The once-glorious Matador Room is reborn with a new Latin-inspired menu courtesy of acclaimed Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
Jean-Georges Vongerichten in the kitchen at NYC’s Nougatine at Jean-Georges. As to why he chose to open in the Miami Beach Edition, the chef says he “couldn’t pass up the opportunity to open restaurants at the best waterfront hotel in Miami.”
Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten may be French born (he grew up near Strasbourg, in Alsace), but the culinary star’s peripatetic nature means his food is anything but Continental. Stints in kitchens from Bangkok to New York to the South of France have flavored his cuisine with everything from tangy herbal vinaigrettes to the bright taste of fresh local vegetables.
At his newest restaurants, Matador Room and Market, both located in Ian Schrager’s Miami Beach Edition hotel, Vongerichten draws inspiration from all over the globe to forge a cuisine that is uniquely Miami. At the more formal Matador Room, diners can feast on sweet pea guacamole with warm crunchy tortillas; Gulf white shrimp with “agua diablo,” banana, and almonds; or whole roasted local fish, with olive oil, sea salt, and fennel pollen, all with a Latin bent, while the Matador Bar features craft cocktails amid black walnut-paneled walls with an ocean view.
Market, the more casual sister space, takes its inspiration from the multi-stalled and resplendent markets of Spain. From a variety of counters, it offers wine, charcuterie, gourmet pizza, and more. Here, Vongerichten talks about the genesis of the restaurants, his favorite Miami haunts, and why he opened in the Edition.
Matador Room’s oval shape was the original shape of the space, and the chandelier is original as well. The sunken dining area adds a dramatic effect.
Tell us about the concept for Matador Room.
We wanted to keep the glamour and charm of the original Matador Room [the restaurant inside the Seville Beach Hotel, which was demolished to make room for the Edition] and at the same time reflect and celebrate the culture of Miami today. We kept the original layout and restored the large chandelier in the dining room, which continues to be the focal point of the restaurant. The inspiration for the outdoor space comes from the Tropicana nightclub in Havana, Cuba.
The menu takes inspiration from many places.
The menu was developed with the culture and flair of Miami in mind. Matador is a modern interpretation of Latin cuisine influenced by Spanish, Caribbean, and South American flavors. The seasonal menu, composed of small and large plates, utilizes a bounty of the freshest Floridian ingredients.
Matador Room’s Gulf shrimp in agua diablo sauce pairs modern Latin influences with the freshest Florida ingredients.
And what was the inspiration behind Market?
[The inspiration] stems from La Boqueria and other outdoor markets found in Barcelona and Madrid. Market is a marketplace-inspired restaurant and patisserie, featuring open counters and kitchens that serve eclectic and international fare. We want our guests to feel like they are walking into their own kitchen to satisfy a craving.
What will that dining experience be like?
At Market, guests are able to sit in front of the various stations. The space includes a beverage bar, pastry pod, cheese and charcuterie counter, raw bar, and an open exposition kitchen. Guests can choose from a variety of options from each of these stations as well as a selection of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, and more.
The watermelon mojito at Matador Bar.
You already have the fine-dining establishment J&G Grill at the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort. Why did you want to open another restaurant here in Miami?
I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to open restaurants at the best waterfront hotel in Miami!
What appealed to you about the Edition space specifically?
The aesthetic, design, culture, and concept.
When you’re not working, what restaurants and bars do you frequent here? Yardbird, Zuma, and Broken Shaker, to name a few. 2901 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 786-257-4588