In the restaurant biz, success has been said to be tied to location, location, location. Well, you have to serve good food, too. Miles from the trendy side of east Delray Beach, owner Joey Lograsso and chef Jason Binder have curated a balanced choreography of fascinating yet approachable dishes that are on par with award-wining Miami restaurants. For those living west of I-95 who crave exceptional food without having to drive too far in another direction, MIA Kitchen (pronounced Mia, not M.I.A. like the airport acronym) is a gold mine.
Binder, a Culinary Institute of America grad who previously was the chef de cuisine at Brulé Bistro, created a menu that travels the world from Italy to Asia and showcases his formal training with elevated dishes that are exceptionally executed, which makes it extremely difficult to decide what to order. The service is also comparable. Our waiter was kind and attentive, making us feel at ease and welcomed.
Once you order, sit back and relax. MIA Kitchen is vibey, with a great playlist. The design, reminiscent of a cool Wynwood bar, is industrial with exposed ducts, reclaimed wood and sculptural filament chandeliers. It’s a place that amps up all your senses. If you want something a bit quieter, opt for the outdoor covered patio, especially now during our glorious Florida winter months.
Artichokes are hit or miss for me. When the Fire Roasted Artichokes ($17) arrived, they resembled a piece of art—two beautiful flowers on display. The charred artichokes with a delightful fire essence are topped with breadcrumbs, Parmesan and lemon zest aioli. Soft and delicate, they were a far cry from the tough and stringy or mushy preparations I’ve had. I love a good crunch, and the fried capers, breadcrumbs, celery leaf and raw red onions that bedecked the Filet Mignon Carpaccio ($22) added a wonderful texture to the paper-thin meat. It didn’t really need the truffle aioli and perfectly cooked sunny side egg, but I also wasn’t mad at the toppings.
A family recipe, the Branzino Evon ($38) made my soul sing. I love ginger and cilantro, and this steamed fish, prepared in a Cantonese style, was bursting with both. The tender skin-on filet sits over fluffy rice that effortlessly soaks up the fish soy, creating an explosion of flavor in every bite. While the menu states that the Wild Shrimp Pasta ($37) is prepared in a cream sauce, it wasn’t soaked in it (which I appreciate), and the sherry elevated it completely. A hearty portion of perfectly al dente linguini, the dish is completed with peas and shallots that give it a slight crunch and lightly grilled jumbo shrimp.
If possible, save room for dessert. Our sweet conclusion to the evening was the S’mores Crème Brûlée ($12), which was a silky chocolate mousse with the caramelized top. It’s a must try for chocoholics.
IF YOU GO…
7901 W. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach; 561/499-2200
PARKING: Parking lot
HOURS: Tuesday-Sunday, 5-10 p.m.