The bar and lounge at 1500°

 
  Pork-belly tacos

Where do you think the Miami food scene is headed?
PD: I think it’s ever-changing and evolving, and still fighting to get on the culinary map. I personally think Michael Schwartz [Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink], Cindy Hutson [Ortanique on the Mile] and Timon Balloo [Sugarcane] are raising the bar and putting out really good food.

1500° has generated plenty of buzz. What’s your approach to the menu?
PD: My philosophy is to let the food shine without too many bells and whistles, and use fresh, seasonal items with a majority sourced locally. Since the menu changes daily and is printed in-house, we take advantage of the freshest ingredients available to us each day.

 
Pan-seared Maine scallops  

Tell me about your most popular dishes.
PD: The pork-belly tacos, Brussels sprouts croquettes, prime steak pichana [a Brazilian-style cut of beef] and whole fried yellowtail snapper are our best sellers. The sides are as important as the entrées, and I think my creativity really shines with the creamed spinach, duck-fat fries and Vidalia onion stuffed with creamy potato gratin.

Has it been a challenge finding the right local purveyors for the products you use at 1500°?
PD: I use many of the same vendors that I used during my decade at 3030 Ocean, and I spend a lot of time meeting with local farmers and fishermen to source the best ingredients available.

Does your Brazilian background influence your menu?
PD: Of course there are little nuances, but we don’t want to get bogged down with pedigree. We plan to excel in rustic as well as haute cuisine, so that we can appeal to visitors and locals alike—whether you’re a foodie tourist on a Miami culinary excursion or a local looking for an exquisite meal in a gorgeous setting.

Tell me about your on-site garden.
PD: Not only does it allow us to make use of the freshest produce possible, but it’s fun and engaging for both my team and the guests. The garden is small enough to tend to ourselves, but large enough to allow us to get creative with the menu each day.

What’s your favorite kitchen gadget?
PD: My Vita-Prep blender, because it’s superpowerful and makes the best purées and dressings really quickly.

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