Weekend In Miami: Afterglo

After cruising the Lincoln Road area for dinner options but finding nothing, I wasn’t disappointed. After all, I had a back-up plan: Afterglo.

I had heard about Afterglo before we headed to Miami. Claiming its “beauty cuisine” is effective in beautifying the body both inside and out, the food at Afterglo is designed “to restore cellular health in the body, reverse the effects of aging, and reveal one’s true beauty.” Yeah, it sounded a little fruity, but we wanted to dine somewhere unusual, and Afterglo appeared to fit the bill. If it lived up to the hype, eating at Afterglo would be both good and good for us.

We had planned on eating at Afterglo for lunch, but when we walked by in the afternoon, the doors were shut: it’s a dinner-only place.

I had called ahead and asked if reservations were necessary. When the woman asked me what time I wanted the table, I told her 8 o’clock. She said, “You probably won’t need reservations.” But it was a Saturday night, I thought…

We showed up just past 8 and were amazed that we were the only ones in the restaurant. Guess we didn’t need that reservation, after all. By 9, two other tables were occupied. Note: Miami is a late-night city, and 8 o’clock is not considered late-night. In fact, it’s apparently early bird time.

Afterglo is beautiful inside. With an intimate Persian-esque atmosphere, the colors are soothing and luxurious.

I stopped and stared at the bar for a moment before heading to my seat. The rock literally glowed from within.

We ordered some drinks and took a look at the frequently-changing menu. After talking to our waiter — who was hip, but not pretentious; knowledgeable, but not condescending; sincere, and not smarmy — we decided to start with an appetizer. We ordered the Venison and Truffle Tataki: “Free-range venison with fresh shaved truffles, with a salad of julienned apples, crushed juniper berries, and spiced pumpkin seeds, drizzled with truffle oil, raw honey, pumpkinseed oil, and apple cider vinegar.” If you don’t think that sounds delicious, let me say that, for the record, it was so good, I forgot to take a picture of it. So instead, I’ll present this one:

Next, we ordered dinner. I ordered Wild Mushroom Stuffed Organic Chicken Breast: “Wild-harvested mushrooms and cave-aged gruyere-stuffed chicken breast with fig pangravy and organic grilled tamarind vegetables.”

My wife ordered a special: Mahi-mahi topped with mango salsa. In her enthusiasm to eat, the picture she took turned out a little blurry. You get the idea.

Both our meals were exquisite: the flavors were unusual but not conflicting, and the presentation made you eager to take the next bite. While I can’t say whether or not my cells were any healthier after eating my meal, I enjoyed the taste of every bite and I seriously felt healthy eating it. Therefore: time to order dessert.

I ordered The Beauty Inside: “A warm molten chocolate cake filled with an aromatic blue cheese ganache with a roasted pear compote, mixed berry sorbet, honey drizzle, and black pepper.” Pepper and chocolate? Blue cheese and chocolate? Weird, I know, but I was willing to try, since my entree had been so good. Not only was the description out-there, but the presentation was amazing, too!

My wife ordered the Honey Pot: “A walnut tartlette filled with banana cinnamon creme, topped with sliced banana and orange segments with an organic raw chocolate sauce drizzled with a choice of honey or agave syrup, and sprinkled with hemp seeds.” The Honey Pot is a totally raw dessert with absolutely no sugar added. It was unbelievably good. (Again, sorry for her enthusiasm.)

After eating, I had to ask our waiter what the unusual structure in the middle of the dining room floor was. First, he told me that it was reserved for small parties. Then, he added that on the first Saturday of each month, Afterglo holds an “Erotic Party Night.” Featuring pole-dancing, airbrush-artists, and fire-twirlers, the action revolves around this 16th-century marble gazebo surrounding the private elevated dining platform. Equal parts romantic and cool, I wished we’d eaten in there.

In total, dinner cost us $162, which was steeper than we expected, but this was the best dinner we’ve enjoyed in months. The food looked good, it tasted good, and it “felt” good, too. In other words, I wasn’t over-full from too much food or lethargic from food that was too heavy. However, don’t just take my word for it. Check out some of the other reviews of Afterglo:

  • Gayot: The kitchen takes what is essentially an all-organic, sustainable, seasonal and free-range pantry and creates some truly outstanding dishes.
  • Sun-Sentinel: It has a staff that is warm and friendly and that knows newcomers are not going to be instantly won over, so they make an effort to help. They won over everyone I took to the restaurant.
  • Miami Herald: Here’s what you’re missing if you haven’t yet tried this new South Beach stunner: Amazing, cutting-edge cuisine.

If you head to Miami, I certainly recommend trying Afterglo. Maybe I’ll see you there one Saturday night!