Posted March 22, 2015
By ALEXANDRA KLUMPP
Confused by where my GPS was taking us, Moyé looks like it’s being pushed into hiding in a corner between a large Chase Bank and a Bikram Yoga studio. Once spotted, however, the large glass windows making up the front of the restaurant caught my attention.
Upon opening the door and walking up a few stairs, I was immediately digging the look of the restaurant: all white everything from the walls to the tables, with green lamps hanging from the ceiling, green glasses on the tables and wine bottles on the wall as subtle accents. The windows overlook a busy Brickell street and Metrorail. All of this comes together to give the restaurant a modern, yet cozy, feel.
We were automatically greeted and seated upon our arrival. The waitress was lovely — probably the best part. She was full of recommendations and knew the menu very well. She was honest, friendly and efficient. She truly made our dining experience pleasant with her small talk.
The busboy (or girl, in this case) made sure our water glasses were never empty. This was a huge plus. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than reaching for water during or after a meal and picking up an empty glass.
My mother and father joined me for dinner and she chose the bottle of wine for us. The wine list is strictly Italian, which was appropriate in an Italian restaurant. The bottle, Lacryma Christi Feudi Di San Gregorio 2010, wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. My father thought there might have been cork in it, but my mother and I disagreed and he changed his mind. It didn’t taste like a cork. It was just dry and not to our particular liking.
The waitress brought out complimentary bread with three spreads: yellow pepper, eggplant and black olive. This got me extremely excited. I am all about spreads. And I’m all about complimentary spreads.
There were two types of bread: a focaccia and a dry sourdough-type bread. The focaccia was warm, soft, and absolutely delicious. The other was bland, hard and probably not fresh. Save yourself two minutes of chewing and stick strictly with the focaccia. It tasted like it had just been taken out of the oven.
But how does one get a spread wrong? We confused the yellow pepper dip for the eggplant dip. Not sure how that happens considering those are two very different tasting vegetables, but it’s probably because neither had much flavor. I’ve had many different types of eggplant dips, but never at an Italian restaurant. Probably my first and last. I’m going to stick with Baba ghanoush spreads if they’re all like this one. The black olive dip was overly salty (thank God for that full glass of water by my side).
This first taste of the restaurant was disappointing but after recommendations from the waitress, I was hopeful about the appetizers to come.
We ordered the Carpaccio di polpo ($14), an octopus Carpaccio with arugula and cherry tomatoes. The dish was exactly what the menu and the waitress said it would be – except it wasn’t anything special. It did, however, taste very fresh, which is something to be commended.
We also ordered the Tris di mozze ($16) to start. This was a plate with three cheeses – fior di latte, scamorza and burrata — with bruschetta. This was really good. The waitress explained that all cheeses were made at the restaurant. This was definitely noticeable, as the dish was natural and fresh. The burrata’s creamy insides exploded all over the plate of sliced tomatoes in the most soft and magical way.
I let the waitress choose my main course. I had spaghetti that was literally just spaghetti with a pecorino cheese sauce and black peppers — Spaghetti cacio e pepe ($14). Mmmmmm. If you like cheese then just mmmmm. It was soft, cheesy goodness! And the plate was loaded. It’s one of those it-looks-like-I-barely-ate-but-I-ate-A LOT- plates. Some people might find this overwhelming or just too much but I think: tomorrow’s dinner. And if it’s as good as this, I’m especially excited for tomorrow’s dinner. I added a little extra black pepper when the waitress came around and voilà (oops, that’s not Italian), I was ready to dive in.
My mom ordered the Carpaccio di salmone ($12), which included salmon Carpaccio, fennel, slices of an orange and radish. Fresh, light and tasty. The oranges were a very nice, tangy touch. Any taste I got had all four ingredients loaded on the fork. The cook was very generous with this plate too, as my mother almost couldn’t finish. Points for that!
My dad ordered the Scaloppine with wild mushrooms ($24). It also came with a variety of steamed vegetables (broccoli, bell peppers, onions, etc.) on the side. Funny story: my father thought “Scaloppine” meant scallops, though this plate was under the meats and not under the seafood. Turns out it was beef and it was mediocre — we both agreed. The mushrooms on top of the beef were tasty and the vegetables were good – but just as tasty and good as any other restaurant. Nothing special at all. Sorry dad, mom and I ordered the best.
For dessert, we ordered a Semifreddo almond parfait, or Semifreddo di Mandorle ($8). If you’re an almond lover, then you’ll really like this. It’s not your typical parfait with ice cream or fruit or whipped cream. It actually doesn’t have any of this. It’s a thick texture of what can be described as cold, almost-fully-pureed almonds, topped with a little cinnamon. A dark chocolate sauce decorates the plate beneath it. This was okay but it wasn’t anything special either. I would definitely try another dessert the next time.
There are seven dessert options — each very similar and most involve a pastry filled with some kind of fruit or custard. The waitress did mention (after we ate our dessert!) that we should try the Granita di Anguria (with watermelon, ginger, rum and pineapple) or the chocolate soufflé the next time.
The menu overall offers a wide variety of food. The options can be limited to two or three pages. This works well because the restaurant offers enough of each section to satisfy any craving. The menu has the typical sections of an Italian restaurant (Appetizers, Soups, Salads, Pasta, Meat, Fish) but Moyé adds its own style and flavor with sections for their different Carpaccio and Mozzarella dishes.
The plates are big. You can expect to leave full (and maybe even bring home tomorrow’s dinner like I did) for a reasonable price: main course meals range from $12 to $26.
Overall, the best part is that the food tastes fresh and that what you see is what you get. There were no surprises when the plates came out (except for my dad’s entrée, but that was his fault.) The problem is, there’s just nothing special about the food.
It’s not a restaurant to which I’m eager to return. If I do, it’s mostly because the waitress was so sweet and the ambiance is relaxing. If the chef could make the food stand out a little more, this place would be great. Lots of potential. It’s only been open for four months so, hopefully, in time, the owners will give the restaurant’s food a little kick.
- Moyé at 829 SW 1st Ave., Miami, Fla. 33133
- Reservations: 305-372-5168
- Hours of Operation: Sundays – Thursdays: 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m and Fridays – Saturdays: 11:30 a.m. to midnight
- Italian, $14 – $20 per person
- Dress code: not enforced, but casual nice
- Credit cards and cash accepted
- Nearest Metrorail stop: Brickell Station
- Parking: Best bet is to find a nearby parking garage
- Overall Rating: 5 out of 10