After chalking up accolades aplenty in both New York and LA, contemporary American steakhouse concept STK has headed to Florida, setting up shop within Miami Beach’s sexy Gansevoort South hotel. The apt tagline avows STK is “not your daddy’s steakhouse,” and it’s true. Gone are the traditional formalities and fare: In lieu of heavy woods and browns, the dining room is awash in a sun-bleached palette, natural materials and even a catwalk to showcase the patrons as stars. And while the menu is oozing with succulent beef, executive chef Todd Mark Miller lightens things up with offerings in small, medium and large (steaks range from a six-ounce skirt to a 34-ounce cowboy rib eye) and a few tropical twists (maduros en almíbar, an homage to his Spanish grandmother, and tuna tartare served alongside roasted pineapple and plantain chips).
“Sometimes you have to forgo the quality of food or service for the scene, or vice versa,” says Celeste Fierro, senior vice president of The One Group, which owns hot spots STK, Coco de Ville and One. “But here, there’s no sacrifice: We have the DJ, the food, the design—it is the full experience.”
SCENE AND CUISINE: “Miami, like New York and LA, enjoys a great scene,” says Fierro. “When designing the space for South Beach, we wanted everyone to feel like they are in the spotlight; we built a quasi-runway so guests are the center of attention. Rather than the closed private rooms we have in New York, we put Miami’s private dining on a mezzanine level, so the energy from downstairs can transcend upstairs. And LA tends to drink a lot less than New York and Miami, so in those cities we turned the bars into the focal points of the restaurants.”
STEAKHOUSE LIGHT: “Keeping the menu fresh, light and healthy was important to me,” explains Miller. “When people go to a steakhouse, they usually think about a powerfully tasting plate. So how can you make something powerful that’s still light? We use lemons, citruses, vegetables and flavors that a typical steakhouse wouldn’t use, such as ginger or kaffir lime.”
GREENMARKET APPROACH: “It might surprise people how many choices STK has for noncarnivorous,” Miller says. “The avocado salad just screams ‘fresh,’ and is the kind of dish I like to eat. It’s made with Chilean Hass avocados— which have amazing texture and so many nutrients—plus jicama and jalapeños.”
FOOD NOSTALGIA: “I like making old things new, and creating plates that are whimsical and remind me of my childhood years,” explains Miller. “My lil’ Big Macs have everything you find in a Big Mac, except maybe the shredded lettuce. The black-sesame-seed buns are made in-house, and they’re really special: I slather them with a Parmesan butter and then put them on the grill. Our burger is Japanese Wagyu served medium rare, topped with caramelized onions, Gouda goat cheese and—of course—my special sauce.”
PLATES THAT POP: “My favorite appetizer is the shrimp Rice Krispies. As soon as they touch the table, you know you’re in for an experience,” says Fierro. “The server pours a lobster bisque over the shrimp tableside, and the dish begins to snap, crackle and pop. And our sides are all amazing: In my opinion, the corn pudding is the winner. It’s sweet, savory and hits the spot every time.”
AFTER DINNER: Lest there be any doubt that the Gansevoort has turned into South Beach’s latest one-stop shop for all things fun and fashionable, check out its brand-new hot spot, Coco de Ville. Right on the heels of smash-hit steakhouse STK, The One Group opened an outpost of its LA-based lounge—awash in soft greens, rich teak woods, gold accents and low, plush banquettes—right next door. And while it’s named after a whimsical, fabled hostess known for throwing exclusive, lively parties, in reality, the vibe here in Miami is set by nightlife orchestrators Roy Alpert, Sebastian Puga, Paulo Cardoso and Tatanka Guerrero. If the guests at Miami’s opening weekend (Ed Westwick, Jessica Szohr, Tyson Beckford and Todd English) and Hollywood’s regular roster of luminous patrons (Rihanna, Victoria Beckham, Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott and Kim Kardashian) are any indication, CDV South Beach should be a regular bastion of boldfacers and a musthit on every A-list local’s repertoire.
IMAGES FROM TOP: STK; Chef Todd Mark Miller and The One Grop's Celeste Fierro; Chef Todd Mark Miller's lil' Big Mac