Take’s Take: Healthier Fine Dining at City Hall Restaurant

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For my latest chapter in “Take’s Take: Healthier Fine Dining”, I head over to City Hall in Downtown Miami located at 2004 Biscayne Blvd. Not the actually city hall where government stuff happens—or doesn’t happen—but City Hall the restaurant. I’m sure the owner Steven Haas, who has had his fair share of political experience, has probably been to a city hall or two.

The menu reads a little bit like something you would find at a city hall with sections named “Commitment Before Decisions”, “Opening Statements” and “Primary Decisions”. I assure that the food is much better than anything you would find in a city hall cafeteria—not that I have ever been to one or anything. From the “Opening Statements” or appetizer section, I ordered the tuna tartar and the Guinness braised muscles with homemade chorizo (a small amount of little pieces so don’t get worried!) and saffron. The tuna tartar comes with truffle-soy vinaigrette, papaya, avocado, wakame and crispy wontons.  Avocado, which used to be exiled for being too high fat, is now making a healthy comeback—and for good reason. Avocados are high in the good monounsaturated fat which can actually lower cholesterol. Now don’t go crazy and eat 3 avocados a day, that’s not what I’m saying here! Because it is high in fat it is also high in calories (1 gram of fat has 9 calories compared to protein and carbohydrates which only has 4 calories per gram) so be sure to enjoy avocados in moderation.

If you want to start your evening with something greener, I recommend the mixed baby greens with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, carrot, avocado, toasted sunflower seeds and herb vinaigrette or the burratta mozzarella with crisp pancetta, baby arugula, extra virgin olive oil, herb roasted roma tomato, pine nuts and aged balsamic vinegar. The spicy North Atlantic salmon with mixed baby greens, grapes, strawberries, shaved red onion, radish, sunflower seeds and passion fruit vinaigrette is another smart, healthier choice that can also be ordered as an entrée. If you are in the mood for pizza, I suggest splitting the homemade mozzarella pizza with sliced ripe tomato, basil, oregano and classic marinara sauce.

For entrees or “Primary Decisions” I ordered the Sesame seared North Atlantic salmon and the grilled skirt steak—not both for me though. I wasn’t dining alone like I was last time…I swear! Ask Steve or Tom Azar, the Executive Chef at Town Hall. I had a hot date this time, right guys?!

Anyways, the salmon comes with shiitake jasmine rice, baby bok choy, toasted cashews and miso glaze. The real winner of the night was the skirt steak. Now this isn’t the typical skirt steak you get in Miami with chimi churi sauce or adobo seasoning. In fact, believe it or not, it is a much better—and healthier—Mediterranean inspired skirt steak. It comes over tri-color couscous with kalamata olives, crumbled goat cheese and a light tomato-coriander vinaigrette. If you are a fan of skirt steak and/or Mediterranean food then this is a must have!

Salmon, Quinoa, Skirt Steak & String Beans (clockwise from bottom)

Other healthier entrée options include the pepper seared yellow fin tuna with vegetable quinoa, wild mushrooms, garlic, Japanese eggplant, sweet and spicy peppers and maui onion burre blanc or the garlic-herb roasted half chicken with yukon gold potatoes, broccollini and caramelized shallot reduction sauce. If you are craving a burger, go with the grilled turkey burger. It comes with fontina cheese, mushrooms, spinach and tomato aioli—which I suggest getting on the side and use sparingly. The burger comes with fries and coleslaw but in the interest of keeping things healthier, substitute the fries and slaw for a side of quinoa or couscous. Although they are not on the menu as “Supporting Decisions” aka sides, you can ask your server to make the substitution at no additional cost—the entire menu is substitute friendly. The baby French green beans and the shiitake jasmine rice are also healthier side substitutions.

So there you have it, another adventure in the chronicles of “Take’s Take: Healthier Fine Dining”. I’m going to have to visit a few more times so I can become the mayor of City Hall on foursquare.com—the current mayor only has four check-ins. I wonder if being mayor comes with any perks…

For more information on City Hall go to www.cityhalltherestaurant.com or call 305.764.3130 to make a reservation.

Please visit www.shuichitakefitness.com for more information on health and fitness.

Shuichi Take, one of Miami’s most sought-after personal trainers, has worked with clients from all walks of life with a diverse range of goals throughout his 15+ years in the fitness industry. He has trained many of Miami’s celebrities, professional athletes and other elite clientele including Haute Living Publishers Kamal Hotchandani and Seth Semilof. Shuichi has combined all of his experience, knowledge and expertise to create a finely tuned approach and philosophy to fitness by shaping a healthy body and mind that builds sustainable, healthy lifestyles. Although eating healthy throughout the day and regular exercise is the foundation of  his healthy lifestyle, Shuichi firmly believes that life, and everything it has to offer, is meant to be enjoyed—including food! Taking care of your health and body should be an essential component of one’s day that fits into your current lifestyle and daily schedule.

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