Twenty years ago, savvy diners and travelers half-expected a restaurant with phenomenal views to disappoint in the food department. A sweeping vista will almost always attract a clientele, so the kitchen doesn’t have to try as hard, went the conventional wisdom. But that’s changed in Europe and it’s changed in Miami.
Case in point: Coconut Grove’s newest rooftop restaurant and lounge, Level 6, is the kind of place with such dazzling views that you half-expect the cuisine to be merely passable. So, it comes as a welcome surprise that the menu has no weak links. An even bigger surprise is how seamlessly the dinner menu segues nicely into the restaurant’s new a la carte weekend brunch menu, which is offered every Saturday and Sunday.
Be prepared for a lively scene on the roof of the same building that houses Amal, which boasts its own excellent menu of modern Lebanese choices. Both venues demonstrate that Miami foodies are more than willing to embrace high-end cuisines other than Italian—both southern and northern—that the city has always done so well. Spanish cuisine is having a moment—Mareva 1939 in South Beach’s National Hotel is also rocking the tapas and Iberico.
The menu is carefully curated by Ink Entertainment’s corporate chef, Stuart Cameron, so brunchgoers can expect an elevated Spanish-inspired experience that incorporates a unique take on American breakfast classics and vibrant, herbaceous cocktails. Plan to linger, taste and cancel dinner plans. (The brunch is not especially heavy, but is so toothsome, that it’s hard to stop eating.) A good plan of attack: Start with seafood standbys, then move on to Spanish savory dishes that are Level 6’s signatures, and finish the meal with something sweet, if you still have room. And celebrate the day with a spirited—and colorful—Forbidden Fruit Sangria made with white wine, sherry lychee juice, lavender, butterfly pea powder, prosecco and fresh fruits.
Now, onto the sea: The oysters are fresh as can be, served with yuzu kosho mignonette, while the tuna tartare is accompanied by avocado, crispy lavosh crackers, truffle and crème fresh. The octopus has some snap, dressed with chickpeas, fingerling potatoes, salsa verde, Spanish olive oil, paprika and capers. All of this is light enough to merely whet the appetite. And, if you’re doing the meal correctly, you’re sharing everything.
It is essential to sample Level 6’s Spanish ham—jamón Ibérico bellota—which has a smooth, velvety texture, plus an impressive richness due to its generous marbling. This ham is a delicacy that comes from black Iberian pigs in Spain and Portugal, and the restaurant serves it two ways: on sourdough bread with tomato and Spanish olive oil, like bruschetta; and with marcona almonds. The thinly sliced ham is addictive, bound to be the centerpiece of the meal, so make sure you order enough for seconds. The jamón is nicely offset by the tomato salad enlivened by stracciatella—an utterly decadent traditional Italian cheese made from pulled mozzarella curds mixed with fresh cream.
By this point, you’ve probably realized that you haven’t indulged in any traditional breakfast items, a problem easily solved by ordering the Spanish French toast, which is fashioned with brioche, maple syrup, cinnamon sugar, ricotta cheese and strawberries. It’s insanely good, and hits the mark as a kind of dessert after that varied selection of savory tapas. That’s because dessert should end every meal, even brunch.