The Place: Housed in a 1923 Mediterranean Revival firehouse with slide poles intact, Dolores But You Can Call Me Lolita is in a two- story building surrounded by high-rise condos. New as of two months ago is a brunch offered weekends on the rooftop terrace with a large bamboo screen providing shade and protection from rain and an area with a shaded pergola and Edison light bulb dangling over a communal table. The rest of the area is open air, surrounded by potted palms and philodendron plus wood pallets on one wall with hanging gardens. Ceiling fans and oscillating mounted fans help keep diners somewhat cool with bay breezes. Frozen sangria from the small bar helps, too. Downstairs is the lounge, called Lolita.
History: Spanish owner Carlos Galan runs Dolores, as the upstairs space is known, with business partner Joaquin Chamizo, who is Cuban American. They met through a mutual friend and started the Passion Restaurant Group, which also runs the Crazy About You and Love is Blind eateries. Galan 20 years ago had run Macarena in Miami Beach; Chamizo worked for Tony Roma’s for years until they joined forces and opened Dolores in 2007. They recently hired chef Rafael Guzman, who was born in the Dominican Republic but grew up in New York, where he trained in the culinary arts. He worked at Shea Stadium catering private parties in suites, then at Yankee Stadium before visiting a friend in Miami and moving here. He catered private events at the University of Miami and then was hired by the Miccosukee tribe, for whom he cooked a lot of gator.
The Food: The brunch covers all bases with comfort fare, a few Latin dishes and traditional egg preparations plus kale, spinach-quinoa and Caesar salads and starters such as skillet baked cornbread with cheddar and chives and whipped butter; fried green tomatoes; and serrano ham croquettes. There’s also the two round tostone “bruschetta” each topped with a scoop of diced tomato and strawberry with parmesan and olive oil; and huevos rotos with soft broken-yolk eggs served over chickpeas and chorizo topped with ground beef. Mains include southern fried chicken tenderloins with waffles, bacon and maple syrup; croissant scrambled egg sandwich with cheddar, ham and bacon with spicy potatoes; and classic eggs Benedict. Or go for the burger on a brioche bun, churrasco steak, yellowtail snapper sandwich with garlic mayo and shoestring fries or tender baby back ribs for gnawing.
You Never Knew This: When you ask for the dessert menu here, a small metal Eiffel Tower is brought to the table with four plaques wired to it with the desserts listed. Message in a bottle is a chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream and strawberries, but there’s a twist: The server brings a large empty vodka bottle and piece of paper, and you write a message with your phone number and drop it in. Once a month, one is drawn and the winner gets dinner for two.
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If You Go
Place: Dolores But You Can Call Me Lolita
Address: 1000 S. Miami Ave.
Hours: Monday, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; Tuesday, 11:30 a.m.-midnight; Wednesday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m.; Friday, 11:30 a.m.-3 a.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-3 a.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m.; Brunch Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Prices for brunch: Salads and starters $6-$12, entrees $8-$18, desserts $3.99-$7.99
FYI: There is no elevator because of the historic status, only stairs to reach the rooftop (if a patron is handicapped, brunch or any other meal is served in the lounge).