"Wine and Dine in Amusing Design"
Written by South Beach Annie
When driving down West Avenue, just a couple of blocks from Lincoln Road, the unsuspecting driver might just miss one of South Beach’s most enticing experiences. Barton G. restaurant is a happening within itself. Upon entering the garden gates a visitor is welcomed by fresh, smiling faces eager to introduce a newcomer into a habitat of their own creation. Everyone who works at the restaurant is an integral part of the plan, creating an ambiance of fine dining, creativity, and fabulousness.
My friend and I walked in with the same sense of adventure children have going in to an amusement park. The lighting, flowers, cushioned tabletops, and pillowed seating are all geared for comfort and relaxation. Each drink and meal is presented with such artistry the whole room gapes with admiration as the staff carries it by. Everyone in the room is having a great time. It is filled with a contagious energy of absolute glee feasting, not just with the eyes but with the palate as well.
We started our evening by ordering a couple of Below Zero Drinks, which include liquid nitrogen at a temperature of negative 320 degrees Fahrenheit. I chose the Hidden Dragon, a must for a dragon collector. It was presented with a foot-tall dragon sculpture. The drink contained Charbay Pomegranate Vodka, muddled maraschino cherries, lime, orange, and basil leaves with cranberry juice and a popsicle made of Charbay Pomegranate Vodka. It was a smoking nitrogen like the drinks from The Addams Family show back in the ‘60s. My friend had the Nitro-jito, a nitrogen temperature Mojito presented in a cigar box with a Nitrogenized Ron Zacapa 23-year old rum Pop. Drinking them was an explosive experience, to say the least! The chef, Joseph Parsons, selected to have us start our meal with his Coconut Crusted Voodoo Shrimp. The shrimp is stuffed with crabmeat and seaweed salad, and then impaled on sticks over a glass cauldron of smoking charred pineapple mango chutney. We scooped the chutney with a couple of plantain chips and dipped the shrimp in it as well. We also sampled the day’s special appetizer, a Carpaccio of Kobe beef that was light as a feather. It was served with crackers and pickled vegetables. Then to refresh our palates before the main dishes we shared the Spinach Square salad with roasted beet carpaccio, goat cheese, toasted pistachios, fried onions, and brown butter vinaigrette. For our main course we had Parson’s signature G Mac & Cheese made with five cheeses including white cheddar, Vermont yellow, Velveeta, parmesan, and boursin cheeses as a side. Then my original Barton G. craving of Good Ol’ outhern Fried Chicken with creamed corn and mashed potatoes was a must have for me. But my friend’s favorite was the Twisted Lamb Tagine, lamb chops served over greens, figs, flat bread, Tabouli, and cucumber raita. It was the most tender lamb I’ve ever tasted!
To finish our meal I had to have the Big Top Cotton Candy served with three containers of popcorn topped with caramel, dark and white chocolate, and chocolate covered pretzels. My chocolate-loving friend enjoyed the Chocolate Grand Canyon, a cake with rivers of fudge, raspberries, and crushed butterfingers. So many eyes were glued to our table’s display, a lady sitting at the table next to us asked me if I was embarrassed. “Oh, no! Not in the slightest!” I was enjoying every second with our onlookers. As a result of our enjoyment, many other tables had the same desserts served to them.
To sum up the experience of dining at Barton G., General Manager Stephane Hainaut says it best, “Guests arrive with great expectations and we deliver!” – DUO