Oh, I get it. Racks. When the press release crossed my desk, I naively thought this new North Miami Beach restaurant was a ribs joint, but one glance at the hostess spilling out of her tight black bustier set me straight. It’s all about lights, camera and action, especially on Thursday nights when this hot spot is a magnet for singles.
The decor of the sprawling, 4,000-square-foot space is Old World a la Epcot, with brick walls, red vinyl seats, glossy white subway tiles and a cozy market in the front.
- Pizza: These thin, coal-fired babies with puffy, blackened edges and well-balanced toppings are the ticket here. Sweet tomato sauce, pools of nicely charred fiore di latte (cow’s milk mozzarella) and lots of oil with fresh basil make one of these blistering pies worth the trip
- Plump, juicy, super-fresh branzino fillet was artfully arranged with gorgeous olives, capers, lemon wedges and an outrageously delicious jam made from sweet baby cherry tomatoes
- Veal scallopine loaded with artichokes, mushrooms and capers
- A mammoth portion of calamari with a tangy, sweet marinara sauce
- A well-capped espresso alongside one of the best little cannolo I have tasted
What Didn’t Work
- Baskets of toasty bread served with an odd, oily mash of olives and sun-dried tomatoes fall flat
- The softball-sized dense, bready meatball is so full of dried herbs and garlic and covered with so much sweet red sauce and whipped ricotta that it is truly inedible
Racks Italian Bistro and Market: The Intracoastal Mall, 3933 NE 163rd St., North Miami Beach. 305-917-7225. Hours: 11:30 a.m.-2 a.m. Monday-Saturday, 11:30 a.m.- midnight Sunday. Prices: Antipasti $11-$18, pastas $14-$21, pizzas $12-$15, salads $9-$12, secondi $17-$22, sides $5, desserts $7-$8.
FYI: Reservations suggested; available at www.opentable.com. Full bar; corkage fee $20. Happy hour 3-7 p.m. daily with free appetizers and drink prices discounted by one-third. Ladies night 8-11 p.m. Thursday with free cocktails for women. Free parking lot; valet available for cars, boats. AX,
DS, MC, VS.