Our April food and drink update straight from the pages of Ocean Drive.
Executive Chef Patrick Rebholz at Quality Meats.
High Steaks: Michael Stillman grew up in a steakhouse. And not just any steakhouse—his father, Alan Stillman, founded the iconic Smith & Wollensky in 1977. Half a century later, the father-son duo are beefing up their meat empire and cutting South Florida into the action with the opening of Quality Meats in the former Bancroft Hotel. “We’ve always loved Miami,” says Michael. “When the time to expand the Quality Meats brand came, it was the obvious choice.” Expect an amplified version of the New York staple, but with a tropical twist. They’ve named Patrick Rebholz from Charleston’s famed Peninsula Grill as executive chef. Here, Rebholz will smoke, cure, brine, braise, and grill their eminent selection of meats. Charcuterie is made in house, veal shanks are portioned for two, and Scotch is infused with citrus hops at this unorthodox interpretation of the archetypal steakhouse. 1501 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-340-3333
Helado, an ice cream-gelato hybrid, from Argentine import Freddo.
Cold Rush: “It’s not ice cream or gelato—it’s helado,” says Jimena Duran, franchise co-owner of Argentina’s premier and all-natural heladeria, Freddo. It takes a month for the handcrafted ice cream-gelato hybrid—made with milk from grass-fed cows, pure cane sugar, fruits, and raw ingredients—to make its way via boat from Argentina to the Florida location on Lincoln Road. Try the grand dulce de leche—whole almonds, pecans, and golden raisins amid caramel. Want to take it to the next level? Get your helado in panini form. 610 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach, 305-604-0065
Run to the Bodega: At Bodega Taqueria y Tequila, a South Beach taqueria with an actual Airstream trailer as its kitchen, chef Bernie Matz serves al-pastor-style tacos with meat sliced from a rotating spit, a plethora of paletas (go for the mango chili), and four secret hot sauce recipes (think garlic serrano and Caribbean lime). But that’s not the only secret—behind the faux bathroom door is a hidden bar that slings tequila cocktails and smoked horchata shots. 1220 16th St., Miami Beach, 305- 763-8627
Bay Club: The folks behind Sunset Harbour’s beloved Lucali pizza have turned the adjoining space into the Bay Club, a bar that channels Lucali’s ingredient-driven philosophy into irresistible cocktails. Have a dose of the Peoria Penicillin—a mix of cantaloupe-infused Scotch, Canton ginger, lemongrass, basil, and lemon juice. “In New York, they used to hang out behind the pizzeria in these little watering holes where it wasn’t about décor, but just about relaxing,” says Cristina Ventura, managing partner and general manager of the Miami offshoots of the Brooklyn original. 1930 Bay Rd., Miami Beach, 305-695-4441
Rum XP Tasting Competition at Rum Renaissance.
Rad Rum: There’s nothing quite like a rum festival to raise your spirits. Back for its seventh year, Rum Renaissance will bring the largest collection of rum makers in the world together under one roof, April 17-19. “You could say our basic premise is to dispel the notion that rum is ordinary and prove that it’s fascinating,” says founder Robert Burr. Fascinated you’ll be with the amount of experts, distillers, and off-the-beaten-path rums (some of which aren’t yet distributed in the States) that you’ll discover during the three days of grand tastings. Miami Airport Convention Center, 777 NW 72nd Ave., Miami
PHOTOGRAPHY BY GARY JAMES (REBHOLZ); COURTESY OF TATU KAARLAS AND MIAMI RUM RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL (RUM)