My Day Off: The Setai… (Miami Beach)

December 18th, 2009 by Vanilla Ice


Welcome to: Where I Spent My Day Off —by a NYC Restaurant "Insider"

So, what do you do in the industry?
I’m an architect, but I worked in the F&B/Nightlife industries for about 8 years as both a waitress and a doorperson at several [very popular] places in NYC.

And you have how many days off a week, generally?
Right now, ostensibly, I have weekends off, but often I end up working one way or another either one or both of those days. When I worked in nightlife, usually I had 2 to 3 days off a week.

What did you do for breakfast yesterday?
I was up pretty early so I ordered room service and had coffee and pastries while I did some work on my laptop. My boyfriend ended up sleeping in ’til later in the morning, which turned out well, since I was able to get a lot more work done. When he finally got up, he said he wasn’t hungry, so we skipped breakfast and headed straight for the beach.

The Setai is very close to the W where we’re staying, so we decided to leave our things and walk over and have lunch at the pool bar there. It’s actually one of my favorite places on the beach; I think the food is great there. We had the caprese salad and the caesar salad, which were both very good, but the ceviche was the best dish of all. It was a twist on a classic ceviche, with sour mango and jicama— so fresh and delicious. I also had a lychee martini, because the Setai makes the best one I’ve ever had— it’s not too sweet, because they use fresh lychee instead of the canned syrupy stuff. I don’t normally go for sweet tropical drinks, but it’s Miami!

And afterward?
Went back to our beach chairs and stayed a few more hours just lounging around. We ordered a bottle of white wine and enjoyed the sun and ocean. What a gorgeous day it was.
Afterward we decided to go for a walk on the promenade, and since we ended up walking farther than we thought, I sent a message to a friend of mine from NYC that we happened to run into the day before at the W bar. I haven’t seen her in years, and she and her husband just happened to be in Miami the same weekend!
She answered my text message pretty quickly, so we decided to stroll over to the Mondrian where they were staying. I had planned at some point to go and see it anyway, so that worked out really well.
When we got to the Mondrian, they were sitting by the pool in a cabana, so we just joined them for a drink. It turns out there’s a great view of the sunset from the bay side of Miami Beach, so it was beautiful to hang out there.
When I’d been booking our hotel for this visit, I actually couldn’t decide between the Mondrian and W, but because my boyfriend likes the beach, I chose the W. Well, evidently, Mondrian guests have access to the Delano beach, which I didn’t realize. If I had known that, I probably would have booked us at the Mondrian instead. It’s a very cute hotel, and even though I think the W is also very nice, somehow the crowd at the Mondrian seems cooler and more urbane to me. I think next time I’ll very likely try staying at the Mondrian.

We left our friends so that they could get showered and ready for dinner and took a walk back down the promenade toward the beach. I guess we were getting tired, because the walk seemed longer, and my boyfriend started feeling hungry. It was still early though (about 6:30PM) so we decided to just pop into Nobu for a light nibble, because he loves it. We weren’t dressed, so we just sat at the bar, which worked out fine, because apparently the dining room doesn’t open until 7PM anyway.
We ordered a medium-sized bottle of sake and had the shishito peppers, the rock shrimp and the yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño. I felt like we didn’t order that much at all, but that still ended up being $144 (including auto-gratuity).

And afterward?
Went back to the hotel to shower. It just so happens our friends that were staying at the Mondrian had reservations at Mr. Chow, so we planned to meet them there later. We weren’t hungry anymore after our meal at Nobu, so we just decided to sit by the pool and have another drink.
We stopped into Mr. Chow to see our friends, and even though we had only planned to join them for drinks and not dinner, it turned out they had two extra seats at their table anyway, so we sat down with them. Since we weren’t that hungry, we just had the chicken satay, the quail lettuce wraps and the shrimp spring rolls (which, obviously, are Mr. Chow classics). There seemed to be a lot of familiar faces there that night, and Michael Chow even stopped by the table to say hello.
Then after dinner, we all decided to check out Wall. Seeing the doorman initially was a turnoff, but he ended up being very nice. Inside was very dark (despite the neon laser light show patterns) and loud, so we ended up just taking a quick look around and leaving, because none of us were feeling into that kind of scene. So we just went to the main lobby bar instead, which was a lot more comfortable and easy-going.

How much did you blow today?
Oh god, I don’t even know. But I guess if I had to estimate? For everything all day? Maybe about $425? (Our friends got the check at Mr. Chow, and my boyfriend paid the tab at the W lobby bar).




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7 Responses to “My Day Off: The Setai… (Miami Beach)”

  1. virgo Says:

    awesome. my bf and i are going to miami in a few weeks, and both w and mondrian look good. he usually likes the standard, but i don’t like it that much. mondrian it is.

  2. abbe Says:

    hi virgo!
    i have to warn you, though— don’t plan on sleeping before 3AM. the Mondrian has parties… and they’re loud.

    also if you do decide to stay there, personally i would spring for a bay view with a balcony, because i don’t think i would have enjoyed it nearly as much without one.

    ironically, i think i may actually try staying at the W next time. it’s not that i didn’t enjoy the Mondrian, but i felt like it was just… okay.
    theRaleigh used to be my all-time favorite hotel in miami beach (where i would stay about every 8-10 weeks for like 2 years), but now that it’s not an AB, i just figured i’d try something else.

    anyways, have a good trip :)

  3. BS Detector Says:

    Isn’t it weird that there’s no Spice Market at W Miami? What’s more Miami than Spice Mkt? What’s up with that?

  4. Dishwasher Says:

    Hey BS, there’s still a big space vacant at W Miami, right next to where Mr. Chow is. There’s always a poss that might be made into a Spice Market..

    On the other hand, the reason that the W in Miami is nicer and more upmarket than most W’s, is b/c they couldn’t get the licensing and permits to build the hotel there unless they sold a certain amount of units as condo. So they built everything more upscale to attract those purchasers. It’s poss that Spice Market isn’t considered upmarket enough for the Miami property. I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried to open a more upscale JG rest there than SM tho. ;)

  5. Dishwasher Says:

    Hey Abbe, are you looking forward to the Cipriani opening up the street?? ;)

  6. Dave B Says:

    Actually Mondrian is also selling units, but they haven’t sold that many. W was lucky, because they did very well selling during pre-construction before the crash.

  7. BS Detector Says:

    Ah. Thanks Dishwasher.

    But don’t know if a more upmarket JG concept is the answer. Remember Bouley’s crash and burn with Evolution? And that was the Ritz.

    From what you say, Mr. Chow sounds like a good fit. There aren’t that many concepts that have expanded to multiple locations and still keep their cache. If Cipriani is building their own hotel up the street, then guess that rules them out.

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