Hidden within the Wynwood Arcade complex, and surrounded by an area saturated with art, inquisitive visitors, and a touch of free-spirited chaos, this new empire sits quietly. . . and regally. The restaurant, edgy rooftop outdoor-lounge, and upcoming cooking school make up an ambitious and exciting trilogy by one of our very own: Floridian, New World Cuisine founding father, author, and chef-in-the-know Norman Van Aken.
Adding glamour to an otherwise ritz-averse area isn’t easy. I, for one, couldn’t picture it until I visited. There’s a reason (or two) other fine-dining restaurants nearby have toned down their interiors. But not THREE; there’s not an inch to be found untouched by the sophisticated Florida-chic interior design.
Luxurious sapphire-blue velvet chairs surround the spacious gold-trimmed tables throughout the space. Sleek and polished finishes add interest to floors, trimmings, and cabinetry. A Christian Lacroix floral wallpapered focal wall, anchored by moss-green tufted booths, immediately brought back memories of a once glorious ’80s Miami Design District (David & Dash, anyone?).
A long chef’s interactive-counter invites guests to take a closer look at the magic while in action. Once seated, the theatrics began. A full-size plate with printed lines off an excerpt by writer Sophie Calle became the backdrop for the amuse bouche: fried yucca with a black bean dollop atop a dainty wood bowl. Dinner continued to play out so smoothly, I wondered if they had truly just opened.
“He leaned in to me and sought my lips. I pushed him away. ‘What makes you think I’d want to kiss you?’ I protested. ‘Well, anyway, he answered, you eat like a pig.’ Even today, after all these years, his words haunt me.”
What I tried:
I lost count of the many flavor profiles and textures I found in the Calabaza Talkari. More than just squash. The brown-butter honey and curried pepitas added sweetness and spice to an already seductive dish.
I developed a serious case of order envy when I tried my husband’s “Print” Pasta Jerked Oxtail Ragú. Sure, it was topped with a healthy dose of Perigord black truffles, but that’s not the
only reason why. Hearty yet portioned perfectly, the red wine reduction, mulled red cabbage, roasted chestnuts, and even the Paradise Farms flower accents made up a beautifully executed course. I tried hard not to become the living example of Calle’s quote above. Gulp.
I know there’s a disclaimer on the website’s menu “This menu is representative of our offerings in style and pricing, however, daily market fish, seasonal changes, and creative inspirations may change the menu at ‘Three’ to varying degrees.” But when this girl reads online that there’s a pork 2-ways dish (including ancho-guava glazed Secreto- two of my favorites) and Casquitos de Guayaba for dessert, the disappointment level when not available reaches epic Santa-didn’t-deliver proportions. And they hadn’t even been open a full month! True story. “What do you mean you don’t have them available today?!?!” I’m still pouting about that one. There was a different pork 2-ways option when I dined, but it didn’t involve guava nor Ibérico Secreto. Hey THREE, can I please have a do-over on those?
Despite Three’s Florida-inspired everything, I’m happy to say the service offered is anything but Floridian in style. It seems they are trying hard to provide a professional, courteous, dedicated, and knowledgeable experience to their guests while remaining approachable and not stuffy. From start to finish, plates were cleared quickly and cautiously, silverware was replaced per course, napkins were refolded as needed, courses appeared at the perfect pace, and even the wine and water glasses were magically refilled.
Wait! I’m in Miami? Parece que sí!
Take advantage of the available valet or the adjacent parking garage.
After dinner, stroll upstairs to the lounge for some craft cocktails and a view of the area. Come for the food, stay for the vibe.
Visit now before word gets out.
50 NW 24th Street,
Miami, FL 33127
Monday – Closed
Tuesday & Wednesday: 5:30 pm – 10:30 pm
Thursday: Lunch 12 pm – 3 pm/ Dinner 5:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Friday – Saturday: Lunch 12 pm – 3 pm/Dinner 5:30 pm – 11:30 pm
Sunday: Brunch 11am – 4pm
POSTED: February 2018
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