Miami Steakhouse Face-Off
by maria argüello
Throw a stone in Miami and you’re likely to hit a steakhouse. The resulting steak wars have chefs upping their game, be it through special seasoning, exclusives with purveyors, unique cuts, aging techniques, or long-held traditions. We had the town’s top steakhouses reveal their winning ways....
“The art of cooking a steak is tempering,” explains Executive Chef Gabriel Fenton. “We begin by butter-poaching the steaks at 120 degrees for at least 15 minutes. It tempers the steak so the meat cooks evenly all the way through and adds a more distinct flavor. We use only salt and pepper for seasoning. Then we lay them on the wood-burning grill. Our dry-aged, 18-ounce bone-in rib eye is the most popular, but a few regulars know that there’s a secret menu with a special hay-smoked, American wagyu côte de boeuf for two. They love it.” Turnberry Isle Miami, 19999 W. Country Club Dr., Miami, 786-279-6600
Executive Chef Sean Brasel says, “One of our most popular cuts is our grass-fed, 40-hour slow-cooked short rib served atop lobster risotto. It takes a week to fully prepare. We marinate it, cure it with salt, sugar, garlic, and herb seasonings. Then we smoke the meat using a mix of hickory and pine, let it cool, pan-sear it, and let it cool again. Then we braise it at a low temperature. It’s soft all the way through, juicy. Pair this dish with a jammy American Cab and it’s perfect.” 915 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, 305-532-0088
PM Fish & Steak House
“We age our own meat at the restaurant for 20 to 30 days,” reveals Levy Gomez, PM Fish & Steak House’s general manager. “Then, following Argentine custom, we use only salt before placing it on charcoal grills. The rib chop Madero is a great cut—the combination of the bone-in and the marbled fat gives it an incomparable taste and flavor. Argentine wines are our house specialty. Guests find a wide selection from all of Argentina’s regions, including bottles from Salta, at 7,500 feet above sea level, as well as from Mendoza and La Patagonia.” 1453 S. Miami Ave., Miami, 305-200-5606
Prime One Twelve
“Our most popular cut is the eight-ounce Kobe filet,” says Executive Chef Mike Sabin. “We were the first to bring Kobe beef back into Miami. I work directly with Miyazaki Ranch in Japan to guarantee quality. We use only Prime meat, and we source from wherever we have to in order to provide that. We use no rubs, seasonings, or sauces, just French sea salt, fresh-cracked Tellicherry black pepper (from India), and clarified butter. Then we broil our steaks at 1,700 degrees. Prime One Twelve is a steakhouse, but we’ve developed a modern Southern side in recent years; people love our lobster pancake, and the classic is our mac and cheese. It’s comfort food done well, and it’s a celebrity den.” 112 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach, 305-532-8112
The Setai Grill
Executive Chef Mathias Gervais explains, “We source Prime meats from New York supplier Pat LaFrieda (The Setai Grill has the LaFrieda exclusive for Miami), using the top 1 to 3 percent of grass-fed, Prime beef through a partnership with Creekstone Farms.” They grill or pansear the meat, then finish it in the broiler basted with brown butter and infused with thyme and garlic. “We have a signature cut: our 60-day dry-aged 32-ounce bone-in tomahawk steak,” he says. “Patrons can ask for sauce if they like (including classics such as morels in a beef jus reduction, and Roquefort). It can be paired with our made-from-scratch pomme purée or bayaldi, a layered vegetable casserole-like dish with eggplant, zucchini, and yellow squash, which I make using my own family recipe.” The Setai, 2001 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-520-6400
Smith & Wollensky
“You need a butcher, or it’s cheating,” says Corporate Executive Chef Matthew King. “We have an old-school butchering mentality. We buy swinging beef; our butcher monitors it daily (meat dry-ages in a temperature-and humidity-controlled room equipped with antimicrobial lights) until it reaches 28 days, and then it’s ready. We then cook our steaks using infrared gas broilers. This isn’t about a pretty steak; it’s about a nice crust on the outside and the flavor of the meat. Our latest cut is a long-bone rib eye rubbed with a blend of Eastern spices and glazed with bone marrow butter—a contemporary take on the traditional steak.” 1 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, 305-673-2800
photography by michael pisarri (rib eye); andrew meade (steak)
Cover shoot: Behind the scenes with Pitbull for the October 2014 issue of Ocean Drive magazine.