The Continental

By: Dana Rozansky

Every diehard foodie has that one role model in the biz – someone who just consistently ups his or her game and never fails to impress.  Stephen Starr happens to be mine. For those of you who don’t know of Stephen (shame on you!) he is CEO & Founder of STARR Restaurants, which operates more than 30 top-notch establishments including Morimoto, Buddakan and Makoto, to name a few.

Ever since my first dining experience at Makoto, I was sold. He had me at the kobe beef carpaccio. Or was it the Japanese risotto?  While I don’t recall all of the details, I do recall the fact that I was hooked. As a South Miami girl, it’s no easy task to get me to trek up to North Miami Beach; however, for Makoto the “road trip” is always well worth it.

So ‘nuff bout Makoto (although I could go on for days) – we’re here to talk about one of Stephen Starr’s latest Miami ventures: The Continental.

While The Continental is new to us Miami folks, the original actually opened in Philly 20 years ago. Why Stephen has been holding out on us South Floridians is beyond me, but better late than never, right?

Upon first entering Continental, I realized this wasn’t your typical South Beach spot. This place had personality. Right off the bat I could tell that there was something unique, warm and charming about The Continental. Whether you opt to dine in the eclectic, retro dining room or prefer to feel the breeze in The Continental’s lush tropical patio, it’s always a win-win scenario.

Once settled, it’s cocktail time. The drink menu is one that’ll make you say, “I wasn’t going to drink tonight buuuut…” It’s okay, we’ve all been there. As your eyes dart from one surprisingly unique drink to the next, remind yourself there’s no need to panic and commit to one. There’s always room for round two – who’s with me?!

My personal favorite was the Dragonfruit Mule, a fuchsia-colored refreshment with Vodka, dragon fruit puree, fresh lime & ginger beer. With mule in hand, it was time to kick back and let the games begin.

Now I knew if the cuisine was half as creative as the cocktail list, I’d be a very happy girl…and with items such as cheesesteak egg rolls, I’d say Stephen Starr did not disappoint – no surprise there.

The menu is extensive and varied, so even your pickiest dining partners will be in good hands. That being said, I’d leave the picky friends at home and call up your favorite sharesies squad because the options are aplenty.

With Asian influences, you can expect show-stoppers like tempura shrimp bao buns and pastrami fried rice, as well as more “traditional” American items like lobster mac & cheese.

Below you’ll find some highlights from my super light dinner at The Continental.

Cheesesteak Eggroll with cherry peppers, american cheese, sriracha ketchup.

Cheesesteak Eggroll with cherry peppers, american cheese, sriracha ketchup.

ROASTED HEIRLOOM CARROTS WITH CITRUS, GREEK YOGURT, GINGER, HONEY, CRISPY QUINOA.

ROASTED HEIRLOOM CARROTS WITH CITRUS, GREEK YOGURT, GINGER, HONEY, CRISPY QUINOA.

Hong Kong Fooey with spicy kung pao chicken, peanuts.

Hong Kong Fooey with spicy kung pao chicken, peanuts.

Tacos Al Carbon with grilled steak and shrimp, rajas, queso fresco, salsa roja, and warm flour tortillas.

Tacos Al Carbon with grilled steak and shrimp, rajas, queso fresco, salsa roja, and warm flour tortillas.

Korean Fried Chicken with spicy soy-garlic lacquer, pickles.

Korean Fried Chicken with spicy soy-garlic lacquer, pickles.

Crackerjack Sundae with popcorn ice cream, caramel popcorn, toasted peanuts, caramel sauce.

Crackerjack Sundae with popcorn ice cream, caramel popcorn, toasted peanuts, caramel sauce.

Stephen, I’m glad you spent 20 years perfecting your craft in Philly before breaking out the big guns in Miami. Keep it coming!