Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Louis' List: Red Light Restaurant
For years now Biscayne Boulevard has been cleaning up it's act. Upper Biscayne is now known as Miami's Upper East-side, home to some of South Florida's newest, most exciting restaurants. Tonight, Louis Aguirre takes us to one in the most unlikeliest of corners. Check out what's on Louis List this time.
WSVN -- When the sun sets on the corner of Biscayne and 79th Street, the red light comes on.
No, no, not that red light! This one.
"The food here is mind blowing man."
"I love it!"
This is the Red Light Restaurant in the new Motel Blu. Once the swanky and stylish Gold Dust in the heydays of the 50s and 60s, most recently a notorious crack and hooker motel on Miami's Upper East-side.
Doug Patel: "This used to be the dodgiest hotel. I mean we looked at this property six years ago, and it was ridden."
Louis Aguirre: "Prostitution, drug use."
Doug Patel: "Yeah, it was crazy. Even the rats in the rooms were selling dope."
That is until brave new owners Doug and Chris Patel bought the place and cleaned it up big time.
Louis Aguirre: "So it's safe to say you guys don't rent these rooms by the hour anymore."
Doug Patel: "No, not at all."
Enter pioneer South Florida chef Chris Wessel. For the past 20 years, Wessel has worked in some of the best restaurants in South Florida and decided to open up his new joint right here.
Chris Wessel: "Even though there were crack addicts sleeping in the motel and in this restaurant, next to the water, it looked like the perfect place for people to sit down and eat."
Yeah, folks, it doesn't get seedier or sexier or more delicious, so good it's where other great chef's come to graze.
"Chris Wessel's the man. He's the man, I love his barbecue shrimp it's actually delicious."
Louis Aguirre: "Julie, hi! How are you? Are you making my drink?"
Julie Ann: "Yes, I am. Look at this."
And, trust me, it's an experience from the moment you walk in the door.
Julie Ann: "It's going to come out of your nose like a dragon."
Louis Aguirre: "That's so weird! I got brain freeze now!"
Did I tell you? This place is smoking hot.
Louis Aguirre: "I got smoke!"
The cuisine, regional South Florida, mostly fresh seafood with a New Orleans twist.
Chris Wessel: "I grew up in New Orleans, and I'm very familiar with the red light districts there, and I'm also familiar with a lot of the food."
While Chris prepares the meal, I hit the downstairs patio with mixologist and manager Julie Ann, my date.
Julie Ann: "We have our bar here downstairs where we're going to do our happy hour. I love it down here. It's very pretty down here."
Chris Wessel: "Well, the first course, I have a raw bar downstairs, so I'm gonna set you up with some aphrodisiac style oysters."
Louis Aguirre: "I'm gonna slurp it."
Julie Ann: "Slurp it. I'm sure it's loose, I'm sure he took care of us."
Up next, Chris' famous barbecue shrimp, a definite must get!
Chris Wessel: "Then I'm going to go into a nice barbecue shrimp. We'll give you a good flavor of my spice."
So outrageously good.
Louis Aguirre: "That's the best barbecue shrimp I've ever had in my life."
It's a good thing it comes with slices of baguette to soak up every last drop.
Chris Wessel: "Then I'm going to go give you some Florida spiny lobster, which is in season as of last week."
Julie Ann: "It's a spiny lobster served with a chyote meal vuiton squash, stuffed with squash and shrimp and a little Parmesan cheese."
Louis Aguirre: "It is good, really good. Really good."
Julie Ann: "Cut in half and pan roasted."
The meal was truly exceptional.
Louis Aguirre: "Thanks, man. Delicious!"
And when Chris comes down to join us, once again I tell him how absolutely crazy I find it to have a meal this good on the infamous corner of Biscayne and 79th Street.
Louis Aguirre: "We're bring you back."
Chris Wessel: "Yeah."
Julie Ann: "Bringing it back to life."
Louis Aguirre: "Yeah, bravo, my friend. Cheers to you!"
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
7700 Biscayne Blvd.
Miami, FL 33138