The Who: Restaurateur Stephen Starr continues his culinary colonization of Miami with The Continental, a mod-casual diner, his fourth South Florida restaurant (Steak 954, Makoto and Verde) and the first Florida outpost of Continental, which Starr originally opened in Philadelphia 20 years ago. Chef Matthew Oetting heads the kitchen and most recently was executive chef of Starr’s Caffe Storico in New York.
The Space: The swankification of the area north of 23rd Street in Miami Beach includes this angular spot adjacent to the new Aloft South Beach hotel. The mid-century landmark building retains all of its retro charm thanks to soft wood tones, Brady Bunch-style furniture and lush greenery.
The Dishes: Worldly comfort cuisine with lots of Mai Kai-esque touches. The bulk of the menu is small plates with larger platters also made for sharing. Prices are reasonable: starters $10-$24 and mains $17-$55.
A decadent decision is the Foie Gras & Pancakes, a breakfast sandwich done up with seared foie gras, fresh hollandaise, thick-cut bacon, a slice of cheese and maple syrup inside griddle cakes. The Cheesesteak Eggroll with cherry peppers, American cheese and sriracha ketchup is an homage to Starr’s Philly roots, while Duck Banh Mi is a modern take on Vietnamese street food. Larger plates are Asian influenced, like Korean Fried Chicken, Spicy Beef Chop Suey and Rad Na made with chow fun noodles, chicken, peanuts and crisp romaine. Veggie dishes run the gamut from roasted carrots with yogurt to charred broccoli served with romesco, pickled chiles and Marcona almonds, to a whole artichoke with dijonnaise.
Desserts keep the retro thing going with a CrackerJack sundae with popcorn ice cream and strawberry shortcake with creme fraiche ice cream.
The Bottom Line: A Cantonese-American pleasure palace straight from the 1970s with tiki drinks, modernized comfort food and sizzling sharing platters.