April 21, 2017
by lee brian Schrager | February 21, 2011 | Food & Drink
Chicken under a brick with pancetta, cippolini onions and smoked apple
Truffle mac & cheese
Colorado lamb porterhouse
The Raleigh Hotel, one of South Beach’s foremost Art Deco jewels, received a new twist this season with the arrival of The Royal. This new restaurant is the latest endeavor by New York City chef John DeLucie—currently the executive chef and proprietor of The Lion, the buzz-generating toast of Manhattan’s West Village, as well as the founding chef of the celebrity-packed Waverly Inn.
With that kind of background, it’s no wonder The Royal has opened to a wave of applause. But DeLucie’s cooking is upscale with a twist: Famous for his truffled mac and cheese, he allows his unpretentious Italian heritage to permeate his culinary creations.
The resultant delicacies are known for their elegant simplicity. Think of it as comfort food fit for—you guessed it—royalty. “My job is to put the fun back in food,” DeLucie explained, as he sat down with Ocean Driveto tell us a bit more about himself and give a sneak peek of what’s to come.
What made you decide to come to Miami?
JOHN DELUCIE: I’ve loved The Raleigh for as many years as I’ve been coming down to South Beach, so I jumped at the chance to be a part of this project.
How much time do you think you will get to spend here?
I intend to be a visible presence at The Royal. Once the weather drops below 60 degrees in New York, I’ll certainly be spending as much time here as possible!
The Lion in New York is known for its classic American cuisine with an Italian twist. Can we expect a similar approach at The Royal?
It will be very similar to what I am best known for: American contemporary food with a menu whose ingredients are driven by the area. It won’t be tropical at all, though. We will have Chicken Under a Brick, lamb porterhouse and, of course, mac and cheese.
Are you looking to attract a celebrity clientele at The Royal?
Again, having celebrities come in is great. It adds excitement for all the guests dining in the restaurant. But it’s important that locals feel the love and know The Royal is for them.
Do you have a favorite tool in the kitchen?
I love my microplane. It allows me to delicately shave little snowflakes of Reggiano Parmesan or white truffles on just about anything. I also love cipollini onions—and I admit I may use them too much.
Where do you like to dine in Miami?
I love Cecconi’s restaurant at the new Soho Beach House. Also, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Michy’s and Zuma.
How can our readers start cooking like a professional chef in their own homes?
Don’t be afraid of adding salt and pepper. And use fresh, local ingredients. Keep it simple!
photographs by greg clark