You have no doubt heard about South Beach, Miami’s major entertainment destination with hundreds of nightclubs, restaurants, boutiques, hotels and the famous Art Deco District. And how about Bal Harbor, the city’s glamour and fashion capital? On my most recent trip, which just concluded at the beginning of the month, I had a chance to discover an area called “Mid-Beach.”
It was former N.D.G resident and one-time Just For Laughs Festival publicist Dejha Carrington who pointed me in the Mid-Beach direction. “This is the old school part of Miami Beach where much of the colonial and deco architecture, mom and pop shops and small boutiques reside,” she said.
The major attraction for my party was Mid-Beach’s newest restaurant. Rare Steakhouse is located at 468 West 41st Street, also known as Arthur Godfrey Road. It is just at the tip of the Art Deco District and considered a significant Miami business drags as well as the hub of Jewish community activity. This is a certified kosher establishment, but you would not necessarily know that from the items on the menu or the way in which they are served. Take the faux crab cakes for instance. Montrealers won’t have too much trouble translating the “faux” into “fake” yet when you eat them they tatse like the real thing. There was an immediate Montreal connection as we got seated. Our waitress, Karen Limor is a former Kirkland resident who was also part of the Dollard des Ormeaux synchronized swim program.
At Rare (www.raresteakhousemiami.com), steak selections are cut fresh and cooked-to-order on a wood burning grill, and served with four house-made steak sauces – béarnaise, house spicy barbeque, chimichurri and creamy horseradish. Fish selections include macadamia nut, crusted chilean sea bass, sweet potato mashed in a balsamic reduction, citrus salmon served with baby bok choy , peppercorn crusted seared tuna, asparagus in a wasabi aioli. Lighter fare draws guests to a choice of seven salads, while best sellers are often battered, bunned and slow-cooked – beer battered chicken siders and short ribs Eight side dishes are available a la carte. The lamb chops cut like butter while the dessert menu changes regularly. There is a terrific kids menu for those 12 and under at a beyond reasonable $8 per item.
Mid-Beach, I am told, was made particularly famous when the late Jackie Gleason filmed his popular television show here decades ago. Miami Beach has 7.1 miles of beach along its coast, with hotels edging the sidewalk. North beach is the largest stretch of beach with a very active boardwalk that spans the length of the beach. This is a great spot for families, although parents should be aware that some women may be topless. The surf is shallow, the sand is fine and lifeguards are on duty. There are concession stands at the south end of the beach, and you can rent chairs, jet skis and shaded chairs. You will find North Beach at the corner of 73rtd Street and Ocean Terrace.
Take some time if you can to check out the Art Deco District. Famous for its architecture, beaches and nightlife, this is the only place in the United States that that has been designated a National Historic District. More than 800 buildings that were built in the 1930s and 40s are what give the Art Deco District its distinct style. Ocean Drive, Collins Avenue, and Washington Avenue constitute the Art Deco section of South Beach, which has also been named the ‘American Riviera.’ You can take a typical walking tour by the Art Deco district to learn more about the history and architecture of the area.
For more information on North Miami Beach go to http://www.citynmb.com/