Had a great time tonight with my two partnered (with each other) lady friends from Brickell, who live in a condo on Brickell Bay Drive facing the bay and Key Biscayne. One's a lawyer and the other's a nurse. I've known them for years (the lawyer at least 20). Upon my arrival, we walked a couple of blocks west from their place to Dolores but you can call me Lolita, where we had dinner. We sat outside on the upper deck beneath a canopy. This restaurant, the old Firehouse Four, offers two groups of fixed-price dinners (one $18+ and the other $23+) that include an appetizer, of which there's a large assortment. I had gazpacho for my appetizer and oven-roasted prime rib with a mushroom Cabernet reduction ($23+). All the desserts are $2.50, so we had those, too. I had the tiramisu (excellent--tasted like more). I'm not a big fan of your typical bloody prime rib, but I was hungry and this was good--a generous portion served up sliced and bathed in the gravy. It also came with a potato side dish (OK). The menu offered a nice variety of entrees. I'd go back there again (esp. if I could walk there).
The restaurant sits across a side street just south of Mary Brickell Village. This is a new development that encompasses approximately two city blocks. It's attractive enough and has kind of an Old Key West feel and is totally pedestrian-oriented (you can have your car valet-parked or save some money and drive yourself into the enormous garage, which is disguised as an apartment building, of which there are many in the area). Unfortunately, the development is suffering in the current economic climate. And apparently it also suffers from a drainage problem. My friends told me that when it rains a lot, the water actually comes up through the drains (vs. going down) and seeps into the stores on the ground level. (I did see a lot of sand bags sitting around outside the stores.) I would hope this can be corrected.
I used to work on Brickell but hadn't been down there in maybe 10 years. While it has changed a lot--new skyscrapers and other commercial buildings that have replaced the houses and low-rise apartments in this once residential area--it has also stayed much the same. The beauty of this old area of Miami, to me, has always been the mature shade trees (live oaks, banyans, mahoganies). The trees are still there. And Mary Brickell Village shares its new space with a lush urban park--a little preserve of the dense hardwood hammock that once comprised the area. (See here.)