Back in the day, Coconut Grove was home to several tired chain restaurants and a few locally owned and operated bistros. In the last year, there has been a gourmet renaissance and the Grove has become a food mecca. One of the latest offerings is Glass & Vine, which opened in March.
The chef, Giorgio Rapicavoli, might be a familiar name—he was not only a Food Network “Chopped” champion but also a James Beard Award semifinalist. Most recently, he was at the inventive Eating House; before that, he was at 660 at The Angler’s.
Glass & Vine overlooks Peacock Park in the heart of Coconut Grove. The park is expansive, and Glass & Vine takes full advantage of the vista. Guests may dine either indoors or out, but the alfresco atmosphere and gentle breezes make the terrace a must. If you prefer an indoor ambience, check out the 24-seat bar with a view of the open kitchen where the chef works his magic.
The food is intelligent, the craft cocktail menu unusual and the service perfect. A well-trained staff makes for a great dining experience; it’s obvious the team enjoys its work and the options it offers patrons.
The bar scene was robust on the Monday night we visited—locals and visitors alike looked out on the park under the shadow of the Sonesta hotel across the street. It felt as if we were in a secret garden in the midst of the big city.
We started with a couple of cocktails: a Bay View Spritze #2 made with FOS Mastiha, citrus, mint and Prosecco, and a Gin Blossom made with gin, elderflower liquor and grapefruit. Both were fresh and light, and a perfect foil for a warm evening. Glass & Vine also offers a half-dozen Florida craft beers, as well as a unique wine list.
The 30-year-old chef has worked with chef de cuisine Adriana Egozcue for many years. Egozcue was a sous chef at Eating House and a line cook at 660 under Rapicavoli. On the night we dined, she had celebrated her 27th birthday two days before. The personable Egozcue shared many nuances of the menu and how it has evolved since the restaurant opened in March.
Dishes are meant to be shared, and the menu is divided into garden, sea and land. Rapicavoli changes the menu every few months to take advantage of local produce and seasonal changes.
We started our meal with a vegan dish: heirloom tomato salad. The tomatoes were served with rocoto leche de tigre, red onion and cilantro. The acidity of the citrus-based marinade was a perfect counter balance to the spice—the rocoto pepper—of the “tiger’s milk.”
We moved to the land portion of the menu and sampled the beef tartare. This dish is served with lettuce to use as a wrap for the beef, spiced with togarashi crumbs and an egg yolk. A standout dish from the sea menu was sea scallops served with cauliflower al dente, hazelnuts and brown butter. The scallops were perfectly cooked and the brown butter sauce was over-the-top good.
There was still room for another morsel of food so we revisited the land for a grilled lamb loin, medium rare, served with red miso, black garlic and cabbage. The black garlic is cooked for 24 hours to mellow and caramelize the flavor. The red miso made the lamb outstanding.
The nightcap was a spectacular buttermilk panna cotta with toasted hazelnuts. It was creamy, cool and complex. Paired with an after-dinner cortadito—a small Cuban espresso—it was the perfect finish to a great experience.
Glass & Vine is owned and operated by Grove Bay Hospitality Group, led by restaurateurs Francesco Balli and Ignacio Garcia-Menocal. Their plan is to transform Coconut Grove into a dining and retail locale with Glass & Vine as the starting point. The project, which entails a 50-year lease with the city of Miami for a 7-acre property along the water’s edge, will be called The Harbour. Next year, Grove Bay will introduce two additional restaurants to replace Chart House and Scotty’s Landing.
If Glass & Vine is any indication of what’s to come, I am ready.
Glass & Vine
2820 McFarlane Road, Coconut Grove