As we were finishing up our meal at “Mama Joon,” a new “vegetarian friendly” restaurant at the base of the Life House Hotel (2216 Park Avenue, Miami Beach), our server claimed “the best dessert on the menu” was the “Olive Oil Cake” —pomegranate coulis, baklava ice cream ($10).
While many associate butter with baking, when used to make breads and desserts, olive oil can yield more moisture, tenderness, and richness. (Extra-virgin olive oil, for example, can add a peppery, grassy, and even a “bitter” kick.)
Some extoll the nutritional benefits of this liquid, which is high in oleic acid. Not only does it reportedly reduce inflammation, but helps prevent strokes and heart disease. And in addition to being loaded with antioxidants, it even adds some vitamins (E and K) to the mix.
Putting all those health related attributes aside, we didn’t think the combination worked here, as we found the cake dense, dry, and surprisingly flavorless. And while recipes certainly vary, we were hoping that that the baklava ice cream would be infused with discernible pistachios and walnuts and that some distinctive honey would be employed here. Alas, no. (The sweetness of the coulis overpowered the dish, and not in a good way.)
While the $10 ask (before tax and tip) was only slightly bothersome, that this lumpy mess failed to please, is what earned this final course a lowly, near-failing “C-.”
But notwithstanding that falter, if you happen to be in the area (and it’s a beautiful day), ask to be seated outside on the patio and enjoy the view of Collins Canal — an unusual Miami Beach perspective. That, alone, is worth the trip. (Even if just once.)
# # #
Follow Lucas on Instagram: @lucasaferrara