Geoffrey Zakarian Talks Tudor House
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Tudor House is located inside the new Dream South Beach, at 11th and Collins. What’s the vibe like there?
GZ: It’s modern and lush with rich tones and textures, mixed, of course, with Art Deco. Truly there’s nothing like it on South Beach. There are different nooks and crannies in the hotel, as well. I love to sneak away up to the roof to have a sandwich and look out at the ocean.
What made you decide to come back to South Florida?
GZ: For years, I’ve wanted to come back to Miami and open something more local “Focusing on trends is a fool’s paradise from which you can never recover.” The Tudor House dining room, with its warm, clean design, rich earth tones and vintage photographs of Miami Beach West Coast oysters and neighborhood-focused, with great food and an approachable atmosphere—the kind of place someone could dine a few times during the week. For that kind of concept you need the right space. When Sant Chatwal—my partner in New York at The Lambs Club at The Chatwal hotel—presented me with the opportunity to put a concept inside his new Dream South Beach boutique hotel, I knew that the pieces had come into place, and this concept that has been running around in my mind for years could finally come to life.
How is this restaurant different from your others?
GZ: The locale of each restaurant really informs a concept for me. Here at Tudor House, we are striving for a neighborhood gastro café with really great products, done simply. I am trying to create something not just for the seasons, but a place that the people of Miami can use over and over. This is why our pricing is gentle and our service is so attentive.
What are some of your favorite dishes?
GZ: We are doing some great stuff: a Greek salad with capers and pine nuts, fresh-made pickles garnished with beautiful, fresh mustard seeds, oysters, grilled octopus—fun, easy food. I’m really loving the egg-white frittata and house-made jams, like mango, that we have for breakfast.
You’re widely recognized as a judge on the popular Food Network show Chopped. How do you balance being a chef and a TV star?
GZ: Well, “star” is not quite what I represent. I get to share my experience with a wonderful group of talented people. I learn as much as they do. Balancing my time is always difficult, but sometimes the more you have on your plate, the more you can focus. And waking up very early helps, too.
Tell us three ingredients the home cook should always have on hand to turn a good plate into a “wow” dish.
GZ: Maldon sea salt, Chardonnay vinegar and French butter.
Cover shoot: Behind the scenes with Pitbull for the October 2014 issue of Ocean Drive magazine.