Morton’s Steakhouse- Coral Gables
I recently did a survey on Facebook asking my fans which steak they loved best: the Filet Mignon, the Porterhouse or the Ribeye. The results were pretty split among the three cuts, but one thing was certain. A hefty number of the population feels passionate about steaks! They were quick to share how they loved the tenderness of the filet mignon and the “best of both worlds” quality of the Porterhouse. But the winner among these meat lovers was the Bone in Ribeye. I can’t say I blame them.
Last week I was feeling a bit carnivorous and I took a drive over to Miracle Mile in Coral Gables, in search of a juicy steak to satiate my hunger. I immediately found my destination: Morton’s The Steakhouse, located at 2333 Ponce de Leon Blvd. I had been to this location a couple of times before for happy hour but it had been a while. The story behind Morton’s is quite interesting, comprised of elements that tend to intrigue us: the 70’s “Me Decade”, the Playboy Club, and a “Million-Dollar Hamburger”. It all started when its founders, Klaus Fritsch and Arnie Morton, worked together in the Playboy Club in Montreal. During a change of menu, Fritsch cooked a burger for Morton to sample. When Morton bit into it, he immediately wanted to know who was responsible for the creation of this burger. Fritsch, unsure of whether it was a hit or miss, nervously stepped forward. Morton exclaimed that it was the best burger he’d ever had, and from that day on, it became known as the “Million-Dollar Hamburger.” In 1978, they opened their first restaurant and the rest as they say, is history. Thirty years later, there are 69 locations to choose from.
The Coral Gables location is very well situated in the heart of the action. It is beautiful inside, boasting an elegant indoor ambiance and a separate bar with flat screen TVs for those days the Miami Heat are playing (like tonight). Morton’s also has outdoor seating, where patrons can sit and engage in people-watching up and down Ponce de Leon and The Mile.
From the moment we walked in, we were greeted in a warm and friendly fashion and taken to our table. Not long after that, Connie, our waitress, came by to welcome us with a nice loaf of warm onion bread. It was Friday and I wanted to unwind with a cocktail, so after I told Connie I liked my libations sweet, she suggested I try the French Raspberry; a Bartender’s Special made with Grey Goose Le Citron Vodka, Chambord and Pineapple Juice. I did and it was fabulous.
The menu at Morton’s is not your typical steakhouse menu. It has a great deal of variety and besides the meat, offers an impressive selection of seafood. I tried to resist the urge to order my trademark appetizer, but my deep love of it surpassed my desire for change. Thus, I started with the Ahi Tuna Tower. The minute Connie brought it out to us, it reminded me of my first trip to Pisa in Italy, and I nicknamed it the Leaning Tower of Tuna. It was a sight for tuna-loving eyes. A layered treat of refreshing, seasoned tuna, avocado, mango, pico de gallo and crushed wonton crisps sat slightly tilted on the plate, surrounded by a row of wonton chips. The combination of the simple, clean flavors blended together in mouth-watering harmony. As a second appetizer, we ordered the Jumbo Lump Crab Cake. The crabmeat was fresh and somewhat sweet, loosely held together in a palate-pleasing balance. The mustard mayonnaise that came on the side was delicious, and I found myself wondering what else I could dip in it.
We ordered some Pinot Noir as we decided on our entrees. Morton’s offers a vast selection of fine wines to pair with your meal. Since the seafood sounded as tantalizing as the steaks, we chose one of each: the Chicago Style Prime Bone-In Ribeye and the Chilean Sea Bass Filet a la Nage. The Bone-In Ribeye was juicy, richly marbled, and intense in flavor. I was glad I had an appetite because it was huge. The tender Chilean Sea Bass Fillet was poached in a court bouillon made with jumbo lump crab, lemon butter and asparagus. It gave the dish a rich, buttery taste that slightly lingered after every bite. It was pure delight! As a side dish, we shared the “Twice Baked” Au Gratin Potatoes, and once again, it was a hit. The potatoes were cheesy and velvety; complementing the entrees well.
When we ordered our main dishes, Connie explained that while they had a selection of decadent desserts we could order at the end of our meal, they also offered a few others that required a bit more preparation time. The two she mentioned were Morton’s Legendary Hot Chocolate Cake and their Grand Marnier Souffle. Once I heard “chocolate” and “soufflé”, the decision was made. We ordered both and once we finished our entrees, the eye-catching delights arrived. The molten lava cake was exquisite; with a light texture and a semi-sweet taste. It was served a-la-mode with creamy vanilla ice-cream. The Grand Marnier Soufflé was larger than any other I’d had before. It was a fluffy ending to a hearty meal. While we were finishing our desserts, I was able to snap a picture of the dessert tray and although I could not ingest another bite, I must say the sheer presentation of each was enough to make me want to start the whole adventure over.
Morton’s certainly lived up to their slogan this particular Miami evening, serving us The Best Steak…Anywhere, along with some other remarkable dishes along the way. Service was impeccable from beginning to end, and I noticed how the manager continuously walked around the dining area, speaking with the guests and ensuring all was well. After a couple of Frangelicos to help us digest this amazing feast, we were on our way. Until next time, Morton’s The Steakhouse! For more information, you can visit them online at http://www.mortons.com/ or call them directly at 305-442-1662.