. We all agreed the eggplant with melted cheese on top was delicious, but compared to the next item, it wasn't quite as memorable. Unanimously we agreed the short ribs were the best tasting--tender, succulent with an exotic marinate. In the end we kept referring back to the Fig Marmalade! The three ounce porcelain dish empty, I wondered if it was a figment of my imagination.

The menu lists other adventurous dishes including "Rabo Encendido" which literally translated means "burnt butt". A meat dish I'm guessing. Then there's Roasted Bone Marrow with barbecue eel. Too daring for me. A meat lover (which I rarely eat) the Big Ass Pork Chop caught my attention. That would be my reward for losing weight!

Jorge approached our table to ensure everything was satisfactory. I boldly asked him for the ingredients of the Fig Marmalade and without hesitation he rambled them off. Unfortunately good food and wine help me sleep away those finer details.

I highly recommend this restaurant, also I'm a big fan of tapas-style dishes for portion control (have to watch my figure) and for sharing! Sra. Martinez is located in the Design District which is another plus. Parking is only $2.00 at the meter from 6pm-midnight or you can valet for $3.00 plus tip.

The Design District is now my new favorite area to dine. I'm looking forward to discovering other new restaurants in this trendy neighborhood where there's delicious dining, an attractive crowd, and reasonable prices including parking, amid design and decor stores that is unique to Miami!


4000 NE 2nd Avenue
Miami, Florida 33137

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