Though the Miami Beach décor (modular white banquettes and blue-lit, wall-through aquariums) may seem incongruous, the Pearl has quickly become a go-to haunt for even old-school seafood lovers. Chef Seth Raynor's dishes are heavily Asian-influenced: his yellowfin tuna pearls (served in a martini glass) come with wasabi tobiko; his halibut fillet is served with a coconut-Kaffir lime broth and Japanese mushrooms; and his lobster is prepared in a spicy salt-and-pepper crust with lo mein noodles and grilled lime. As nouveau as these offerings may sound, though, all are simple enough to let the fresh seafood flavors shine through.
Tip: Late nights at the Pearl’s first-floor bar are a major scene, with lots of trendy young things sipping sake and passionfruit cosmos.
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From the From the May 2008 Food & Wine Go List
This hidden Chinese restaurant in the new development in Paddington Basin serves truly stupendous dim sum (like Shanghai dumpling with pork) and tangy “New Mandarin” dishes (such as trotters with clams). The surroundings are luxurious, with carved wood and deep-buttoned pink upholstery.
We loved: Lobster over noodles; spicy shredded beef; barbecued roast duck.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.