El San Juan Resort & Casino, A Hilton Hotel has announced the opening of Meat Market Miami in September. The South Beach hot spot and contemporary steakhouse owned by restaurateur David Tornek and chef Sean Brasel, and under the supervision of executive chefs Sean Brasel and David Burner, brings the glamour and flair of the South Beach original to Puerto Rico.  Meat Market Miami will be open from Sunday to Wednesday, 5:30 p.m. – midnight, and from Thursday to Saturday, 5:30 p.m. – 1 a.m.   Call +1 787 253 2007 for reservations.

Closer to home, Meat Market is slated to open its doors at 191 Bradley Place, Palm Beach in November with the same sophisticated cuisine, innovative cocktails and upscale ambiance that has made the Miami restaurant one of the city’s favorites since 2009’

Meat Market is located at 915 Lincoln Road on South Beach. Telephone: (305) 532-0088. For more information and updates, visit www.MeatMarketMiami.com

At the hand of owner Oscar Ferreira, Swank Southern Kitchen and bar, slated to open this October,   will serve up kicked up renditions of down home Southern favorites. The restaurant’s executive culinary team led by Angel Vergara, Isramil Almonte, Matt Hockin and Michael Galadza not only forage for the best ingredients but serve a food and beverage menu based on dishes that are brined, pickled and smoked with exotic woods in-house.

Menu highlights include Crab Hushpuppies with a scallion dipping sauce; Fried Green Tomatoes with basil chimichurri, ricotta salata, and Tabasco romesco; Peaches n’ Cream Salad with a tarragon mousse and cobbler crumbs; Smothered Wings in a spiced red eye gravy; St Louis Ribs marinated in an apple cinnamon bbq sauce; Chicken & Smoked Cheddar Waffles with a sage marshmallow syrup and two preparations of alligator – a Swank Chili with tender alligator meat, kidney beans and a pimento crostini as well as the signature Gator Ribs with a house-made, kicked up Duke sauce. Daily specials will be also available and will reflect the change of seasons and local produce.

Guests can kick back, watch old westerns or catch the game on one of Swank’s 12 (55’ & 60’) flat-screen televisions while enjoying a mason jar-full of house made spiked teas and lemonades or one of the innovative signature drink list offering non-traditional preparations of bourbons and whiskeys, muddled with fresh fruit, juices and smoke essences. For beer connoisseurs, Nitro-technology is used to keep Swank’s 16 beers on tap at an arctic 36 degree temperature while the restaurant also offers an expansive selection of craft beers. An assortment of home brews, created by the executive chef team, will also be exclusively available onsite and will rotate seasonally.

The restaurant’s décor, just like the food and drink, is modern in style and interpretation as it celebrates the spirit of the South. The two-room interior space welcomes with soaring ceilings, chic farm-inspired fixtures, a sleek black bar seating 20, partial open kitchen, tables covered in vintage “wanted posters,” an oversized photo booth and a chalkboard wall painted with ornate, inspired gold designs and classic sayings.

Swank Southern Kitchen will be open for dinner seven days a week from 4 p.m. until 12 a.m. (Sunday - Wednesday) and 4 p.m. until 2 a.m. (Thursday – Saturday) with live music available Friday – Saturday. 4196 University Drive in the heart of West Broward, Davie. 954.727.5497 www.swanksouthern.com.

 

 

 


chefphillipperuiz

lippi interior

After what seems to his fans a long eclipse from the culinary scene since he left Palme d’Or  at the Biltmore last December, Chef Philippe Ruiz is back in great style, bringing his inimitable je-ne-sais-quoi to the chic and sleek Lippi Restaurant in the heart of Brickell, Downtown Miami.

Nothing less than quality and luxurious elegance can be expected from Lippi’s president Tunu Puri, who propelled waterfront Zuma to the top of the chart.

At street level, the brand new restaurant is a world unto itself. The modern 216 seats interior is bathed in cathedral-like glow by floor-to-ceiling windows shedding soft light on painted murals, gorgeous Murano chandeliers and muted colored floors.  In front of the kitchen an alabaster crudo bar illuminated from the inside is a prep station where one can see a team of chefs busy filleting fish and seafood or finishing dishes. The floor-to-ceiling glass-enclosed wine room is the realm of sommelier Daniel Torral, and the altar to this cathedral of fine dining is a bar with a display of liquor bottles like an organ about to pipe out a hymn to spirits for a cocktail-drinking crowd of urban players.

The 92-seats outdoor terrace overlooking cool water pools, palm trees swaying in the breeze and architecturally stunning buildings hemming the Brickell World Plaza is a welcome new setting for outdoor lunch or dinner.

And the food comes to match.

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Whatever connotations the name Lippi elicits −   Filippino Lippi (c. 1457 – April 1504) was an Italian painter who worked with Botticelli during the High Renaissance in Florence, Italy; his father, Fra’ Lippo Lippi (yes, a renegade clergyman) was also a painter; the famous Brasserie Lipp in Paris, or simply and sensually the word lippi (meaning Lips in Italian) − the menu is Mediterranean by definition, and meant for sharing.

There’s no bread on the table unless you ask for it, says chef Ruiz, but instead warm and delicious gougères (cheesy cream puffs) with a rich cream filling are sent to the table while your order is prepped and prepared on the spot.

Fresh is the name of the game: Crudos, oysters and caviar head the menu alongside an impressive list of Chef Ruiz’s choices of appetizers, small plates, large entrées, all bearing the French chef’s unmistakable touch and set in earthy-looking serving plates, wooden planks, glass spheres or slabs of Himalayan salt.

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There’s  homemade foie gras terrine w/ tropical fruit chutney over spiced brioche toast ($ 20); vitello tonnato w/ piquillo pepper over toasted bread and crisp capers (16); pissaladière, a crisp pizza-like puff pastry w/ caramelized onion and cured anchovies (14); a tray of Magalica ham w/ aged manchego, sweet garlic toast and tomato relish (28) and our waiter’s recommendation which two businessmen were too busy enjoying to talk shop: the truffled scrambled eggs w/ wild mushrooms and crostini (16) dramatically served in a glass sphere over a wooden stand.

Among the dishes that capture the essence of the Mediterranean spirit – simplicity, fresh locally-sourced fine ingredients and fabulous tastes − is the Mediterranean farro salad with a tangy tzatziki sauce, marinated tomatos, cukes over slices of yellow and red roasted beets (12). There are other salads like lentil salad w/ marinated feta, tomato confit and kalamata olives (11), shaved fennel salad with orange segments, pomegranate seeds, mint vinaigrette (12) and mixed greens with crisp baguette (12)

The Maine lobster ravioli in a heavenly coriander bisque foam with depth of flavor and cloudy airiness (14) is one more proof that Chef Philippe Ruiz is at the cusp of his talent, as is the rest of the menu: mini crab cake with basquaise sauce and harissa aioli (18); the playful fish & chips, crisp black cod with garlic aioli (20), the grilled lobster tail, sweet-fleshed, topped with a medley of cubed purple, white potatoes and fresh veggies; crispy shrimp with ginger sweer pepper and soy sauce (18); dramatic black & white calamari in black squid batter with basquaise sauce and lemon (14).


lippi app10 deesertThen come the entrées: steaks, fish, seafood grilled to perfection ($24 to $72 for a rib-eye for four)  and the desserts by  pastry chef Sarah Thompson –formerly of the Four Seasons Miami – whose creativity is only matched by her array of freshly-baked  petits fours like the amazing financiers and madeleines.

The service choreographed by GM Paul Radu – formerly of the St. Regis – is impeccable, pleasantly efficient and knowledgeable without being invasive, and sommelier Daniel Torral’s choice of wines, including his wine-by-the-glass program, enhances every dish in the menu as it accommodates different budgets.

As its name indicates, and based on the already thick weekend crowd, Lippi restaurant is poised to be the talk of the town, with or without lip-service.

Lippi Restaurant is open for lunch Monday- Friday 12 – 3 p.m. and  dinner Monday- Saturday 6 to 11:30 p.m. , 600 Brickell Ave., Miami 33131. 305-579.1888

 

 

 

Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group has partnered with the award-winning, West Palm Beach-based architectural firm Glidden Spina + Partners on the design of its newest eatery in Palm Beach. Located in the historic Royal Poinciana Plaza, Del Frisco’s Grille is an

upscale and stylish restaurant with an open kitchen, a circular seating area with communal tables and bar.

Executive Chef Anthony Fusco has created a menu of American comfort classics with a twist, including Wood Oven-Baked Flatbreads, Pulled Pork Empanadas, Cheesesteak Egg Rolls, Kale and Brussels Sprouts salad, and Blistered Shishito Peppers. The menu is rounded out with a selection of prime steaks, hearty salads, formidable sandwiches and chef-inspired entrees.

Del Frisco’s Grille is also located in Manhattan, Washington D.C., Dallas, Phoenix, Atlanta, Houston and Santa Monica.

Del Frisco’s Grille is located at 340 Royal Poinciana Way, Suite 300, Palm Beach. 561.557.2552 www.delfriscosgrille.com

After announcing the official renaming of the historic Doral Resort as Trump National Doral® Miami as part of the property’s extensive $250 million renovation,  Trump Hotel Collection has now announced  its partnership with BLT Prime to open a modern American steakhouse as the resort's signature restaurant in February 2014.    “No steakhouse does it better than BLT,” declared Donald J. Trump, chairman and president of The Trump Organization.  Donald J. Trump, his daughter Ivanka, and sons Donald Jr. and Eric personally oversee the plan to recapture the resort’s grandeur.

BLT Prime will serve USDA Prime Certified Angus® beef, including the 28-day dry-aged N.Y. Strip, Kansas City bone-in strip, and Porterhouse for two. The menu will also include BLT favorites – such as the signature popovers, tuna tartar and chopped vegetable salad starters; Doversole entrée; creamy spinach, mashed potatoes and onion rings sides; and peanut butter chocolate mousse dessert – and seasonal selections from the local market.

Trump Hotel Collection™ purchased Miami’s Doral Golf Resort & Spa in June 2012. Situated on nearly 800 acres in the middle of the city, Trump National Doral® Miami has 693 guestrooms across 8 villas; five championship golf courses, including the legendary Blue Monster; more than 90,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 24,000-square-foot ballroom; a sprawling 48,000-square-foot spa with 33 treatment rooms; the highly regarded Jim Mclean Golf School and teaching facilities; multiple dining and retail options; and a private members’ clubhouse. The resort has been host of the PGA TOUR for over 50 years and home to the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship. The property will remain open through the transformation, which will conclude in Fall 2014. www.TrumpNationalDoral.com.

 

Chef Allen Susser offers First Kosher Meals at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport
Beginning September 24, the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport will offer a Kosher food choice to travelers, and it's bound to be good. Award-winning Chef Allen Susser has a hand in he new pre-packaged food individually wrapped and sealed with designated kosher labeling, consisting of kosher turkey and tuna salad sandwiches, Mediterranean and Caesar salads and a variety of gourmet muffins.
Prepared by Kosher Central Market of Hollywood, Fla. under supervision of the Orthodox Rabbinic Board of Broward and Palm Beach Counties, the Kosher meals will be available  at Chef Allen’s 2 Go restaurant located in Terminal 3, Concourse Fof the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week.
The products were previewed to media and Broward County Aviation Department officials during the Sept. 12 grand opening celebration of Delaware North’s and  Lauderdale F&B Partners’ food court featuring Jamba Juice, Pei Wei Asian Diner and Steak ‘n Shake Signature.

 
Beginning September 24, the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport will offer a Kosher food choice to travelers, and it's bound to be good.

Award-winning Chef Allen Susser has a hand in he new pre-packaged food individually wrapped and sealed with designated kosher labeling, consisting of kosher turkey and tuna salad sandwiches, Mediterranean and Caesar salads and a variety of gourmet muffins. 

Prepared by Kosher Central Market of Hollywood, Fla. under supervision of the Orthodox Rabbinic Board of Broward and Palm Beach Counties, the Kosher meals will be available  at Chef Allen’s 2 Go restaurant located in Terminal 3, Concourse Fof the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week. 

The products were previewed to media and Broward County Aviation Department officials during the Sept. 12 grand opening celebration of Delaware North’s and  Lauderdale F&B Partners’ food court featuring Jamba Juice, Pei Wei Asian Diner and Steak ‘n Shake Signature.

 

La Durée (famous for their macarons, marrons glacés as well as for their pastry) from Paris, in the Anthropologie space on Lincoln Road, South Beach.

 

The Alchemist restaurant, an intimate 14-tables, 50-seat restaurant is slated to open in Midtown Miami  with Chef Christophe Chastang – graduate of the Paul Bocuse Institute− in the kitchen and Alain Aner at the front of the house – with a background  including  luxury brands like Swarovski, Diesel, Jean Paul Gaultier and degrees from Hotel and Restaurant Management and International Academy in Hotel & Tourism Management in France.

The seasonal “nouvelle cuisine” menu, with two pre-set menu choices: the five course  “Petite Degustation” ($90 per person), or the seven courses  “Complete Degustation” ($125 per person)  , focuses on a purely sensory experience, melding taste with audio in creations such as the five-sense dessert Forest Spirit served with an iPod.  The space is decorated with abstract art from Rom Lammar and Romero Britto, and contemporary furniture and accent décor from France, Germany, Italy as well as modern U.S. interior designers while wines are displayed in a stand-alone temperature-controlled cellar.

Two disclaimers by the owners:  The Alchemist Restaurant is NOT: 1) a farm-to-table experience 2) a casual dining hot spot. It is: A destination for knowledgeable diners who want to expand their gastronomic horizon. A restaurant for the adventurers. Inspired by 3 Michelin star winners Fat Duck in London (http://www.thefatduck.co.uk ) and L’Arnsbourg (http://www.arnsbourg.com/english/index.htm ) .

The Alchemist Restaurant Miami is open for two dinner seating times and reservations are recommended. 3252 Buena Vista Ave. – Suite 118,  the Shops of Midtown Miami,  FL 33137.

After two years in the Design District,  Maitardi - a restaurant by  Graspa Group  owners of Salumeria 104, Soyka, TiramesU, Spris, Van Dyke Café and Segafredo L’Originale on Lincoln Road - has closed.

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has joined forces with celebrity chef Gastón Acurio to open La Mar by Gastón Acurio at Mandarin Oriental, Miami in December 2013, replacing  the hotel’s Café Sambal restaurant.

The sleek, modern waterfront indoor/outdoor 245-seats restaurant with contemporary new design by Arquitectonica and interiors by Nathan/Pereira Arquitectura,  has a private table for up to 10 guests and three high-energy bars with Acurio’s acclaimed Peruvian cuisine of signature ceviches, freshly grilled anticuchos and specialty cocktails,

The new restaurant will complement Mandarin Oriental, Miami’s Five-Star fine dining restaurant Azul.  “The international flair and modern take on fine ingredients found at his restaurants strongly complements Mandarin Oriental, Miami’s commitment to providing world-class dining experiences,” said Jorge Gonzalez, Area Vice President and General Manager of Mandarin Oriental, Miami of the partnership with Gaston Acurio.

La Mar by Gastón Acurio at Mandarin Oriental, Miami will be Chef Acurio’s third location in the United States, following his restaurants in San Francisco and Chicago. The cuisine will celebrate the authentic and diverse flavors of Peruvian gastronomy, ranging from upscale novo-Andean fare to Asian-Peruvian fusion and traditional seafood cebiche.  “La Mar restaurants celebrate Peru’s rich diversity through the creation of eclectic cuisine. Miami’s unique blending of cultures and vibrant spirit is an ideal fit for our philosophy. We are honored to be working with Mandarin Oriental, Miami,” said Chef Gastón Acurio.

www.mandarinoriental.com

 

Porcao Farm to Grill, a modern 10,500 square-feet steakhouse with elegant dark wood banquettes and subtle red leather accents that pays homage to the internationally renowned Brazilian restaurant, will make its debut in late-September 2013, in the heart of Downtown Miami’s Mary Brickell Village.

The chic, stylish dining and nightlife destination with a see-through enclosure from which guests will be able to view the wine cellar and dry-aging room will offer a  menu of premium dry-aged meats served à la carte and composed small plates made from farm fresh products, seasonal ingredients and herbs and greens grown in house.  “Porcao Farm to Grill is all about fresh, local and seasonal ingredients, a premium selection of meats, and being able to enjoy a great cocktail in a sophisticated, sexy ambiance,” says Chief Operating Officer, Rocky Tarantello, who opened Astor Place in the early 1990’s with chef Johnny Vinczencz.

Helming the kitchen will be executive chef Jeff O’Neill, formerly Corporate Chef at The Dining Room at The Villa by Barton G.,  consulting chef at Gibraltar in  the Grove Isle Hotel & Spa in Coconut Grove,  and Mar-a-Lago and the Trump Hotel Collection where he worked alongside Charlie Palmer at Aureole; Daniel Boulud at Daniel; and Eric Ripert at Le Bernardin in NYC.

The intricate menu at Porcao Farm to Grill will focus on sourcing ingredients from local farmers and purveyors with sustainable fish, organic produce and free range meats dry-aged onsite in the specialty aging room. Appetizers will include a rolling raw bar; charcuterie and cheese cart; a hot mussel platter with green garlic and roasted piquillo pepper bouillon; parmesan soufflé with tomato-harissa fondue; and roasted veal marrow with royal red shrimp and toasted horseradish crumble, as well as a selection of salads, prepared tableside.

Composed plates include dishes such as Floridian Fisherman’s Stew with hog snapper, Gulf clams, spiny lobster and sea cress in a saffron-sangria broth and a Peach Roasted Pork Saddle with grilled peach-spice bread panzanella and pistachio gremolata. Sides feature both the classics like cheesy creamed spinach and steakhouse potatoes, as well as unique offerings including a BBQ yam and gingersnap gratin; airy maple & sage laced waffle bread pudding and seared cranberry foie gras dumplings.  Desserts include the Porcao Sundae with mascarpone gelato, Alchemist rye whiskey, marinated Rainier cherries, bacon-infused chocolate sauce and crispy cashew bacon brittle and a selection of Italian gelatos by Amore Gelato.

Master mixologist Ramsey Pimentel, formerly of Ritz-Carlton Hotels, has developed the extensive cocktail menu from craft cocktails to molecular concoctions for the restaurant and adjacent venues,  as well as a wine selection of over 75 wines-by-the-glass.  iPad menus will assist guests with pairing the perfect wine or cocktail with their selected meals, and much more.

A sleek, contemporary staircase will lead to the high-end KAO Lounge, for a night of imbibing and dancing; or to KAO Smoke for a classic cocktail or cognac and a cigar. There is a separate entrance for the ultimate speak-easy experience.

Porcao Farm to Grill, 901 South Miami Avenue, Suite 101 , Mary Brickell Village. (305) 779-2445; www.porcaogrill.com .

From Friday, September 20 to  Sunday, September 22, Garlic Knot in Fort Lauderdale/Oakland Park will celebrate their Grand Opening with food and fun.

An import born in Queens Blvd in New York, with 6 new locations in Colorado and Florida, and 4-6 restaurants slated to open in 2013, the new 2,100 square-feet, 100-seats   Italian eatery,  with a “make your own” ice cream bar and a private party room, will showcase its homemade dough and authentic sauces along with cult-following garlic knots.

Beginning September 20th at 5pm, hungry pizza and pasta lovers can enjoy a buy one get one free dinner special all weekend long through closing hours on Sunday, September 22nd. Additional specials include a large two-topping pizza for $10.99 and the chance to win free pizza for a year.

Garlic Knot is open for lunch and dinner Monday - Wednesday: 11am-9pm and Thursday - Sunday: 11am-10pm. 5073 North Dixie Highway, Oakland Park, 33334. 954.671.8400. www.garlicknotpizza.com

 

 L’Entrecôte de Paris, modeled after the famous Café de Paris and inspired by the original chain in Geneva which first launched in 1931, brings traditional steak-frites to Miami when it open its new 203-seat indoor/outdoor brasserie with banquette seating, closely spaced tables covered in white paper, mirrored walls, a large brass-accented bar and low lighting in the Brickell area. It is unclear wether this is a sibbling of the defunct same name restaurant in Miami Beach.

With an extensive but reasonably-priced wine list, cocktails and a good by-the-glass program, the menu is simply based on steak-frites flanked by  allumette” or shoestring fries, served with a 21-ingredient secret sauce, salads such as frizée drizzled with mustard dressing and walnuts, and French favorites such as house made quiches, cheese platter and pâtés.  “The steaks are carefully sourced from high quality suppliers specializing in traditionally matured beef reared by farmers who care about their animals,” explains General Manager Gerard Herisson. L’Entrecôte de Paris offers 14 different traditional desserts ($7 to $8.50) such as Profiteroles, Mille-Feuilles and Crème Brûlée to name a few. The menu (salad and steak-frites) is offered at a fixed price of $19.90 for lunch and $26 for dinner (not inclusive of tax or tip).

L’Entrecôte de Paris is located at Brickell Plaza, 1053 SE First Avenue in Brickell and serves lunch and dinner daily from 11:30 a.m. until 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, until Midnight on Friday and Saturday and until 10 p.m. on Sundays. (305) 755-9995; www.lentrecotedeparis.com.  Valet is available for $5 with validation

 

Argentinean bistro Novecento is slated to open south of Aventura Mall in Town Center Aventura. This is Novecento’s third Miami location and eleventh internationally −− Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, and the U.S. The casual, sophisticated dining room with European Bistro accents, a custom-built wine cellar, and a Malbec Private dining room will sport a chefs’ tables and a brick oven.  “We are thrilled to celebrate our 11th location with passionate fans in Aventura. Aventura’s diverse community makes it the ideal location for Novecento’s expansion in South Florida,” said Hector Rolotti, president and CEO of Novecento Group. The new cafe is expected to bring more than 70 jobs to the area.

 

Managing Partner Mike Zikri and Executive Chef Joshua Hedquist, formerly of The Max Group, Big Time Restaurant Group and Todd English’s De Campo Osteria, conceived the menu at the recently opened 145-seat, 4,000-square-foot Butcher Block Grill the 145-seat, 4,000-square-foot restaurant at The Fountains Center in Boca Raton. 

Zikri designed the contemporary layout with a chic interior dining room that opens up onto a covered outdoor patio overlooking the Fountain Center’s piazza-style fountains.

Chef Hedquist developed the all-natural steak and seafood menu with Mediterranean flavors  based on the use of local, all-natural ingredients:  antibiotic- and hormone-free meat and poultry raised on a vegetarian diet;  wild-caught and locally sourced seafood, and pesticide-free produce grown on Florida farms. “We proudly support local producers and provide our guests with the freshest, all-natural products in the region,” said Chef Hedquist.

Butcher Block Grill is open for lunch Sunday-Saturday from 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., and for dinner Sunday-Thursday from 5-10 p.m. and Friday-Saturday from 5-11:00 p.m.  Butcher Block Grill at The Fountains Center –  7000 West Camino Real, just west of the intersection of Powerline Road and West Camino Real in Boca Raton. 561-409-3035. www.butcherblockgrill.com

Photos:  - 14 ounce ribeye with butcher butter and steak fries with malt vinegar salt and grape tomatoes marinated in horseradish vinaigrette
-- Local Snapper with sweet corn and heirloom bean succotash, organic garbanzos, house pickled pearl onions, crispy asparagus, corn nage and saffron oil

The Embassy of Well-Being and Debauchery sounds more like the title of a whimsical independent film than a funky Miami gastro-pub.  In fact, the 40-seat restaurant  located at 4600 NE Second Avenue in the northern end of Miami’s Design District  looks more like a charming European café that you’d find on a Paris side street or in a small town in Spain, than a Miami gathering spot for artists and musicians.

So it makes sense that Alan Hughes, the restaurant’s chef/owner, also defies conventional description. The personable Argentine-born, French-trained chef has cooked in Buenos Aires, New York, Mexico, Cannes, Spain and Jamaica, and in the early 2000s opened the  critically acclaimed and beloved  One Ninety  in the Design District, years before Michael Schwartz, Jonathan Eismann and other chefs would venture into the territory.

At the Embassy, Hughes, a graduate of the French Culinary Institute, combines classic European technique with true guerilla kitchen skills to turn out cuisine that marries all of his disparate influences into a delightful, casual yet delicious dining experience.

The original menu for The Embassy was heavily reliant on pintxos and small bites but Hughes fans clamored for his well -executed comfort food.  The menu has been overhauled and now The Embassy offers a mix of small plates and composed dishes including a weekly family special on Tuesday evenings.

A one man show – Hughes is owner, chef, manager and designed the space. Working out of a kitchen the size of a broom closet, Hughes presides over a menu that is inspired rather than diminished by limitations that stem from the lack of space.  Tools considered essential to most chefs including a grill, range top – even an actual oven cannot fit in this kitchen.  So Chef Alan makes do with his convection oven, his fryer and a miniscule flat top to turn out an impressive dinner menu five nights a week, and brunch on Sundays.  “When the space became available, I couldn’t resist.  The vibe is great and I love the neighborhood.  I realized that I would be somewhat restricted in what I’d be able to put out in a kitchen with such limits, but that I could still offer great food for a very reasonable price by keeping my overhead low,” said Hughes.

By virtue of his long-term relationships with local fishermen and meat and poultry purveyors, using local produce when available and making everything from condiments including his own line of jams, pickles and jellies to desserts in- house; Chef Alan manages to keep prices low and quality high. Appetizers range from $6 to $12 with entrees priced from $12 to $18.  Additionally there is a weekly  family-style special that changes seasonally, currently Roasted Whole Triggerfish with Chermoula, served with a vegetable tagine, couscous and red onion and orange salad; priced at $50 for four people; Hughes has also offers  a roast chicken dinner for four ( $40) and hogfish snapper, among other specialties.

Diners can start the meal off with flavorful favorites like cod cakes with aioli, duck confit salad with apricots, pistachio and frisée, tender octopus bruschetta or irresistible herb fries.  Main courses are hearty portions of steamed mussels with white wine, sunflower seed-crusted salmon served on a bed of bok choy and caramelized onions or coffee-glazed braised short rib with mushroom ragout, among others.

Desserts, all $6, include coconut tapioca pudding with fresh mango, Earl Grey milk chocolate verrine, Greek yogurt panna cotta with rhubarb sauce or chocolate mousse cake.

The vibe is as arresting as the food. Gauzy curtains hang in the windows, and an aged wooden wall unit holds hold jars filled with pickled vegetables and jams. A large blackboard menu details specials, wines and the selection of draft beers in bottles and on tap.  Café chairs surround white tablecloth covered tables along a long banquette which faces the leather studded bar.  Original artwork hangs on the walls, and lighting is subdued with candles everywhere.

Every evening after 9 pm the energy shifts with live music on a small makeshift stage – everything from reggae to jazz to Latin rock, and many of Miami’s top local acts perform – sometimes even Chef Hughes picks up his guitar and puts on a show.  With the recent addition of sidewalk seating, the party spills out onto the street.

The Embassy is a charming bohemian hangout that serves as a magnet to Miamians in search of a great, reasonably priced evening.  “Come early for dinner and stay for the music,” suggests Hughes.

On Sundays, the restaurant gets packed with neighborhood families for Sunday Brunch with plenty of hearty fare like crab cakes with poached eggs and hollandaise, duck confit hash, buttermilk pancakes with bananas and turrôn, and huevos rancheros among other options.

Warm, convivial service, nightly happy hour specials at the wine and beer bar, broadcast of sporting events including playoff games, European soccer matches and the like, and  nightly live music make this Embassy one that you’ll feel right at home at, no matter your nationality.

The Embassy is open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday from 6:00 pm to midnight, bar remains open late on Fridays and Saturdays; brunch is served Sundays from 10 am – 3 pm.  Located at 4600 NE Second Avenue in Miami’s Design District.  Street parking available.   (305)-571-8446; www.theembassymiami.com

 
Following chef Jim Leiken's departure,  Chef Daniel Boulud (The Dinex Group) announced today that Rick Mace joins Café Boulud Palm Beach as the new Executive Chef, effective immediately.  Chef Mace,  who has previously worked for Chef Boulud, moves from Maryville, TN where he served as Executive Chef and managed the food and beverage program for boutique hotel RT Lodge, since 2010.  Rick will work under the continued direction of Café Boulud Culinary Director, Chef Gavin Kaysen.
 
“It is with great pleasure that I announce Rick’s new role as Executive Chef at Café Boulud, Palm Beach,” says Boulud. “Rick served as an excelled chef partner at our property in Las Vegas, and we always hoped there would be an opportunity to solicit his talents again for the group.  We welcome him to our Palm Beach mainstay, where we know he will be valued.”

Rick Mace’s childhood spent on a hundred acre, family-owned farm in Ohio—where he was surrounded by gardening, hunting, fishing and farming—inspired culinary interests at an early age. When his family began living and traveling around the world, thanks to his father’s military career, he gained a global perspective and knowledge of many world cuisines, which solidified his aspirations to pursue cooking professionally.

At the New England Culinary Institute he earned a degree in culinary arts along with numerous accolades. Once graduated, he accepted various positions in culinary institutions across the US, including the award-winning Butler’s Restaurant at The Inn at Essex in Vermont and San Diego’s Barona Valley Resort.

In 2007, Rick joined Chef Daniel Boulud’s restaurant group as Executive Sous Chef at Daniel Boulud Brasserie at The Wynn Resort Las Vegas. In his three years, Rick worked collaboratively with Chef Daniel Boulud and the Corporate Executive Chef to develop db Brasserie’s menu, along with leading the restaurant’s charcuterie program. In 2010, Rick embarked on another adventure in Maryville, Tennessee, where he assumed the position of Executive Chef at the RT Lodge. In 2013, Rick, who is 34, rejoined the Daniel Boulud team as Executive Chef of Café Boulud Palm Beach at the Brazilian Court Hotel.

Executive Chef Jim Leiken resigns from Cafe Boulud Plam Beach
Below is a quote issued by Cafe Boulud Palm Beach regarding the  departure of Cafe Boulud's Executive Chef Jim Leiken, who wants to spend more time with his family.
“After many years working for Daniel Boulud, Chef Jim Leiken has made the decision to resign from Café Boulud Palm Beach to pursue other opportunities and we wish him the best of luck for future.  We will look forward to announcing our new Executive Chef in the coming weeks.”

 

To quote Cafe Boulud Palm Beach regarding the  departure of Cafe Boulud's Executive Chef Jim Leiken: “After many years working for Daniel Boulud, Chef Jim Leiken has made the decision to resign from Café Boulud Palm Beach to pursue other opportunities and we wish him the best of luck for future.  We will look forward to announcing our new Executive Chef in the coming weeks.”  According to The PR office in NY:  "we are working on transferring a chef who has previously worked for us and more information will follow shortly."

Chef Jacob Anaya is no longer at Azul at the Mandarin Oriental.   It is sous chef Will Crandall who is now in charge of the waterfront restaurant that became internationally famous thanks to South Florida’s renowned chefs Michelle Bernstein and Clay Conley.  

However, according to The Mandarin Public Relations Manager Heidi Barfels, Azul is not accepting reservations and the hotel is undergoing a refurbishment. “Azul will reopen to external guests at the end of the year. Later this month, we will announce our exciting new restaurant concept replacing Café Sambal, and will be sure to keep you updated.”

Chef Richard Hales − who made a name for himself with the cutting-edge, Korean street food-inspired Sakaya Kitchen restaurants and with his Dim Ssäm à gogo food truck which he operates in conjunction with Richard Jay Brands – is preparing to launch his newest innovation. 

Scheduled to open fall 2013 in Midtown, just steps from the original Sakaya Kitchen, the intimate 50-seats,  1,780-square-foot Blackbrick aspires to become Miami’s go-to neighborhood Chinese restaurant. Hip but unpretentious, Blackbrick’s concept will straddle the line between traditional and modern, with Hales showcasing the classic training and innovative technique that has made Sakaya Kitchen such a hit. “Chinese cooking has so much diversity and a rich history.  I’m excited to explore that with diners here in my hometown,” says Hales, who is of Filipino descent and a protégé of acclaimed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.  A certified sommelier who has staged in kitchens from Hong Kong to Singapore, Hales promises a menu that transcends the traditional Chinese dishes and China’s regional cuisines.

Dishes in development include house-made soy milk pancakes with smoked pork, leek flower sauce and pickled mustard greens; cornmeal congee with wok fried marrow bones; a selection of hand-made, hand-cut noodles; a full dim sum menu of traditional favorites and contemporary selections; house-made Chinese charcuterie; also on the list a number of nose-to-tail dishes from whole lamb and pig, house-made tofu and vegetarian selections, the latter inspired by local farmers.  All sauces will be made from scratch and the restaurant will feature a custom-made wok station.  An all-day five-course menu for $35 per person will be on offer; family-style à la carte plates will range from $5 - $12.

Blackbrick, 3451 NE 1st Avenue (#103), will open in the former ACME Bakery Space. Additional details, including days/hours of operation, to be announced at a later date.

Other Sakaya Kitchen locations in Midtown (3401 North Miami Avenue, #125) and downtown Miami (125 SE 3rd Avenue) as well as the Dim Ssäm à gogo food truck.  www.midtownchinese.com

 

Chef Gregory Pugin is the new Chef de Cuisine at the famed Palme D’or at The Biltmore, Coral Gables.  Born and raised in the Southwest region of France, chef Pugin (pronounce pew-jain) was inspired by his father, also a chef.  At 16, he apprenticed with Chef Jean-Marie Gautier at the Hôtel de Palais in Biarritz, and after winning several national awards, the youth captured the attention of Master Chef Joël Robuchon and he honed his skills at Robuchon’s Paris-based laboratory.  After working for 6 years with Robuchon, including a two year stint as the Executive sous chef at L’Atelier Joël Robuchon in New York City.  He later became the Executive Chef of Veritas in New York and earned a Michelin Star and a Rising Star Chef of the Year nomination from the James Beard Foundation.  Most recently, Pugin was the Executive Chef at Le Cirque Las Vegas, a AAA Five Diamond and Michelin starred restaurant.

“This young French Chef comes to the Biltmore with international recognition for his talent.” said Matthias Kammerer, Managing Director of the Biltmore Hotel. “His training and dedication to delivering an unforgettable experience is exactly what makes him the ideal talent to carry the torch at Palme d’Or.”

Following chef Philippe Ruiz’s departure, chef Pugin fills a void in the Miami culinary scene.  Palme d’Or, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables.  (800) 727-1926.

Chef Jeff McInnis no longer at Yardbird and 50 Eggs Company
After a meteoric career that took him from the diLido at the Ritz Carlton South to opening his own restaurant Gigi, Jeff McInnis had reached a mediatic firmament with his Southern cuisine and farm-to-table ingredients at Yardbird in Miami Beach.
Chef McInnis has now left Yardbird and 50 Eggs Company and his position is taken by  Clayton Miller of Wit & Wisdom by Michael Mina, in Baltimore.
No explanation other than “personal reasons” were offered by 50 Eggs management headed by CEO and Founder John Kunkel.

 

After a meteoric career that took him from the diLido at the Ritz Carlton South Beach  to opening his own restaurant Gigi, Chef Jeff McInnis had reached a mediatic firmament with his Southern cuisine and farm-to-table ingredients at Yardbird in Miami Beach.  

Chef McInnis has now left Yardbird and 50 Eggs Company and his position is taken by  Clayton Miller of Wit & Wisdom by Michael Mina, in Baltimore.No explanation other than “personal reasons” were offered by 50 Eggs management headed by CEO and Founder John Kunkel.

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