“We get that a lot,” said the guy who answered the phone when I called to ask if Tim Andriola, the chef-owner of the beloved Sunny Isles eatery called Timo, was involved with Coconut Grove’s new Timo’s. The answer is a definite no. And a cease-and-desist order is unlikely to result in any name changes.
This Timo’s opened several months ago in the space that most recently housed the lovely Villa Mayfair. Two decades ago it was the brilliant Brasserie le Coze, one of Miami’s finest restaurants, helmed by star chef Eric Ripert. After many brief turns as other eateries, it has devolved into a sort of raucous sports bar where Heat fans in backwards baseball caps guzzle free beer and eat from a mishmash menu that borrows comfort food from the world over.
It seems like every dish ever made popular is represented here. There’s bang bang shrimp, pad Thai, ceviche, fish tacos, fried calamari, herb-roasted chicken, pasta bolognese, chicken quesadillas, truffle fries, roasted brussels sprouts with bacon, Caesar salad, tuna tartare and the ubiquitous kale salad.
It’s all served in a space that is as beautiful as ever, with carved wood scrollwork in the ceiling, framed mirrors along the walls, shimmery silver chairs and herringbone wood floors. An incongruous array of playful touches including boxes of board games, mismatched plastic chairs and street signs litter the outside terrace.
The menu is as cacophonous as the scene, and the execution and service are uneven and amateurish.
Young waiters in black try hard but in some cases can barely pronounce let alone explain some of the dishes. On two visits we had at least three misdeliveries (that’s Cobb salad please, not kale).
The food we sampled was as unbalanced as the score of a lopsided Heat game. Salads were far too acidic. Pastas too salty and overcooked. Shrimp wraps were served with white rice so dry it looked like it came from a takeout container at the back of someone’s refrigerator.
The kale in the rainbow salad was shredded so fine it was like pencil shavings, and the tiny, dark pine nuts were bitter. The few sections of sweet orange and decent quality Parmesan did little to elevate it. Cobb salad was bland, and the chicken breast had the springy, dry bounce you find on airline meal trays.
Texture was also a problem with our mahi ceviche, which was so chewy that I worried about its freshness. The fusilli puttanesca with anchovies, capers and kalamata olives was so salty we could not eat more than a few bites, and our server did not seem to notice.
Vanilla cheesecake had a plastic texture, and grainy peanut butter mousse was served over an unappealing smear of what tasted like jarred chocolate.
A kid’s menu that includes super-crisp shoestring fries and grilled mahi is a draw for families.
A popular happy hour with half-price bar snacks, an international selection of beers for only $5 and retro cocktails priced at only $11 make this a more appealing place to drink than to eat.
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