Very recently we went to a pop up at what is usually the restaurant ‘Navé’ in Coconut Grove. As 2020 arrived the team there were just getting underway with a menu featuring seafood and pasta complete with a special pasta production room. But then the pandemic struck. They closed entirely for awhile and went into survival mode with the other businesses in that excellent group’s sphere which include Ariete, the flagship, Chug’s Diner and the Taurus Whiskey Bar. Now they are taking careful measures and offer a ‘pop up seafood shack’ on the weekends. It is a ‘shack’ in it’s soul but it is no wooden, makeshift building on a parcel of sand. My wife, Janet and I sat at the edge of the patio. Daylight savings time had just begun … so the sunlight was softening already. While I studied the short but enticing offerings I ordered half of a dozen Kusshi Oysters on the half shell. It was hard to decide what to go with. My appetite was growing. But a decision had to be made. Next Janet and I shared the “Blackened Scallops”. I almost never order scallops at a restaurant after having been presented so many that were bloated with water and sodium, a cheap trick to inflate the pricing by wholesalers. Or also … served scallops that were starting to … turn. That is as in ‘turn bad’. As in … not good. But with Chefs Michael Beltran and Justin Flit in the kitchens, whether cooking or overseeing I knew we were in proper hands. And I was right. The scallops were expertly seasoned, seared, with a spicy crust and a sweet, marine interior.
Now it’s time to hit the ‘Listen on WLRN’ button at the top to hear the remainder of my show. ‘A Word On Food’ airs on WLRN every Saturday around 8:30 a.m. at 91.3 and also 91.5 on the radio. I want to thank so many of you who tell me in person how much you are enjoying the show! Please check out my Instagram photos and my new IG TV cooking videos @normanvanaken