We just had the good fortune to be planning a celebratory lunch for a group of about 30, as well as an early-evening cocktail party for ~150 people. Since there are often requests for advice on similar events on this board, I thought I'd describe our experiences, both of which were excellent.
We did our lunch at Talula (one of my favorite places on the Beach, as I've said on this board before). We were getting started late for lunch (2pm) and so had the dining room to ourselves (could have also done in their nice outdoor patio area, but folks were going to be dressed up so we didn't want to risk the heat). They set up 2 long tables for us pretty much running the length of the dining room.
They planned a 3-course menu for our group with 2 options for app (the "house" salad w/ pepitas and cider vinaigrette, or a manchego & vidalia onion tart w/ a toss of arugula & dried cranberries), 3 for entree (salmon w/ asian noodles sugar snaps and hijiki, chicken milanese w/ watercress and a citrus jus, or papardelle w/ calabaza squash fontina and preserved lemon) and 2 dessert choices (key lime pie or dark chocolate cake w/ espresso cremoso). I had gone in expecting a set menu and was thrilled they were able to offer multiple choices.
They did a great job of getting everything out to the table (including some plain pastas for some of the kids in our group - though, as you can probably guess from my prior posts, not our kids, who ordered - and very much enjoyed - the salmon). The guests really loved the food - particularly big hits were the salmon (bland Atlantic salmon, but well-prepared with good crispy skin - an impressive feat when you're turning out dishes for a big group) and the chocolate cake w/ espresso cremoso. If there could be any complaint, it was that the tables were set up so close to each other that the servers struggled to squeeze in between and had to do a lot of reaching over heads to place and retrieve dishes, but this is a small quibble in an otherwise great group meal.
Obviously the food didn't fully showcase all the good stuff Talula's capable of doing like you'd get at a regular dinner (it was after all a group lunch, and we purposefully kept things rather tame to keep everyone happy) but it was exactly what we needed and our group really enjoyed it.
We planned our evening cocktail party at Andu, which is in the first floor of the new NeoVertika building in Brickell area (7th Street a little west of Miami Ave.). Our group took over their indoor bar area for a couple hours and we had some passed-around trays of finger foods. It's a great-looking space, windows all around, a big bar set at an angle, dark wood floors, some lounge-y type seating around the edges. Our group was a bit tight but not uncomfortably so. Service was efficient, I never saw anyone having to wait too long to get a drink. And the tapas-style hors d'oeuvres they prepared were great - a double-creme brie w/ candied apples; a Spanish-style tortilla served on a skewer; pancetta-wrapped prawns w/ a key lime aioli; and slices of lamb loin w/ nicoise flavors on focaccia. The latter 2 in particular were outrageously good (w/ several of our guests hoping to line up the prawns conveyor-belt style like Homer Simpson on the donut machine in hell).
We've still not had a dinner at Andu but everyting I've eaten there has been great, and so we really need to give it a try for a regular meal.
210 23rd St, Miami Beach, FL 33139
141 SW 7th Street, Miami, FL 33130