Table 8, Miami
Dreadlocked star chef Govind Armstrong has created dinner-as-theater here, with fussy service, a dramatic and soaring space, and a formal Los Angeles atmosphere. It makes sense, as Armstrong (who made People magazine's 50 most beautiful people list in 2004) rose up through Spago and Patina in L.A. before opening his own place there, Table 8. Armstrong has been feeding his followers specialties like American Kurobuta pork short rib with cheese grits, bacon, and collard greens; and filet of mahi with blue crab chowder and truffle oil-infused potato chips.
Signature Dish: It's not on the menu, but those in the know request the salt-roasted porterhouse for two when they make their reservation. It's a lot to eat, but it still comes with ivory mashed potatoes and local root vegetables like blond carrots.
Tip: Don't miss a beachside glass of champagne and tomato shots with stone crab salad on the open-air deck.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.