I. LOVE. QUALITY. MEATS.
It wasn’t love at first sight.
I didn’t like the name at first. I felt it was worthy of, say, a butcher shop. Turns out, I was right. I later learned the New York City, family‑owned butcher shops of father‑son owners Alan and Michael Stillman inspired the Quality Meats flagship. I hesitated to try yet another new and “promising” South Beach restaurant. #Eyeroll. But off I went, and I’m happy I gave the restaurant a try.
Quality Meats offers valet parking on the 15th and Collins Avenue. Just a short stroll away, you can find garage parking on 12th, 13th, and 16th.
Walking into what used to be the Bancroft hotel lobby, I noticed chaos right away. The staff rushed from one side to the other dodging trays, chairs, and diners. Tables were placed uncomfortably close to one another and the sound level had only one setting, LOUD. Everything felt rushed. Service began the second we sat down. Water, menus, and bread were all brought out at once. I had not been able to take a good look around me or even catch my breath yet. Once we spoke to the waiter, explained we were not in a rush, and wanted to course everything out, we eased into the rest of the night. The complimentary bread is baked in-house and served on a cast-iron pan. I must really love my (late arriving) friends. I did not dig in until they got there, even though the smell was driving me insane! As usual, we ordered too much food.
I enjoyed the Watermelon amuse bouche: a refreshing first bite, perfect for too-hot-to-handle Miami. Although I rarely order salads when dining out, the Kale and Manchego Salad (with a chorizo vinaigrette and honey topping) has made me rethink that decision. This will be a must-order for my next visit. The Crab and Avocado was a nice starter, but nowhere near as impressive as the House Cured Slab Bacon. Topped with peanut butter and jalapeño jelly, this dish made my knees weak. I confess, I wanted to hate it. It’s messily plated enough to bring out my OCD, but I didn’t. THIS. WAS. INCREDIBLE.
THE MAIN EVENT
The Tomahawk Rib Steak (24oz) at Quality Meats is smaller than those offered at other local restaurants. Maybe it’s just because I like having one of these all to myself (only-child syndrome, I don’t like sharing), but I prefer this size. I also sampled (and loved) the Aged Bone-In Sirloin and the Filet Mignon. I savored every bite of the Honey-Lime Baby Back Ribs, but I barely finished them. By then, I had sampled way too much food. Thankfully, my friends finished them for me. That’s what friends are for. Right? Perhaps I do know how to share after all!
How do I put this eloquently? The Corn Creme Brûlée kicked ass! It’s exactly what it sounds like, simply creme brûléed corn. But it’s everything. And then some. We ordered a second for the table despite all of us being “oh so full.” Then, the Gnocchi happened. What was I to do? I couldn’t stop eating. Thankfully, I was able to resist the simple Grilled Jumbo Asparagus. They were jumbo. They were grilled. Nothing more, nothing less. I finally waved my white napkin in
I have a sweet tooth. It’s been established. I know it and you probably know it by now too. We also know there’s always room for dessert. It’s true. Despite all my whining about being too full, the whimsical vortex Quality Meats calls “dessert” happened. We could have been happy with just the dainty Warm Apple Pie, but we ordered more. Why be normal? The Nutter Butter Ice Cream Cake (banana ice cream and nutter butter cookies sandwiched between layers of peanut butter cake, topped with vanilla fluff icing) was next and quite the showstopper. Other favorites were the Coffee & Doughnuts (chocolate doughnuts swirled into creamy coffee flavored ice cream) and the Orange Creamsicle Sherbet (fresh squeezed oj & vanilla cream frozen together, like a push pop!).
Our professional, attentive, and knowledgeable waiter spaced out our courses perfectly. He promised he would have everything under control. Success! He delivered.
No more dessert talk, I promise.
I wasn’t thrilled to take on the maze of tables and elevator to get to the upstairs, second-floor bathroom (in 5″ heels). Once I survived the trip without twisting an ankle and found the bathroom (down the hall and to the right), I had to laugh; flamboyant flamingo-themed wallpaper lined the bathroom walls. Flamingos for days. As I washed my hands, I noticed an unassuming, small photo hanging next to the sinks. In it, a dozen flamingos huddled in a public bathroom. Odd, I thought. I researched and found more information about it later on that week. The amateur photo, taken by Ron Magill, became an instant sensation immediately following Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Magill, then curator at the Miami Metrozoo, quickly took the snapshot after successfully placing the frazzled flamingos in the bathroom in the hopes they would remain safe during the storm. He is now an award-winning photographer and still works at (the renamed) Zoo Miami as the Communications Director/Zoo Goodwill Ambassador. The flamingos survived and the photo is now a Miami icon. Owner Stillman decided to add the photo after he heard the story and knew it would be a perfect fit for the bathroom. He’s right. What a nice touch! I really appreciate the nod to South Florida history.
Ultimately, the food captivated me and I stopped noticing the hodgepodge of things going on around me. So what if the space felt a little crowded and the staff rushed through? MEMORABLE is one important quality I now expect when dining out. “Good” only takes restaurants so far. I will always choose to return to “great.” Overall, Quality Meats is a keeper. The restaurant describes itself as “old‑world perspective with a distinctly modern approach” and they have nailed it. This is the restaurant’s first venture outside of New York City, and a big win South Florida.