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Old Friends in New Hands

BY LEE KLEIN

Crystal Cafe

"Few restaurants are more associated with their chef/owner than Crystal Cafe was with Klime Kovaceski. The Macedonian-born charmer somehow managed to work the kitchen and dining room simultaneously -- all night, every night, six days a week. For ten years. On Mondays, when Crystal was closed, he'd come in and take calls, place orders, adjust the lighting, create new music compilations to play in his restaurant. Kovaceski was simply the hardest-working chef in town. Yet while he'd make frequent forays into the dining room to chat it up with customers, it was his lovely French-Canadian wife Huguette who molded the wait staff into the most efficient around; service was so superior that you'd swear you were in another city altogether. The Kovaceskis consistently courted and coddled their clientele with great care, so it must be coming as quite a shock to those regulars as they waltz in for dinner and discover that Klime has left the building."

miaminewtimes.com | originally published: February 17, 2005

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Crystal Cafe

by Mobil Travel Guide

"Crystal Cafe is one of those intimate, quaint neighborhood spots that every community should have. Owned by chef Klime Kovaceski, this restaurant serves generous portions of inventive New Continental cuisine at moderate prices, with warm, attentive service. What’s not to love? What’s more, the impressive menu offers something for every craving, serving impressive dishes of the eclectic genre, with everything from foie gras to tuna tartare and duck à l’orange."



Crystal Café   2004
"There is something specific to this highly honored Miami Beach culinary institution. Chef-proprietor Klime Kovaceski has successfully done what other restaurateurs have been unable to in the past: foster a very New York bistro-type environment, feel and overall restaurant experience. That is, Crystal Café is elegant and handsome and features legitimately top-notch service. But, at the same time, there is no sense of pretense and Kovaceski knows his regulars by name (regulars who, by the way, include a handful of celebrities – but the low-key Kovaceski does not like to drop those names often). Those regulars and visitors in-the-know come not just for the comfy environment and personable proprietor. They come for the New Continental Cuisine – classics from the Continent reconfigured for American tastes and sensibilities. The result is uniformly perfected dishes featuring an abundance of fresh herbs and other accents to replace heavier sauces. You can’t really go wrong with the menu – it’s merely a matter of taste. But keep an eye out for the chef’s specials, as Kovaceski is always experimenting with new dishes. A dinner-for-two option launched just last year has contributed yet more to this much-awarded Beach institution".

Crystal Café 2005
"This restaurant offers “New Continental” cuisine, meaning it centers on international cuisine. The prestigious eatery has been making a splash in North Beach since it opened in 1994. For the past seven years, Crystal Café has received Florida Trend magazine’s Golden Spoon award, one of the only restaurants in the area to do so. Location: 726 Arthur Godfrey Road (41st Street), Miami Beach."


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     Restaurants & Institutions Celebrates  Ivy Award Winners

KLIME KOVACESKI OF CRYSTAL CAFE NOMINATED FOR IVY RESTAURATEUR OF DISTINCTION AWARD.

Who are the nations best restaurateurs? Various food-related publications seek to answer that question, but the IVY Restaurateur of Distinction Award is, according to Restaurants & Institutions magazine, The most highly-prized accolade. In all of the food service, it is the only award voted on by the best, most experienced judges: Peers and colleagues of the distinguished nominees, along with previous IVY award winners of professional excellence.

Nominations for the 2002 IVY Restaurateur of Distinction Award have recently been announced. In all of the United States there are only 71 establishments nominated, and just 5 in the state of Florida--one of these being Crystal Cafe in Miami Beach.

When Klime Kovaceski, chef/owner of Crystal Cafe, is asked how it could be that his small restaurant could be nominated for such a big award, he replies: "Only in America".


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from AOL City Link:

Crystal Cafe
Clearly one of Miami Beach's best

726 W. 41st Street
Miami Beach, FL 33140

From the Editors
"If you drive too fast off of the Julia Tuttle causeway onto Miami Beach's Arthur Godfrey Road, you'll likely miss the storefront that happens to house one of Miami Beach's best restaurants. Contemporary in a classic, understated yet elegant way, Crystal Cafe is the constant recipient of awards thanks to its incredible wine list and even more incredible menu. Chef/owner Klime Kovaceski prides himself on serving a steady stable of regulars whose names, favorite dishes, birthdays and anniversaries he always seems to know. And while Chef Klime, as he's affectionately known, is full of flair himself, his dishes scream with personality. The veal medallions wrapped in applewood smoked bacon in a red wine demi glace is one of the best dishes, but come to think of it, you can't go wrong with anything on this ever-evolving menu. Pan-seared foie gras, osso bucco or any of the pasta dishes are unlike anything you've probably tasted and will likely propel you back to Crystal Cafe and ultimately into the little -- or not so little -- black book of Chef Klime's ever-expanding roster of happy regulars. -- Lesley Abravanel (Photo: Brett Hufziger) "


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September/October 2004
The Hottest & Sexiest Restaurants in Miami
When the sun begins its nightly descent - it's time for dinner! In the very sexy city of Miami, the meal is about much more than food and many restaurants in this sultry city emit a form of sensuality for couples to savor. Goce!


Chef Klime Kovaceski prepares an aristocratic ambience with his classic recipes

Crystal Cafe
"Chef Klime Kovaceski has taken classic recipes and modified them to better serve the American public of today. An aristocratic, romantic room with crisp white linens, fresh flowers, extensive wine list and what is generally regarded as the best service on Miami Beach, Crystal Cafe has quietly become one of the most acclaimed restaurants in South Florida.
Start your romantic dinner off by selecting one of the more than 100 bottles of vintage and house wines, available by the glass, half and full bottle.

Appetizers recommended by recent guests include the soft-shell crab, served pan-seared in a radicchio-arugula cup with roasted macadamia nuts and lobster sauce. Entrees include the grilled Mahi Mahi brochette, served with onions, peppers and mushrooms.

Be prepared to share a delicious dessert with your date at the Crystal Cafe.. The Palacinka is a soft, golden crepe overflowing with ripe raspberries, blueberries and strawberries, topped with chopped walnuts.

The Crystal Cafe is located at 726 Arthur Godfrey Rd., Miami Beach."

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Crystal Café

726 41st St., Miami Beach, FL,  USA
 
 
"Classic dishes like Beef Stroganoff and chicken paprikash are updated and lightened up here; osso buco falls off the bone. More contemporary items include chicken Kiev, stuffed with goat cheese and topped with a tricolor salad, and pan-seared duck breast with raspberry sauce. Multiple Golden Spoon award-winning Macedonian chef-proprietor Klime Kovaceski takes pride in serving more food than you can possibly manage, including home-baked rhubarb pie. AE, D, DC, MC, V. Closed Mon. No lunch."

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Crystal Cafe

2000/2006, Four-Diamond Award for Six    Consecutive Years.

North America's Finest Restaurants

Luxurious, Fine Dining, Excellent Service


RESTAURANT DETAILS
 
"Cozy romantic dining room with soft, indirect lighting and good use of mirrors. One of the specialties is the osso bucco that is done with a French flair. A large menu offers a variety of meat, seafood and pasta entrees. A nice wine list complements this menu. Several half bottles are also available."


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Crystal Cafe an enduring gem

By Sue Mullin

Miami Herald

Rating

Blame it on his osso buco.

"He" is chef-owner Klime Kovaceski, and I am in love with the artistry of his classic dishes at Crystal Cafe, a Miami Beach gem with impeccable service and white-linen ambience where he has presided for more than a decade.

Kovaceski's spectacular osso buco is just one example. The Macedonian-born chef's delightful hybrid style draws on the great cuisines of Italy, Eastern Europe and France. Other complex dishes on his menu include saffron-scented bouillabaisse, crispy duck a l'orange, beef stroganoff and grilled calf's liver with onion-veal reduction and applewood bacon.

An appetizer of palacsinta, a Hungarian pancake, is plump with scallops, julienned carrots, fresh basil and lobster sauce.

Duck breast is sliced into pan-seared medallions and served with a raspberry sauce, a lovely, leek-accented risotto plus a side of garlic-kissed mashed potatoes.

Chicken paprikash is whisked to the table in a chafing dish nearly overflowing with chunks of tender chicken in a tomato and red bell pepper sauce seasoned with the finest Szaz Hungarian paprika.

The wine list is remarkably comprehensive, with 174 bottles including more than two dozen by the half bottle. (The full list and menu, including prices, is posted on the restaurant website.)

A grand finale seems in order, and Kovaceski doesn't disappoint. From pecan pie, guava mousse, tiramisu, apple pie, berries sabayon and a berry-stuffed palacsinta, we choose the chocolate bombe. It is warm and dark, rich and wonderful, the ice cream laced with custard and pistachios and topped with whipped cream and strawberries. We feel like applauding, but are much too full."

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CRYSTAL CAFE  

Food  Decor  Service  Cost

26       20        25     $38

Mid & North Beaches

726 41st St. (bet. Chase & Prairie Aves.)
Miami Beach, FL, 33140-2741 (305) 673-8266

"Sophisticates" find "fine dining" that "satisfies all the senses" at this "superb", almost-"secret" "spot" supervised by "super-talented" chef-owner Klime Kovaceski; "extraordinary European-style creativity from the kitchen" combines with "intimate", "formal ambiance" (recently upgraded) and "excellent service", adding up to a "wonderful" Continental experience that's got fans saying "hats off."


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Klime Kovaceski of Crystal Cafe 
Best Chef
Miami

The Verdict
This is not your father's wiener schnitzel. New Continental cuisine is lucky to have this talented patron.

Under the Radar
One of Miami's Best

Nominated for Best Chef for his subtle yet perfect interpretations of Continental cuisine.

Families Welcome
Crystal Cafe is one of the only local fine dining establishments to provide high chairs and toys for children.

In the Front Room
Kovaceski's wife, Huguette, manages the wait staff.

Making the Rounds
The chef tours the dining room to talk to patrons several times a night. In a culinary scene marked by celebrity chef/owners who name their restaurants after themselves, Klime Kovaceski is an oddity. Not only is his restaurant named Crystal Cafe, but he's relatively unknown, even to area gourmets. Those in the know, however, pack his small mid-beach restaurant nightly, eager for Kovaceski's new Continental cuisine.

Setting the Scene
There's nothing trendy about Kovaceski or his restaurant. You won't find exotic ingredients, tropical touches or wait staff in khakis here. Instead you get a small, intimate bistro, expert and formally dressed waiters and classic cuisine done with the lightest touch imaginable. Kovaceski's specialty is taking heavy Continental dishes—beef stroganoff, chicken paprikash—and preparing them with a deft touch and lighter ingredients, without losing flavor. His pan-seared pork loin with caramelized Granny Smith apples and a white wine and butter glaze is a revelation of texture and flavor. Like many of his other dishes, it tastes like something you've had before yet never really tasted.

Jennifer Osorio Kissell

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Crystal Cafe,  Miami Beach, Opened: 1994

1998-2004 [7] Golden Spoon Awards, 20 Best in Florida
"For 31 years, Florida Trend has presented the Golden Spoon Awards, the nation's most prestigious statewide restaurant recognition, honoring Florida's 20 finest restaurants. This year, a newcomer, the Crystal Cafe in Miami Beach, made it all the way into the winner's circle. Chef-proprietor Klime Kovaceski orchestrates one of the happiest eating experiences in the state, improving greatly on such simple classics as chicken Kiev and osso buco." Florida Trend FEBRUARY 1998 ISSUE


Frommer's Review

"Although there is no shortage of trendy, swanky, sceney restaurants in the South Beach and Miami Beach areas, what is lacking is that charming, cozy, local gourmet restaurant where the chef/owner seems to know everybody's name. Enter Crystal Café, the missing link in the chain of food establishments that prides itself more on the celebrity clientele than the stellar cuisine. This place dares to be different -- and not in a postmodern minimalistic decor-cuisine kind of way, either. Not only is the food spectacular, but the ambience is also extremely inviting and romantic and one that you will want to revisit. Chef/owner Klime is a mastermind of exquisite culinary preparation and attention to detail, from his drool-worthy goat cheese terrine appetizer to his masterful filet mignon. The shrimp cake appetizer is the size of a bread plate and rests on top of a small mound of lightly sautéed watercress and mushrooms. Surrounding the delicately breaded disk are concentric circles of beautiful sauces. The veal Marsala is served in a luscious brown sauce thickened not with heavy cream or flour, but with delicate vegetable broth and a hearty mix of mushrooms. The osso buco is a masterpiece. The wine list is award winning and recognized by experts from all over the world as one of the best. And it's constantly evolving. So is the menu. And I could go on. Words really can't do Crystal Café the justice it deserves. When you go, however, ask for Chef Klime. He will be more than happy to say hello and explain his philosophy that has made his restaurant one of Miami's tastiest standouts."

Author: Lesley Abravanel
Pub Date: September 13, 2004

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CRYSTAL CAFE

"How chef Klime Kovaceski has managed to avoid becoming a household name escapes me. Perhaps it is because his Crystal Cafe, arguably the best restaurant on Miami Beach, is miles from the South Beach bustle and hype. Instead of Caribbean or New American influences, his cuisine is basically continental with Eastern European influences.

Forget the Oxford shirts and chinos that outfit servers at the hot new properties. Kovaceski's precision-trained staff is garbed in crisp black and white and utterly professional in every respect without seeming stuffy or overbearing. They smile when first-time diners enter the restaurant and look amazed and dazzled by the subtle decor more suited to New York's Upper East Side than a mid- Beach thoroughfare.

You can take in the design from a small and pleasant bar at the front of the restaurant and notice that Kovaceski isn't doing anything different from many restaurants, he's just doing it much better. The music is better and softer than many restaurants, the artwork more subtle and attractive and the atmosphere is less mealtime-manic than many dining spots further down the beach."

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November 8, 2002
University of Miami
Rating: 2 Stars

"How do you feed a football team? Often. On our visit to Miami, home of the 2001 national college-football champs, we came across transfer quarterback Brock Berlin just as he was finishing up a light prepractice lunch of a turkey hoagie and two slices of deep-dish pepperoni pizza, all washed down by 32 ounces of lemonade. "I love this place," says Mr. Berlin. "I can always find something to eat here."

Not everyone's as impressed. Though Miami spent $1.5 million one of its two main dining halls over the summer, adding snazzy features like juice stations where kids can make their own carrot-celery elixirs, our chef, Klime Kovaceski, of Miami's Crystal Cafe, looked sad as he sawed through his Oriental chicken and poked at his pasta-station penne. "Students can't learn if they eat like this," he said.


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CRYSTAL CAFÉ

Type of Cuisine: Eclectic

"Chef Klime Kovaceski hails from Macedonia, and his modern take on traditional European and East European cooking makes for some of the most exhilarating and flavorful food around. Beef stroganoff and chicken Kiev get reinvented in a sprightly manner here, as does osso buco, the soft pink shank of the veal flanked by a phalanx of chunked potatoes and vegetables in a thin, intensely flavored broth. The large menu features other continental classics, like Wiener schnitzel and duck à l’orange, as well as contemporary fare such as grilled salmon carpaccio and soft-shell crabs with macadamia nuts and lobster sauce. • Dinner Tues.-Sun."


Crystal Café
Miami Beach, FL 33140

Food rating
15/20 *

"Contemporary Continental with eclectic overtones describes this popular neighborhood café. The dimly lit and cozy room isn’t as fashionable or contrived as it is romantic and soothing. Many of the walls are decorated with the restaurant’s awards acquired in the five years since its doors opened. An extensive menu of progressive---but not trendy---dishes foreshadows a seductive culinary experience. Chef-owner Klime Kovaceski’s food literally explodes with flavor, as in the pan-seared foie gras, caramelized and crisp on the outside, buttery and smooth within---served with tart Granny Smith apples and a Madeira butter sauce. "Floribbean"-exhausted Miamiites will find pan-seared, crispy duck a l’orange refreshing. Macedonian chef Kovaceski also struts his stuff with pink-in-the-center veal medallions wrapped in applewood-smoked bacon, served in a red wine demi-glace. Dishes beg to be shared with full-bodied spicy red wines, and the choices are splendid. The wine-savvy general manager (who happens to be Kovaceski’s wife) couldn’t be more gracious and warm. Word of mouth has grown this modest restaurant into one of the city’s most respected, and it’s packed nightly with heavy-hitting, mature Miami Beach professionals. Kovaceski is a high-energy, self-taught chef and a real people person. He can be found out in the dining room often, emerging from his tiny kitchen to drink in his success."

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