The Dutch is making its way down to South Beach, and pretty soon diners will be indulging in oyster sliders and sour orange pie. (The eatery is slated to open in November.) We sat down with chef Andrew Carmellini, the man behind the restaurant, to talk about the arrival of The Dutch and his love for South Florida.
Your dad is from Miami and you’ve spent a lot of time down here.
ANDREW CARMELLINI: My dad is from Miami. He grew up in Little River. My grandfather was a GM at the Surf Club in the ’40s and ’50s. So I was in Miami three to four times a year before OD was OD and South Beach was South Beach. I have a connection to Miami and the beach. My aunt still lives in Coral Gables and South Miami. I’ve always wanted to have restaurant down here.
What is your fondest memory of being a kid in South Florida?
AC: My grandmother’s yard was a double lot and she had sour orange trees, grapefruit trees, mangos—just so many fruits. We used to love coming down and eating all that beautiful freshness like Florida avocados. Of course fishing, the beach, Miami culture, but the food was amazing.
What do you love eating when you are here?
AC: I love Michelle [Bernstein] and Michael [Schwartz] and I’m at their restaurants at least once a year. I’ve always liked Garcia’s. I love the grouper chowder there. Casablanca fish market next door to Garcia’s is also great.
How will The Dutch Miami differ from the original?
AC: I didn’t think we were going to take The Dutch on the road—it’s so New York and looks so New York. But the idea is cooking American food and we’re going to do the same in Miami. We’re going to go local as much as possible. Latin Caribbean influence and I’m a huge fan of Mexican cooking. It’s what all of our grandmothers cooked, it’s more than burgers and ribs. The idea is to make it an everyday restaurant. You can go once or twice a week instead of a place solely for special occasions. You can come on Tuesday and bring clients and come on Friday with friends, come Saturday to party or just drop by to eat. So I want to bring that feeling to Miami.
What is one menu item you must have in Miami?
AC: Floridian cuisine definitely. For sure oyster sliders, quail with cashew-nut mole, lots of pies. I love pies. My grandmother would make sour orange and lemon meringue pies with fruit from her yard and I have soft spots for that. But it’ll be a lot of local ingredients and I’m going to hit farms in Homestead and Florida City.
I hear there will be an outdoor component?
AC: Yes, we’ll have a big outdoor space. We’re planting trees and it’s going to be separate from the lobby and a completely different environment with big windows. It’ll be brighter and more airy, with a big bar in the front and outdoor seating.
Are you serving brunch?
AC: Yes, we are. Brunch is so popular and I’m a big fan of cooking brunch, so we’re definitely doing both breakfast and brunch.
I love this from The Dutch’s website: “Our menu features choice meats, fish and shellfish, local produce and lots of honesty.” Can you explain what you mean by “lots of honesty.”
AC: It just means I’ve been cooking since I’m 14 years old and been in the business a while. I’ve done very high-end and hole-in-the-wall and we just want people to come and have a good time. We want to treat people right and serve the best ingredients. We’re serious about what we do but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. An honest approach.