Sustainable Fare Catches on at Area 31
December 11, 2013 | by julia ford-carther | Food & Drink News
Located on the 16th floor of the Epic Hotel, Area 31 also offers breathtaking views of Biscayne Bay and Brickell Key.
Executive Chef Wolfgang Birk’s recent appointment at Area 31 is a reunion of sorts, as he finds new—and higher—ground in Miami’s culinary scene. The award-winning Birk first made a name for himself in Miami at the helm of the five-star Casa Casuarina. At Area 31, he lends his luxury-gourmet lean to the restaurant’s sustainable approach to seafood.
Area 31’s post-chef-changeup menu doesn’t wander far from the restaurant’s original concept—it still delivers fresh fare from the UN-designated region Area 31 (the international fishing area encompassing the marine waters of the southeast Atlantic coast, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and South America’s northeast coast). But with Birk on board, the importance of sustainability is spilling over to other areas of the menu. “The big difference is that we are working closely with local beef, lamb, chicken, and pork farms in Florida, as well as produce farms and a local baker,” the chef explains. “It is all about the ingredients with the culinary experience.”
That experience includes a menu of small plates, crudos, and well executed entrées that satisfies various tastes in one sitting, from the standout baby-beet salad over crisp, bitter greens with goat cheese croquettes and pickled golden beets to seared local grass-fed beef carpaccio with a delicately sweet passion fruit glaze.
Area 31 is also mixing things up at the bar with a well-edited wine list and new explorations in shaken spirits from head bartender Dean Feddaoui. Amid the welcome changes, one thing remains the same: Area 31’s unparalleled Biscayne Bay view from its patio terrace, a constant worth toasting. Epic Hotel, 16th Fl., 270 Biscayne Blvd. Way, Miami, 305-424-5234
PHOTOGRAPHY BY SIMON HARE
Cover shoot: Behind the scenes with Pitbull for the October 2014 issue of Ocean Drive magazine.