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photo credit: World Red Eye

Papi Steak image
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Papi Steak

Steakhouse

South BeachSouth of Fifth

$$$$Perfect For:Wasting Your Time and Money
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Here is what happens when you order the $1,000 steak, officially referred to as “The Beefcase,” at Papi Steak:

First you must utter the words, “I think we’ll do The Beefcase,” to your server and not evaporate into a pink mist of shame. Fifteen to twenty minutes later, the dining room goes dark. 

Music. Lasers.

Suddenly you are surrounded. Men (it’s almost entirely men) encircle you, arms raised, uttering one long “wwwwwwwwhhhoooaaaahhh” in unison as if hypnotized to believe you are Tom Brady and have just led them on a dramatic game-winning drive. The leader of this ring has a briefcase, which he teasingly opens and closes in a game of wagyu peekaboo. A man violently brings down a hot iron to brand the steak with the words “Papi Steak.” Burnt flesh fills the air. Several more whoahs, pause for steak photos, and it’s over. Any introvert at the table looks like they need a blood transfusion. The performance lasts one minute and 40 seconds, or $10 per second.

Papi Steak image

photo credit: World Red Eye

Then out comes the actual steak—smaller than you expected, one of those wagyu monstrosities with a robot name full of numbers and letters. It comes with no sides. It’s not awful. But also not great. Fine? Everyone at the table agrees: just sort of fine. No one fights over the last bite.

The server declares you are Beefcase number four of the evening. The Beefcase tally is six by the time you leave. He says that on a busy weekend, Papi Steak sells around 20 Beefcases. For some reason this information makes sense inside Papi Steak. You barely flinch at Beefcase number six.

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It is only when you step outside, sobered by humidity, that reality returns and the painfully obvious comes into focus: The Beefcase is a scam. Papi Steak is a bad restaurant that’s convinced a significant amount of people it’s a luxurious dining destination thanks mostly to dozens of Beefcase-related articles written in the breathlessly enthusiastic tone of a chatbot that’s been trained by caffeinated publicists. The Beefcase is a terrible decision, but so is pretty much everything here, a collection of comatose steakhouse dishes dressed in cheap designer buzzwords and marked up so high that even inflation needs a Ducati to catch up. And you will not find a more crowded restaurant on a Friday night in South Beach. Maneuvering past the bachelor parties on your way to the bathroom requires the footwork of a dressage horse.

Is now about when you expect us to proudly mount our soapbox to declare that Papi Steak doesn’t represent the real Miami? Because if we’re talking about the same Miami—the one that absolutely worships wealth and delights in gluttonous displays of it—bad news: it sort of does. These delights are short though (like, one minute and 40 seconds). And it is impossible to leave here happier than when you walked in if you, too, are exhausted by what it means to exist in this city as anything other than a millionaire or a supermodel.

Food Rundown

Caesar

No.

Mac & Cheese

No.

Latkes

Good, but not $18-for-three-little-latkes-tasty.

Wagyu Pastrami

Tastes a little like that brand of Sasquatch beef jerky.

Purebred AA8-9+ Australian Wagyu Tomahawk, A.K.A. The Beefcase

No times infinity.

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FOOD RUNDOWN

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