Monday, December 1, 2008
Louis' List: Macaluso's
For almost a decade Macaluso's Italian Restaurant has proven itself among the top restaurants on South Beach, a favorite with celebrities and locals. But no reservations means you've got to wait. Unless you check out what's cooking next door. Tonight Louis Aguirre is putting Macaluso and Company's Italian Market on Louis' List.
WSVN -- Louis Aguirre: "This is gonna be nice. Wait until you see the flame come out of this thing."
When I'm in the mood for traditional Italian, there's only one place I go, Macaluso's on South Beach.
Louis Aguirre: "White clams, baby! There's nothing like it."
For almost 10 years, celebrities and foodies have flocked here, especially for owner/chef Michael D'Andrea's famous, award-winning meatballs.
But sorry, no reservations, and it's almost always packed, so be prepared to wait, unless you come for lunch. This is Macaluso's and Company, an Italian gourmet market and lunch joint Chef Michael opened right next door you can eat in.
Louis Aguirre: "Best meatballs in Miami, hands down."
Or you can take out.
Louis Aguirre: "That way I can have my fix of the meatballs if it's too crowded on the weekends."
On this day, I'm doing both.
Louis Aguirre: "How are you, man? You good? Are you making our lunch?"
Michael D'Andrea: "I'm making our lunch right now."
But first a quick tour.
Michael D'Andrea: "You can buy the sausages raw if you want to grill them at home."
Louis Aguirre: "Now these are the sausages you make here on the premises?"
Michael D'Andrea: "Yes, and then we do our chicken and veal cutlets and homemade meatballs."
And Michael makes a lot of meatballs.
Louis Aguirre: "You sell a thousand meatballs a week, and you're not sick and tired of rolling meatballs?"
Michael D'Andrea: "No, are you kidding? For nine years I'm the only one who's ever rolled my meatballs."
Louis Aguirre: "You don't give out to anyone else in the restaurant?"
Michael D'Andrea: "No."
Louis Aguirre: "You are that guarded with that recipe?"
Michael D'Andrea: "Yeah."
Louis Aguirre: "That you haven't even given your sous chef and member of your staff?"
Michael D'Andrea: "Well, Lou, it's not even the recipes anymore. It's tradition. It's superstition."
Tradition, superstition, whatever. The food's amazing here.
Louis Aguirre: "Well, this is my favorite, the eggplant. It rocks. So good."
Michael D'Andrea: "This is a sandwich that my family's been making for 35 years in Staten Island. It's such a big seller."
Louis Aguirre: "Are you crashing my lunch with Michael? What would be Macaluso's without Manny sitting here."
Crashing our party, celebrity photographer Manny Hernandez, Michael's best friend. Manny has taken all the celeb photos hanging all over the restaurant and eats here all the time.
Louis Aguirre: "Sausage and peppers, Manny?"
Manny Hernandez: "No, I'm gonna have some of this."
Louis Aguirre: "OK, Manny goes straight for the meatball."
As in meatball pizza. Yes, the famous meatball and a pizza together words do not describe.
Louis Aguirre: "Oh, my God, this is so good. Meatball pizza, it's all about the meatball pizza, even better the next day cold."
Michael D'Andrea: "This is the food that I was raised on. I eat my food three, four times a day, and this is it, and if people have been eating here long enough, they know that the quality is borderline health food."
Louis Aguirre: "You know when you think about it, you look at this real quick, you say, wow there's a lot of carbs here, but there really isn't. What is there? Bread, pizza dough, more bread and come on! You gotta close your eyes, and it's good."
It's so good and one of the few restaurants I go back from time and time again.
Louis Aguirre: "If you die, and you're known as nothing else, as the meatball king of South Florida, you'll be a happy man?"
Michael D'Andrea: "It's better than the food Nazi."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
1747 Alton Rd.
Miami, FL 33139