My latest stop for “Take’s Take: Healthier Fine Dining” takes me to Symcha’s, a new kid on the block located at 22 Washington Avenue in South Beach. My evening started off on the wrong track as my client—who joined me for the tasting—had to leave shortly after we sat down due to a “business” matter. He did get his training session in earlier and since we’re working on dropping his body fat it was probably better that he didn’t take in the extra calories. This still left me dining solo. So that I wouldn’t look like the creepy guy who goes out and eats by himself, the owner Symcha Zylberman and his wife Anna—who are not new to the block when it comes to food and the restaurant industry—kept me company. If that wasn’t enough to make me feel welcome, Executive Chef, Joshua Wahler (a fellow University of Maryland alumni…GO TERPS!) also stopped by.
Now I rarely order the daily specials or off-menu choices, so when the server started to explain them to me I tried my best to pretend I was listening while simultaneously scanning the menu. With that said, once I heard “Japanese hamachi”, he had my attention! Being (half) Japanese and a sushi aficionado, I had to have the hamachi. My only regret is I didn’t get a second order! The hamachi comes with Yuzu-jalepeno, caramelized onion jam, krispy shallots, micro cilantro and a ginger-lavender-lemongrass broth. I also ordered the Seafood Ceviche which is served on a Himalayan salt block making it a fun, interactive dish that you self-season to taste.
Another appetizer I ordered was the Roasted Chinese Eggplant. I’m not a big fan of eggplant because of a Nintendo game I played as a kid (Kid Icarus) where evil eggplant wizards turn you into one. This time around I had a much more enjoyable experience as the dish was fantastic and I didn’t turn into an eggplant. The eggplant comes with fresh Florida oranges, toasted almonds, shallot confit glaze and baby cilantro.
Other healthier choices from the appetizer menu include the Creek Stone Farms Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio, Gorganzola Dolcelatte & Honey Crisp Apple Salad, Chopped Salad, Maine Lobster Cocktail and the Tuna Twins—a combination of Yuzu Soy Marinated Tuna Tataki and Aromatic Tuna TarTar.
From the entrée section, the Pan Seared Half Rack of Colorado Lamb instantly caught my eye. Lamb has less saturated fat and less marbling (internal fat throughout the meat) so it is considered a healthier alternative to beef. The sweet potato puree and the citrus grilled asparagus that accompany the lamb also peaked my interest, making this selection an easy choice. Needless to say, I have nothing but rave reviews about everything on this entrée…highly recommend! In fact, the sweet potato and asparagus is so good (and not to mention healthier) that I suggest ordering an extra side of each since you most likely won’t want to share…at least I wouldn’t!
Other healthier entrees that I would recommend include the Pan Seared Florida Black Grouper that comes with Quinoa Salad, Pan Seared Jumbo Diver Sea Scallops, Tanglewood Farms Pan Seared Chicken Breast and Pan Seared Cachaca Marinated Chilean Sea Bass.
After being “persuaded” by the owners and the executive chef, I concluded my meal with A Berry Pleasant Evening—their appropriately named dessert which includes an assortment of fresh berries. The tartness of the berries is complimented with a light, almond flavored whip cream making this the healthier dessert choice. The funny thing is I usually have a couple tablespoons of Lite Cool Whip to curb my sweet cravings at night since it has only 20 calories, 1 gram of fat and 1 gram of sugar per serving. I’ll take Symcha’s almond whip cream over Cool Whip any day though.
If you are looking for a new Sunday brunch spot, Symcha’s is starting their brunch on October 23rd. I got a sneak peak at the menu to inspect its “healthier-ness” but it looks like I’m going to have to stop by one Sunday so I can check it out for myself…and ask Chef Wahler why the almond whip cream is nowhere to be found on the brunch menu!
For more information on Symcha’s go to www.symchas.com or call (305) 604-0000 to make a reservation.
Please visit www.shuichitakefitness.com for more information on health and fitness.