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Check Out Spasso's Rustic Italian Fare During Miami Spice

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Nestled in the heart of Coconut Grove, Spasso is a charming, rustic, authentic Italian restaurant.

It was opened about seven months ago by chef and co-owner Gaetano Ascione who, throughout his career, has prepared special dishes for VIPs including Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.

"Spasso means entertainment, enjoyment and amusement. It's what you're supposed to get in a restaurant," said Ascione.

He adds that's it's all about keeping it real at this new hot spot.

"We have a slogan. Its simple, rustic and brutal! We have tremendous respect for the ingredients we use. The only thing we add is the love and the passion we have for it," said Ascione.

Spasso is one of 200 restaurants participating in the Miami Spice program which kicked off this month. Steven Haas and the Greater Miami Convention and Visitor Bureau came up with discounted dining program some 15 years ago.

"It's such a great thing for the citizens of Miami, they get to enjoy all the top restaurants for $39, restaurants that have check averages up to $150 per person," said Haas.

The deal is $39 per person for a three course dinner and $23 for a three course lunch. One item on the Spasso lunch item is the Pizza Funghi. A pesto pizza blended with mozzarella and goat cheese along with wild mushrooms and a touch of truffle.

"I definitely taste truffle in it and then the mushrooms melt in your mouth with gooey Italian cheeses. It's how I like it, super thin, it's my kind of pizza," said Lisa Petrillo after taking a bite.

On the dinner menu an appetizer is the tuna carpaccio, warmed and topped with a special honey and truffle flavor.

"That is a true Italian tuna carpaccio because it has so much flavor, but it's so gentle," said Petrillo.

A dinner main course is an eight ounce filet of beef sliced thinly and garnished with arugula and olive oil.

"At first thought you think steak is heavy. This is a light summer steak, a filet that comes at room temperature. It has a summer feel. The arugula gives it a freshness and the cheese on top gives it an extra 'oomph'," Petrillo said.

And finally an Italian cortadito made with expresso and melt in your mouth ice cream.

Miami Spice is on now through September 30th.

Spasso is opened 7 days a week for lunch and dinner.

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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