1.5 stars for Timo's at the Villa Mayfair in Coconut Grove

“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.

Ambience: The menu is 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.

What Didn’t Work

  • Young waiters in black who try hard, but in some cases can barely pronounce let alone explain some of the dishes
  • Three misdeliveries (that’s Cobb salad please, not kale)
  • Unbalanced food
  • Salads that are far too acidic
  • Overcooked & oversalted pastas
  • White rice so dry it looked like it came from a takeout container at the back of someone’s refrigerator
  • Kale shredded so fine that it looked like pencil shavings
  • Bitter, tiny, dark pine nuts were bitter
  • Blanc cobb salad with springy, dry chicken breast
  • Chewy, questionable fresh mahi ceviche
  • Supremely salty fusilli puttanesca with anchovies, capers and kalamata olives
  • Vanilla cheesecake with a plastic texture
  • Grainy peanut butter mousse served over an unappealing smear of what tasted like jarred chocolate

What Worked

  • A kid’s menu that includes super-crisp shoestring fries and grilled mahi
  • A popular happy hour with half-price bar snacks, $5 international beers and $11 retro cocktails