Atrio welcomes Miami Spice and other delectable cuisine By Betty Alvarez

Ario Restaurant and Wine Room is located in Conrad Miami Hotel’s Lobby Level 25 showcasing panoramic views of the Miami cityscape and bay. It’s a beautiful restaurant served as an appetizing allure to try the latest culinary delights in the Miami Spice and the a al carte menu.

For starters, a variety of warm bread was served along with an adequate portion plate of orange butter, mango butter, and a splash of Olive oil. We needed a second serving of the oil because the flavor had the perfect touch of what an olive oil needs to have. It was great complimenting the bread. I ordered a crisp Chardonnay. An excellent choice considering the cuisine we were about to eat. The mango butter was a first for me as I never tasted such richness and was a bit sweet. Yes, it did have a mango flavor but not too intense. Created by Chef Virgile Brandel, it was delish start that I had seconds! The orange butter was good but to my palate, it had more of the plain butter taste. Since I am more of an Olive Oil fan, I loved the type they served. It was from the Hacienda G Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil Blend which made you want to taste some more.

A variety of appetizers was served. From the A la Carte Menu, I ordered the Red Snapper Ceviche infused with Aji Amarillo, Cilantro, Ginger, and Yuzu. From the Miami Spice menu, one of my friends had the the Salmoon & Grouper Carpaccio served with shaved Bottarga & fine herb sorbet and the other had the Goat Cheese Salad with roasted beets and pecans. They both looked tasty and the presentation was excellent. My ceviche was the right portion and a great refreshing starter to wet my appetite for what was about to come.

As we entertained ourselves in the normal buzz of our lives, our entrees came. I ordered the Grilled Grouper dish that came with crispy yucca fries, pickled green papaya salad, and piri piri sauce under it. When I saw the pickled green papaya salad, I was scared. Anything with the word pickled meant to me lots of salt and processed. Although I was surprised when I tasted it. It just did not taste like a pickled green papaya but the onions that accompanied it really made the difference in the taste. The Piri Piri was a red sauce that I tasted with the grilled grouper. My friends ordered the Seared Scallops with Cauliflower mouseline, Cardamom cloud from the Miami Spice Menu. Also the Mushroom Cannelloni with a creamy gorgonzolla sauce also part of the popular annual menu. OK I tasted a bit of each. The seared scallops had a nice cooked flavor while the mushroom cannelloni was a warm pasta with the right portion.

Now lastly, dessert. An array of selections was served from the Miami Spice menu. Peach Trifle with Amaretto whipped cream layers; Farm Goat Cheesecake with raspberry coulis; Exotic Virgin Daquiri which had a mixture of Passion fruit, mango and kiwi with champagne granite which is more like a sorbet. This last one was rather refreshing and it was like tasting a champagne ice cream. However, the real kicker was the Warm Doughnut Bread Pudding. OMG! I wanted to order one for my own!! Each time I bite into one of these, I was in heaven as I tasted the warm and moist delicacy topped with a honey syrup that is to die for. If you get a chance to get it please do even if it is not in the Miami Spice menu.