Eden Restaurant & Lounge

Miami is full of restaurants with concepts and menus by big-name, out-of-town chefs. Eden boasts Christopher Lee, a James Beard Award winner whose credits include New York’s Michelin two-star Gilt and the exquisite Aureole. The small menu includes intriguing offerings like a Dungeness crab roll with macadamia nuts and passion fruit, but also the worst of trendy tourist fare. Do we really need more Wagyu sliders, fried calamari, fried dumplings and tuna tartare?

Somewhere between tourist trap and local hideaway, this odd eatery seems to be trying to figure out what it wants to be when it grows up. The lack of local elements (or locals) makes me think it may not be around long enough for us to find out.

Ambience: The space looks much as it did in its previous incarnation as Talula, with a long bar along the left and an open kitchen against the back, though a shiny new black and neon-green color scheme is as jarring as the loud club music that is played at night. Its best feature by far is the courtyard garden, where shaggy palms and clumps of chocolate mint and thyme create a feeling of escape.

What Worked

  • A beginning basket of flatbreads dusted with dried herbs and served with a tasty if thin crab dipping sauce
  • A silken Alaskan cod with chopped edamame and shiitake mushrooms in a whisper-light broth with a hint of citrus
  • A juicy New York strip steak with picture-perfect hatch marks cooked medium-rare and served with gently creamed spinach and a mound of fingerling potatoes sliced into coins
  • An heirloom tomato salad celebrating local bounty
  • Heartwarming young and eager wait staff
  • Eager to please managers

What Didn’t Work

  • Hot & tasty jerk-spiced fries with a strange dusting of herbs & cheese served with an aggressively smoky tomato cream sauce
  • Macadamia-encrusted salmon with a gamey, off flavor
  • A salad of field greens with beets and goat cheese too heavily dressed with a sour sherry vinaigrette
  • Tender, well-seasoned ringlets of fried calamari drenched in a curry-sesame sauce that rendered them limp
  • Oddly hearty ravioli stuffed with apple and chestnut puree served with a too rich & thick butter-heavy sauce
  • Mayan prawns – five knuckle-sized shrimp overwhelmed by pools of orange, yellow, green, white and off-putting gray-green sauce dotted and swiped with artistic flourish
  • A run-of-the-mill warm chocolate cake with dots of espresso cream
  • A monstrous scoop of mango sorbet set atop a mountain of crunchy chocolate crumb