Midtown gets the boot as Salumeria 104 opens its doors.
February 06, 2012
The less cluttered a gallery wall is, the more the art can shine. Salumeria 104 takes the same tack with its Italian fare, letting it stand on its quite ample merits without fuss or distraction. This little salumi shop/Italian market/eatery in Midtown, which opened in December, is the latest venture by the Graspa Group (of Soyka, Spris, and Van Dyke Café fame). It’s helmed by Treviso-born chef/owner Angelo Masarin, whose résumé includes stints at Casa Tua, Sardinia Enoteca, and Cecconi’s. Masarin believes using fewer ingredients gives him more precise control over the quality of his finished product, and he sources everything carefully, whether it be Homestead’s Paradise Farms produce, imported cheeses, or nine versions of cured meats crafted in Italy and the US. “The king,” as Masarin calls his prosciutto, includes the relatively sweet prosciutto di Parma, the harder-to-find and more nutty flavored prosciutto di San Daniele, and even a truffle-infused iteration—all treated like royalty on a hand-spun meat slicer whose slow-spinning blade never heats up, thus preserving the intended flavor profile. All of this Italian authenticity is housed in a somewhat rustic interior where ham hocks hang from the ceiling and menus are scratched out on chalkboards, while gourmet dry pastas, olive oils, sauces and vinos line the walls—now that’s the kind of clutter we can live with. 3451 NE First Ave., Miami, 305-424-9588
PHOTOGRAPH BY DARREN TRENTACOSTA
Small Plate Wonders at The Setai
The Grill at The Setai debuts a reinvented menu of tapas-style savories.
January 09, 2012
Since opening six-and-a-half years ago, The Setai has brilliantly maintained its reputation as a hub of all things highend, thanks in no small part to the consistently delicious cuisine and superb service at its on-site eateries, both helmed by executive chef David Werly. Never one to rest on its laurels, the hotel is constantly reinventing itself in a culinary sense with fresh concepts and flavors. Case in point: There’s a new menu at The Grill—The Setai’s more casual, European, tapas-style outpost, whose succulent fare is often eclipsed by the pan-Asian experience at The Restaurant. While the vibe at The Grill has always felt more informal than its fine-dining counterpart’s, they stand shoulder-to-shoulder in terms of sophistication. Its sumptuous selection of dry-cured hams and cheeses (nibble on 36-month paleta de bellota and Morbier), plus a fresh raw bar and Spanish-, French-, and Italian-inspired small plates meant to be shared. Among our favorites: the suckling pig, the roasted sweetbreads with peas, celeriac, and chanterelle mushrooms, and the homemade cocoa pappardelle—a decadent dish that almost doubles as dessert. 2001 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-520-6400
PHOTOGRAPH BY GREG CLARK
Yardbird Southern Table & Bar delivers savory comfort food and a relaxed, down-home vibe.
November 08, 2011
They say Miami is not “the South.” To remedy that, Jeff McInnis (of Gigi, The Ritz-Carlton DiLido Beach Club, and Norman’s fame) and 50 Eggs Restaurant Group (owners of the wildly popular Lime Fresh Mexican Grill) have capitalized on chef McInnis’s roots in the Florida panhandle and Alabama in creating cozy, hospitable Yardbird Southern Table & Bar. Amid South Beach’s flash and flair, the rustic-meets-industrial space serves a modern spin on triedand- true favorites (think Brunswick stew made with alligator sausage and smoked rabbit, or Bell & Evans fried chicken biscuits with pepper jelly). McInnis pairs his monstrous shareable plates with bourbon cocktails and conceived a sure-tobe- smashing “Gospel Sunday” brunch that features Berkshire pork chops, shrimp po’ boys, and—as y’all probably guessed—a heavy dose of countrified charm. 1600 Lenox Ave., Miami Beach, 305-538-5220
Dreamy Heritage Pork Dishes
Local restaurants are on the forefront of the culinary industry's well-bred-pig movement.
November 04, 2011
Sustain's Heritage Berkshire pork trio
Sustain Restaurant + Bar
At this eco-conscious Midtown hot spot, you can combine a Prohibition-era cocktail with the “Heritage” Berkshire pork trio. The savory dish is composed of three permutations of pig: Benton’s smoked bacon-wrapped loin, a Berkshire pork cake, and house-made sausage. 3252 NE First Ave., Miami, 305-424-9079; sustainmiami.com
Sakaya Kitchen's pork buns
The motto here is “no frills, just good food,” but the restaurant’s inventive use of Berkshire pork may indeed qualify as both. Try the pork buns stuffed with eight-hour roasted pork, cucumber pickles, and sweet chili sauce (above), or the honey-orange baby back ribs, which don’t just fall off the bone—they do a swan dive. 3401 N. Miami Ave., Miami, 305-576-8096; sakayakitchen.com
Brana Food Group's pork and beans
Brana Food Group
Husband-and-wife team Jeffrey Brana and Anna Elena Pedron-Brana host intimate weekly dinners that are open to the public. While the menu changes constantly, a recent meal featured its sophisticated take on “pork and beans,” made with Mangalitsa pork shoulder from Pasture Prime Family Farm, porchetta seasonings, borlotti beans, and braised kale. branafoodgroup.com
Weekend In-Town Getaway: Soho Beach House Miami
Soho Beach House Miami provides the ideal in-city escape.
October 21, 2011
If you are jetting down to Miami to enjoy the pristine white sands of South Beach, make sure to stay at Soho Beach House Miami. The $100 million Collins Avenue property—which includes the revamped, historic art deco Sovereign Hotel as well as a brand-new, 16-story oceanfront tower—elevates hospitality to new heights.
Its 49 rooms feel more like remarkable mini apartments available in six different sizes and layouts. Stylish standouts include a strong South American influence, one-off pieces of antique furniture, king-size beds and rainforest-style showers. The majority of the rooms face the ocean and a number have freestanding baths in front of windows so you can soak while staring at the Atlantic.
The one-year-old hotel is open to the public, which means non-members can enjoy the luxurious amenities that members pay for (between $1,800 and $2,400). Included on the list of haute offerings are two pools (one for families, one for adults), a full-service beach, a lush garden with tiki bar, a roof deck and a 3D screening room. There is a gym (as well as a private yoga studio) and the Cowshed Spa, which is tucked into the second floor and features six spacious, ocean-facing mani-pedi chairs, five private treatment rooms (including a couples suite), steam rooms, a relaxation area, a blow-dry bar and a host of services.
Down a hallway constructed of reclaimed wooden beams from barns is the Club Bar that is accessible only to members and hotel guests. It evokes Cuba in the 1940s (Hemingway’s Havana, if you will), and though the floor tiles, bar stools and tables are new, special care has been taken to distress each piece for an authentic edge. Sip a specialty cocktail on the open-air deck before heading down to the beach where fresh fruit slices, waters and towels await. (Swing by the bonfire—complete with marshmallow roasting—when the sun goes down.)
When it comes to finer fare, Cecconi’s (on the first level) offers Italian specialties and the eatery on the second floor combines traditional and Latin cuisines. And when it comes to drinks, the hotel's in-room liquor services are unparalleled. Each bottle of alcohol in the mini bar is $35 regardless of brand, and the pre-dinner One While Changing program is a treat: a mixologist will come to your room with a full tray of ingredients used to craft a cocktail on the spot. The barmaster will even bring a snack. How sweet it is. 4385 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 786-507-7900
Mixologist Chat: Walid Hamid
The Sra. Martinez mixologist talks favorite watering holes and home bar essentials.
October 11, 2011
LEFT: Sra. Martinez mixologist Walid Hamid; RIGHT: Hamid’s gin- and lime-based Bramble cocktail at Sra. Martinez
What’s the drinking culture like these days?
Miami is developing a more interesting cocktail scene—there’s a growing appreciation.
Where do you go for drinks?
I love Hakkasan, The Florida Room, Living Room at the W South Beach and Sra. Martinez.
If a date leads to a nightcap at home, what should always be on hand?
Cointreau, vermouth, Aperol and a bottle each of gin, vodka and rum.
Toque Talk: Miguel Aguilar
The Wynwood Kitchen & Bar chef dishes on Latin cusine.
October 04, 2011
How do you think Latin food is influencing the American palate?
MIGUEL AGUILAR: It has introduced dishes such as ceviche, along with spices in many different forms including cumin, cilantro, chipotle and jalapeños.
Where do you go for good Latin food?
MA: Little Havana on Biscayne serves the best Cuban food in M iami. The dishes are traditional and consistent.
What’s the standout dish at Wynwood Kitchen & Bar?
MA: The chicken ropa vieja empanadas; there’s so much flavor, love and passion behind it.
A sparkling new era in Champagne has begun.
September 26, 2011
Moët & Chandon Ice Impérial on
the rocks, served in an Oenology Champagne glass by Baccarat (available locally at Neiman Marcus)
Though it hails from a world of rich, time-honored tradition, Champagne is going through some unexpected changes. Perhaps the most daring innovation comes from Moët & Chandon, which recently released its Ice Impérial, a Champagne designed to reach its fullest flavor potential when poured over ice. Bottled in a white lacquer that could be considered a cocktail’s resortwear, it’s served with mint leaves at The Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne’s beachside lounge, and with an orange slice at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach’s sprawling landscape of pools. “It gives the afternoon a South-of-France vibe,” says David Mokha, beverage director for the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. “The ice rounds the flavor out, but it doesn’t dilute the Champagne. It simply mellows it.”
Stemware, too, is changing. When drinking Champagne today, you can exchange those narrow, old-fashioned flutes, (which some say were designed to enhance the nose), for broader, tulip-shaped glasses that widen at the top. The extra space here, says Mokha, gives the drink access to oxygen, which allows the aroma to evolve and reach a fuller expression. “You get a better picture of the Champagne while you’re nosing it,” he says. Even so, bubbly should be kept in its bottle, resting on ice (at around 45 degrees).
No matter where you’re sipping, the Champagne list will likely be longer than it was a few years ago. That’s because in addition to bottles from the big houses, which strive for consistency, today there is a growing array of distinctive, boutique brands from independent wineries. “They’re more artisanal and perhaps reflective of a single spot in France,” says Sarah Almand, the sommelier at Lincoln Road’s Meat Market. “It’s been a huge movement for foodies to understand that Champagne is versatile and also an incredible aperitif.” Executive sommelier Gino Santangelo of The Forge is also fond of independent growers. “People love the smaller boutique bottles. I’m excited about Pommery Brut Royal and Nicolas Feuillatte, because the bubbles are small and delicate, and the taste is soft and creamy, not overpowering.”
The venerable big-house offerings, however, are by no means forgotten. Their flavors have remained consistent, but their looks have evolved. Moët’s rosé arrives in a sleek, artful sleeve in pink, red, blue or yellow, and a limited-edition Dom Pérignon pays tribute to Andy Warhol with a Pop Art-inspired bottle design and packaging.
“They didn’t just ‘get’ with pop culture,” says Mokha. “They’re on top of it. When you open a bottle of Champagne, everyone smiles. It’s a great way to start anything fun.”
Miami Spice Pick: Mister Collins
Stunning ocean views, fresh-baked pretzels and delicious tuna tartare tempt at Mister Collins.
August 23, 2011
Gaze at the ocean from the coveted seats on the breezy patio deck at Mister Collins, one of the many restaurants participating in this month’s Miami Spice. Marrying Miami Beach-style luxury with a sense of down-home TLC in Bal Harbour, menu items range from freshly baked soft pretzels to ahi tuna tartare. One Bal Harbour Resort & Spa, 10295 Collins Ave.; oneluxuryhotels.com
New Eats: Sustain Restaurant and Bar
Local snapper tartare and house-made cocktail condiments top the menu additions at this eco-eatery.
May 23, 2011
House-made charcuterie plate at Sustain Restaurant and Bar
Sustain Restaurant and Bar, Midtown’s newest eco-conscious eatery, recently added some exciting new dishes and cocktails to its menu. Chef Alejandro Piñero and beverage director Daniel Toral have cooked up an inspired menu of comforting, locally sourced dishes and retro cocktails. Among the new dishes are über in-season watercress, watermelon and bleu cheese salad; hearty barbecue beans with Benton’s bacon; swordfish croquettes; local snapper tartare with tomato confit; and heirloom tomato gazpacho. Wash all of that local goodness down with one of Toral’s new libations, like the Eden made with Tanqueray gin, blood orange liqueur, Cocchi Americano, lemon, crème de violette and amaranth blossom. Also look for Toral’s house-made condiments including both black pepper and rosemary tinctures and fruit bitters. 3252 NE 1st Ave.
photograph by victor sanabrais