Friday, September 14, 2012

Versailles (Miami, FL)

In the final installment of my Miami trip recollection, I will review the best restaurant I went to of the four, just beating out Sugarcane due to the fact that it's just such authentic Cuban and, thus, authentic Miami.  I'm not a fan of Florida as a general rule; it's too damn hot, too damn humid, and full of old people...not a good combo.  But, in my mind, Cuban food is enough of a reason to sweat like a whore in church and deal with the geriatrics.

Versailles is, according to my uncle and the internet, the most famous Cuban restaurant in the most Cuban place on Earth outside of Cuba itself, Miami.  When politicians come to Miami to woo the Cuban population (a necessity to win either the Miami-Dade County or statewide vote), Versailles, pronounced "vare-sigh-ace," is the place they go.  I don't blame them; Spanish was the primary language being spoken in the restaurant, including by my bilingual uncle (my aunt is from Honduras), and there was a distinct feeling of being in a community unfamiliar from my own, even at 6pm, much earlier than many of the Cuban families will come out on a Friday night.

As I said, I love Cuban food, so when my uncle asked if there was anything in particular I wanted I told him that's the only thing.  He immediately suggested Versailles, and I wasn't going to argue; it was the perfect end to a great, albeit short, trip.  When it came time to order I again left it up to him to decide, figuring he knew better than I, and he did not disappoint, ordering the pollo (chicken) versailles and, if I recall correctly, the fish filet with shrimps in creole sauce, which is among the "Chef's Specials," and both came with rice (seasoned in the case of the pollo versailles and white for the fish) and sweet plantains.  The platanos were probably my favorite thing of the day, perfectly cooked so they were sticky and sweet but without being cloying, almost glazed over but really retaining that powerful flavor you can only get from platanos maduros.  Just absolutely perfect.  The chicken was next, perfectly cooked, tender, almost falling apart but not at all dry, which is a difficult medium to find.  The rice was delicious, also perfectly cooked and really delicate, with a beautiful yellow color that I'm assuming was from saffron.  The fish and shrimp were both good, although they were slightly overcooked I'd say, but not so much that made it unpleasant.  The rice was, again, perfect, but a little boring in the way white rice is, though it worked really well with the creole sauce, which had lots of vegetables in it, primarily based around tomatoes, and which I spiced up a bit (at my uncles urging) with some Tobasco Sauce.

I can't write as much about Versailles as I'd like because it's been a few weeks and my memory has started to fade, but I cannot recommend it enough.  I'd fly to Miami just to eat their platanos maduros, and the rest would be one hell of a bonus.  Oh, and, ya know, seeing my family would be good too.  But mostly it'd be about the platanos!


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