Thursday, July 31, 2008

Restaurant Review: Cita's Italian Chophouse, Coconut Grove

A few nights ago I met up with a few friends for dinner at Cita's Italian Chophouse which had just opened in the Grove recently. I had been wanting to give this new joint a try because I need a new place to add to my "just back in town dinner" rotation. We started with the burrata and the scallop appetizers. The burrata was good. Nothing to get excited about but good nonetheless. I thought it was lacking in the creamy department, like the piece we got was mostly the outside layer. Anyhow, the scallops kicked major ass. They came wrapped in prosciutto on top of some sauteed greens with a creamy mustard/red peppercorn sauce. The sauce was housed in a little cup so you could apply to your own taste and I liked that because I like to taste the scallop without sauce first. This scallop was perfectly cooked and tasted delicious on its own but the sauce took it to a whole 'nother level.

Next up 2 of us had the Soup of the Day (potato) and one requested the house salad. The soup was incredibly good. Normally when I think potato soup I think "heavy" but this was potato puree and it was light and tasty. Arugula and parmesan floated around and added flavor to each bite. I didnt try the salad but I was told it was really good. So good, that when the person who ordered the "house salad" found out it was the Cita's Chop Salad at $14 he said he'd get it again anyday.

Mains came out and each one was a winner. I had the grouper and my friends had the rack of lamb and salmon. The grouper was moist and flaky and full of flavor. The lemon caper sauce was a great add too as was the side of jasmine rice. Only disappointment for me was that I was so full that I had my membership to the Clean Plate Club temporarily suspended. I just couldnt finish the rice. I tasted the rack of lamb and it was damn good, especially with the roasted garlic. I was too full for the salmon but the person who had it was picky about salmon and said it passed the test.

Throughout the meal, the waiter was very informative and made recommendations when asked. At one point, there was a mixup with what was ordered and what was received and the waiter not only found a way to remedy the situation, he then offered to buy dessert. Dessert came like a "chocolate 5-ways". There was a chocolate lava cake, peanut butter panna cotta topped with chocolate shavings & whipped cream, chocolate cookies, chocolate ice cream, and a white/black chocolate mousse. I dont even like chocolate much but I tried everything but the cookie and it was allllllll gooooooood.

I gotta say, I went it expecting to have an average meal and was completely blown away. The menu is quite extensive, good wine selection, incredibly good service (just opened recently and still working out a few kinks but the staff was informative, speedy, and eager to please and remedy any mistakes), and the food was phenomenal. We got a tour after dinner that exposed a whole other mini-bar and back dining patio that I never wouldve imagined being there. It was really cool. This one will be a winner in the Grove, mark my words. They have what Grove yuppies and the like have been looking for - fantastic food in a neighborhood setting. The prices are slightly expensive but they are justified by the ingredients and quality of each dish. I definitely recommend checking out this restaurant to anyone looking for a nice meal in the Grove.


Cita's Italian Chophouse
3176 Commodore Plaza
Coconut Grove, FL 33133
305-446-2207

34 comments:

sara said...

You beat me to this one! Checking it out this weekend. Sounds good.

Blind Mind said...

Its damn good. If the weather is nice, definitely sit out back. Its like dining al fresco in someone's nice backyard.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you all Cita's is amzing. From the food the ambiance! will be back soon!

Anonymous said...

check out "ALL" their violations, on myflorida.com restaurant licenses. They even had mold on their food!!!

Anonymous said...

Licensee
Name: CITA'S ITALIAN CHOP HOUSE License Number: SEA2324075
Rank: Seating License Expiration Date: 10/01/2009
Primary Status: Current Secondary Status: Active
Location Address: 3176 COMMODORE PLAZA
MIAMI, FL 33133



Inspection Information
Inspection Type Inspection Date Result Critical Violations Non-Critical Violations
Routine - Food 09/04/2008 Follow-up Inspection Required
Violations require further review, but are not an immediate threat to the public.
More information about inspections.
11 1
Violations:
A summary of the violations found during the inspection are listed below. The department cites violations of Florida's sanitation and safety laws, which are based on the standards of U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Food Code. In general, critical violations are those that, if not corrected, are more likely to contribute directly to food contamination, illness or environmental damage. Although we use the industry-standard term "critical", varying degrees of severity and potential risk to the public require inspectors to assess each situation in determining the appropriate action. In addition, while an establishment may have multiple violations, the inspectors' training and judgment formulate the overall result of the inspection to ensure the public health and safety. While most establishments correct all violations in a timely manner (often during the inspection), the division's procedures are designed to compel compliance with all violations through follow-up visits, administration action or closure when necessary.
Violation Observation
01B-25-1 Critical. Observed food with mold-like growth.strawberries. Corrected On Site.
02-17-1 Critical. Establishment not maintaining shellstock tags for 90 days. This violation must be corrected by : 11/04/2008.
03A-07-1 Critical. Observed potentially hazardous food cold held at greater than 41 degrees Fahrenheit.
04-01-1 Critical. Cold holding equipment incapable of maintaining potentially hazardous food at proper temperatures. This violation must be corrected by : 9/5/2008.
06-05-1 Critical. Observed potentially hazardous food thawed in standing water. Corrected On Site.
08A-28-1 Critical. Observed food stored on floor.
12A-17-1 Critical. Observed employee improperly washing hands.
32-15-1 Critical. No handwashing sign provided at a handsink used by food employees.
32-17-1 Critical. Handwashing cleanser lacking at handwashing lavatory.
40-01-1 No suitable facilities provided to store employee clothing and other possessions.
41A-08-1 Critical. Observed toxic item stored by utensils. Corrected On Site.
53B-08-1 Critical. No proof of required employee training provided. All public food service establishments must provide the division with proof of employee training upon request, including, but not limited to, at the time of any division inspection of the establishment. Pro This violation must be corrected by : 11/4/2008.

Blind Mind said...

Those violations are nothing out of the ordinary in South Florida. Most were corrected on site and its not like a restaurant is gonna serve someone strawberries w/ mold on them. Ive had a number of meals there and have yet to get sick. In fact, each meal was very good. Im sure they will correct their practices moving forward.

If these reports really scare you that much, there is a good chance youll be eating at home a lot because you will not find a restaurant in SoFL that is perfect.

Antonio Bachour said...

I was the Pastry Consulting at Cita's and believe me that Kitchen is one of the best kitchen in Miami. Is very Clean, everything is fresh and from scrath. There are limited space for storage and they make everything fresh daily. The food is amazing!!!!!!!!!!!

Antonio Bachour said...

All the restaurant in Miami, New York and anywhere always they have those violations, Most were corrected inmediatly. You can go and review all the restaurant in Miami and they have violations, thats mean minor violations. Believe me you can eat in the floor of the kitchen everything is clean and impecable.

Anonymous said...

apparently some people do not know how to appreciate great high end dining! this place cita's has to be my favorite place to spend the night at! not only is the ambiance wonderful but also the food is beyond amazing! i have been there since they have opened about 15 times, and honestly i enjoy dining at citas because more than anything it is an expierence!! as soon as you walk in to cita's its a welcoming feeling! for anyone who has not tried it they should!! you would be missing out if you dont!

carlo said...

hi, I’m carlo macaluso ex executive chef from cita’s italian chop house;
I want just say to the client that are already been in cita’s ; that I’ m no longer in there because many problems with the property.
I want to thanks every body to appreciate my food and andestanding my english

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info Carlo. Last time, I thought my bad experience was due to the downsizing of service staff. No wonder, things have drastically changed. Adios and good luck Cita's.

Anonymous said...

I went last Friday and the service and food was mediocre as well.
I have been there since they opened and I can tell that is no the same restaurant, everything is diferent(the food, services and employees actitud).

Anonymous said...

i wanna just said i`ll never go back in that place.
the place is a total disaster from the food to the manager if we can call like that
i never saw unprofesional waiter and manager .Rudness and attitude but on top of knoledge nothing a Total i suggest to spend the money they want for dining in a really nice and welcome restaurant.And thank god there are a lot in the grove

giusoma said...

i want just agree with this anonymous
It`s TRUE this place is not longer good as it was i been maybe one of the first and i brought over there a lot of friend and family.
But after multiple complain about the food and specially the service
it never been good but now i dont see anymore the waiter used to working there like Francoise or Ragied i don`t see animore the chef coming out from the kitchen (somebody told me he been fired because of money)and even his brother that guy!!!!
make me smiling all the time and take care of me like was a prince ,that `s why we used to go there because is small but was very friendly and more important that hell of a Chef i can t believe i thought that that guy was the best in Miami how came i get in there and how came the owner didn`t see in his hands the shining diamant
Now where i can go in the Grove to eat a nice ,good italian cuisine
it`s a shame weall thought that finally in the grove there is an Fine Italian Restaurant,but in reality this is an other Cefalo`s.
So my dear grove people we need to wait untill somebody serius open a new one because i dubt that cita`s can returned like 2 mounts ago

Blind Mind said...

Wow, there have certainly been a lot of comments that I apparently missed on here.

Thank you, Carlo, for posting your comment. It seems that many have agreed that the quality of food and service have gone down at Cita's. While most of these comments are "anonymous" so we dont know if its multiple people or the same person, I have to admit that my last 2 visits there were not as great as the first 4. The food was not prepared correctly (undercooked risotto, overcooked tuna and steak) or arrived cold. The service has always been good on my visits though.

It looks like Cita's will have to get its act together in order to survive, especially with the way Grove patrons can be picky. Best of luck to them.

Anonymous said...

the worst.... the food was poor to fair at best... service was poor with big attitudes.....way way way overpriced........... would not even think about going back.........

Anonymous said...

the worst.... the food was poor to fair at best... service was poor with big attitudes.....way way way overpriced........... would not even think about going back.........

Melissa said...

I went to citas on friday,they tweaked their menu. lowerd their prices so much. The food is still amazing its just not a ace where you can just go for a special ocassion amore because the prices are great. Our server was a man by the name Sylvio, very funny guy. He made us feel very special,even while he had plenty of tables. I recommend that you go if you have not gone yet,and if yu have gone in the past i say you give it another try! It was amazing! Its what the grove was missing!

Melissa said...

I went to citas on friday,they tweaked their menu. lowerd their prices so much. The food is still amazing! Its just not a place where you can go for a special ocassion anymore because the prices are great. Our server was a man by the name Sylvio, very funny guy. He made us feel very special,even while he had plenty of tables. I recommend that you go if you have not gone yet,and if you have gone in the past I say you give it another try! It was amazing! Its what the grove was missing!

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