One thing that I really find annoying when going out to eat is a boring menu. Items like "Steak & Potatoes", "Chicken & Rice", and "Seared Tuna & Salad" are way too safe and are also things I could easily make at home with minimal effort. I like food that combines different ingredients, sauces, and/or spices that make you think, "I like all of these things on their own, but can they really work together?", before you realize that they can and do very well. Its funny because when I was a kid I used to hate that my mom couldnt just make plain food. Her dishes would always have some spice, sauce, or twist to them and my unrefined palate wanted plain just like all the other kids had when I ate at their house. These days, when I dine out I want creativity, dammit. Luckily, I stumbled upon a restaurant that chants that same mantra. Its a little slice of heaven known as Whisk Gourmet Food & Catering and the food is anything but ordinary.
Whisk is located in a tiny strip mall on Le Jeune Road in Coral Gables, just off of US1. Owned and operated by the brother/sister tandem of Brandon and Kristin Connor, this tiny eatery really makes the best use of what little dining space it has. The layout of Whisk consists of 3 glass top tables with wicker chairs as seats along with a tiny stainless steel countertop with a few stools to sit on. The walls are creatively decorated with pictures of actual Whisk menu items, a chalkboard lists daily specials, and there are also shelves filled with supplies, though most are hidden from view by white curtains. Its cozy and inviting, and for those claustrophobic diners, orders can be called/faxed in for pickup.
The menu offers home style, gourmet dishes with ingredients obtained from local and organic purveyors. There are lots of healthy sandwiches, salads, and entrees, all of which sound delicious on paper. While looking over the daily specials last Friday, I found myself making the same sound in my head that Homer Simpson makes when he thinks about chocolate covered bacon. Its sort of an "Mmmmm..ahhhhhgggg" followed by some drooling. On my visit, I decided on one of the house specialties - Dry Marinated Skirt Steak with Caramelized Onions, Gorgonzola & Sliced Avocado Salad. I opted to have the meal without the onions since I have never really been an onion fan. This is where things got interesting. I got my entree and was told that the chef, Brandon, was going to give me some of the onions in a little cup on the side because they were so good that I HAD to at least try them. I chuckled and said, "Ok, I'll give it a shot." I figured if someone was that confident in his food that he would make a ballsy statement that a non-onion eater should try his caramelized onions, then the least I could do was give it a shot. I took the first bite without the onions and it was great. The steak was cooked to a spot on medium rare, which is a big deal to me. It was nicely marinated and the hefty portion of gorgonzola allowed me to take enough while ensuring I would have enough left for each remaining bite. After a few bites of the avocado salad, which had a killer mustard dressing, I decided it was time to try the onions. I piled a few on a bite of steak, added some gorgonzola, and took my first bite. The gorgonzola was the first thing I tasted, followed by the steak, but then there was this great flavor from the onions that was a perfect compliment. I sat there in disbelief as I chewed... I was eating caramelized onions! Up to this point, just looking at them made me shudder. Abandoning all of my inhibitions, I piled the rest on the steak and chowed down like it was my job to leave nothing but traces of steak juice on the plate.
Damn, that was good. The bill, including my iced tea, came to about $19 and I left a $6 tip because I was on a high from liking a vegetable that I had previously loathed. I will definitely be returning to try other menu items and I recommend this place to anyone looking for dynamite food made with fresh ingredients. Be sure to visit their website as well for catering and other services. Bon Apetite!
Whisk Gourmet Food & Catering
4702 S. Le Jeune Rd.
Coral Gables, FL 33146