7 Meals in 7 Nights: Wednesday - Jaguar, Coconut Grove
I woke up Wednesday morning still feeling full from the final round of the Pizza Crawl and wondering if Id even be able to eat anything all day. I tallied 8 slices consumed by me the night before (4 full slices at Fratelli la Buffala and 8 half slices at Casale), not to mention about 4 beers and then a few bourbons afterwards. That's a lot of 'za.
After another long day at work and only eating a cup of soup for lunch, I headed home with the intention of giving up my quest for 7 meals in 7 nights. I was just too full and it was clouding my brain and preventing me from figuring out where I would eat that night. Just as I got on 95, my friend/neighbor gave me a buzz. I hadn't seen her in awhile so when she said, "I'm running some errands then wanted to see if you wanted to meet up at Jaguar later?", I was happy to oblige. The quest was back on!
I eat at Jaguar a lot. To me, its the best spot in the Grove for good food on a consistent basis. I have a few options that I order depending on my mood. If I'm really hungry, I get the ceviche spoon sampler (2 nuevo, 2 black market, 2 oriental is the way to go) and then follow up with the Shrimp Casserole*. If I'm in a simple mood, I go with the burger which comes topped with chorizo for a nice hearty touch. The Mexican Lasagna has also been on my radar but I haven't taken the plunge yet. If I want a light meal, I go with the ceviche sampler on its own or I start with the ceviche sampler and then move on to a 1/2 Caesar salad with chicken. The Caesar at Jaguar is one of the best Ive ever had as they use just the right amount of creamy Caesar dressing and the lettuce is always crisp. The 1/2 portion option with chicken is a steal at $8 too.
Being that I was still full from the night before, I just went with the ceviche sampler and a Woodford Reserve on the rocks. They serve up some great chips and spicy salsa while you wait for your meal, so I really didn't need more than the ceviche. If you go to Jaguar, be sure to ask for the "Salsa de la Muerte" or "Death Sauce". Its very spicy but it tastes awesome with the chips or you can kick up your ceviche with a few drops. Trust me, you'll have a sweat going in no time. The Oriental ceviche pairs tuna, ginger, avocado, lime, sesame, jalapeno, and cilantro and is usually the first spoon I eat. The Nuevo comes with choice of shrimp or calamari, aji amarillo, ginger, soy, and lime. I like the texture of the calamari best with this spoon so that's how I always order it. The Black Market has white fish, shrimp, calamari, aji amarillo sauce, and corn. I think my favorite is the Nuevo overall though the Black Market is a pretty close 2nd.
I really like the dining space at Jaguar. They have a nice, long bar with plenty of stools along with about 4 leaf-shaped hightops and 2 lowtops. There is also a little seating area just past the bar where many sit for their "Thirsty Thursday" wine tastings. The wine tastings are from 7p - 830p and offer samples of 6 different wines plus steak/chicken skewers and assorted ceviche spoons for $15 plus tax/tip. Its a pretty good deal and a good way to meet people too. The only negative I noticed on the few nights Ive participated is how selfish people in Miami can be. Only a certain amount of skewers and spoons were coming out and rather than take one so everyone had a chance to eat, people were loading up like inconsiderate pigs. Last time I went was over 6 months ago so hopefully things have changed by now. The main dining area has plenty of tables and I also really like the high ceilings. Jaguar has a nice vibe, really mellow, non-intrusive music, and an effective layout for groups or dining solo.
With my 3rd meal in 3 nights under my belt, I headed home to enjoy a few more bourbons outside in my courtyard, strum the guitar, and catch up on some blog reading. Before long it was time for bed and I was already getting excited for my meal at Naomi's Grill in Sunday Isles. Stay tuned for more on that...
*The Shrimp Casserole offers 4 shrimp with aji amarillo and 4 with salsa negra along with white rice. This replaced my favorite dish on the menu and also what I considered the best offering on the menu: the Shrimp Trio. Shrimp Trio had 3 grilled blackened shrimp with salsa negra, 3 fried shrimp with a sweet mango(not sure if Im remembering this sauce correctly) sauce, and 3 sauteed shrimp with an aji amarillo sauce plus the rice in the middle. Id eat all 3 groups and then mix up all the sauce with the rice. It was awesome and it hurt me to see it go. I havent tried the Shrimp Casserole yet mostly because nothing will ever replace my Shrimp Trio... :(