Home / Posts Tagged "miami dining"

Here’s where you’ll be celebrating this legendary spirit

This week on August 16, National Rum Day is celebrated far and wide on many horizons, and we’ve got the best spots in Miami to pay homage to this legendary spirit. It helps that this year the holiday lands on a Friday—we can’t think of a better way to usher in the weekend than with one of these refreshing cocktails.

Vista Miami

Vista Miami {5020 Northeast Second Avenue, Miami; 305.405.7547}

The excellent mixologists at Upper Buena Vista’s idyllic spot Vista Miami are rolling out week-long specials in honor of the spirit, but we’re most taken with the Saratoga made with Havana Club rum, melon, Miel de Santo, and lime.

Matador Bar at the Miami Beach EDITION {2901 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; 786.257.4600}

Made with Havana Club Anejo Rum, St. George Coffee Liqueur, espresso, cardamom demerara, toasted pecan, banana foam, and nutmeg, the Stay Woke cocktail will do just that and keep you going all night long. Inspired by the fortune teller of the same name that has been roaming Miami Beach since the 1960s, the Ms. Clair Voyant is made with Banks 7 rum, Overproof rum, Spanish brandy, Cognac, green tea, pineapple, pink lemon, orange, aromatic spices, and clarified milk.

Malibu Farm Miami Beach {4525 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; 305.674.5579}

Enjoy unbeatable ocean views while sipping on two of this waterfront restaurant’s most popular drinks, the Mint and the Coconut. Malibu Farm’s take on the classic mojito, the Mint is made with rum, mint ginger agave, lime, and club soda; while the Coconut is a refreshingly tropical cocktail made with toasted coconut-infused rum, coconut agave, and pineapple juice.

Sugar {788 Brickell Plaza, No. 40, Miami; 786.805.4655}

If you’re looking to celebrate National Rum Day enjoying an unforgettable view of Brickell, be sure to stop by EAST and visit Miami’s infamous rooftop bar Sugar for their signature drink, the Peony. One of the rooftop oasis’ most popular rum cocktails, the Peony features vodka, dark rum, cream of coconut, pineapple, and citrus.

MO Bar + Lounge at Mandarin Oriental {500 Brickell Key Drive, Miami; 305.913.8358}

There aren’t any beaches in Hialeah, but if there were, everyone would be sipping a Hialeah Beach on the sand. The Caribbean-inspired drink combines aged rum, pineapple marmalade, allspice, lime juice, and honey.

By Sara Liss, contributing writer

Four Miami Spice Restaurants for Couples

Jaya at The Setai

With 200-plus restaurants offering three-course dinners for just $39 per person, Miami Spice is one of the best times of year to treat your special someone to an extravagant night out on the town. But with so many great restaurants, how do you know where to go? That’s where we come in. Read below for our favorite date-worthy restaurants on the Miami Spice list.

Pao by Paul Qui {3201 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; 786.655.5630}

James Beard Award-winning chef and restaurateur, Paul Qui, runs a sexy Asian restaurant in the extravagant Faena Hotel—and its sultry hues, whimsical unicorn statue, and intimate ambience make it a great place for a date night. Go during Miami Spice, and you and your S.O. can enjoy a three-course meal with Kinilaw, Pao’s popular Fried Chicken with roasted banana ketchup, Mushroom Bistek, Sisig Rice with crispy pork and fried egg, and for dessert, Elderflower Peach Sorbet with almond baba and Concord grape syrup.
*Miami Spice dinner at Pao by Paul Qui will be available every Tuesday through Saturday, from August 1 through September 30.

Café Roval {5808 Northeast 4 Court, Miami; 786.953.7850}

With its coral-rock walls, antique chandeliers, torchlit patio, and cascading waterfall, the Mediterranean-inspired Café Roval is definitely one of Miami’s most romantic restaurants. During Miami Spice, treat your special someone to appetizers like barbecued cobia Kebabs with manouri cheese or Buttone with braised lamb neck and green olives, followed by Gnocchi with rabbit sausage, Whole Orata with a fava bean labneh, or a Mixed Grill Platter with urfa peppers and tarator sauce. Finish the meal with Chocolate Marsala Cake, a Macadamia Nut Tart, or a Roasted Strawberry and Coconut Sorbet, and leave with a happy heart and a full stomach.
*Miami Spice dinner at Café Roval will be available every Sunday through Thursday, from August 1 through September 30.

Jaya at The Setai {2001 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; 855.923.7899}

The Setai, Miami Beach is like an Asian temple, and inside, Jaya at The Setai serves a menu of Indian-inspired fare with Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese influences. Grab a seat in the intimate dining room, or for a real romantic ambience, opt for a candlelit table by the hotel’s courtyard zen pond. Appetizers like Hamachi with avocado mousse and Chive or Truffle Dumplings are on the menu, as well as main dishes like Faroe Island Salmon with cardamom-scented sweet potato purée, Green Curry vegetables, Lamb Masala, and a tandoor-baked Chilean Sea Bass. For a romantic ending, get the Textures of Valrhona Chocolate with milk chocolate mousse, chocolate nib crumble, white chocolate snow, and chocolate sorbet, or the Masala Chai Crème Brûlée with chai-infused custard and a spiced chantilly.
*Miami Spice dinner at Jaya at The Setai will be available every night of the week, from August 1 through September 30. 

Palme d’Or {1200 Anastasia Avenue, Coral Gables; 305.913.3189}

As if The Biltmore wasn’t alluring enough, try its signature French restaurant and you’ll never want to leave. Helmed by Michelin-star Chef Gregory Pugin, Palme d’Or serves haute French cuisine in an elegant, vintage setting. Start with appetizers like Pan-Seared Lump Crab Cake with a curry aïoli or Pate de Foie Gras with brioche chips and buttery sautéed apples. From there, move on to Roasted Duck Breast with a wild berry gastrique or the Marinated Flat Iron Steak with shishito peppers and a pink peppercorn sauce. The desserts are sure to be as sweet as your other half—think: Madagascar Vanilla Cream with soft caramel, Chocolate Fondant Cake, or a Macaroon Tart with pineapple compote and mango sauce.
*Miami Spice dinner at Palme d’Or will be available every Tuesday through Saturday, from August 1 through September 30. 

By Jennifer Agress, contributing writer

These in-house eateries aren’t just for tourists

In Miami, we’re no stranger to hotel restaurants, whether it’s a mega-resort catering to visitors or boutique hotels looking to woo locals for a staycation. But finding a good hotel restaurant can often be a challenge. Fortunately, a plethora of exceptional hotel restaurants have sprung up over the past decade, attracting both locals and out-of-towners looking for a beautiful meal in a beautiful setting. Here are our favorites.

Lido Restaurant & Bayside Grill at The Standard

Edge Steak and Bar {Four Seasons Hotel, 1435 Brickell Avenue, Miami; 305.381.3190}

Chef Aaron Brooks helms this modern steakhouse at the Four Seasons downtown which has proven popular among local food lovers and visitors alike. The dining room feels cozy and urbane with a large rectangular-shaped marble bar lit by dangling exposed string lights and white-washed oak tables flanked by cream leather booths.

The kitchen focuses on locally-sourced ingredients that work their way into shellfish starters, hefty slabs of beef, and creative mains like the Basil-Crusted Corvina with piquillo peppers. A gorgeous outdoor terrace offers downtown skyline views.

The Bazaar by Jose Andres {SLS Hotel, 1701 Collins Avenue, Suite 100, Miami Beach; 305.455.2999}

Prepare for sensory overload at this clubby outpost for global tapas and exotic cocktails. Like its LA counterpart, there are two dining rooms: “rojo,” a red and black accented spot in the hotel’s lobby with black leather couches and a bull’s head clad in a lucha libre mask;  and “blanca,” a quieter option adorned with a massive seashell-clad chandelier.

The epic menu contains anywhere from 60-80 items that change daily but can include Bacalao Fritters served in a clear plastic sneaker and a Scallop Risotto presented in a coconut shell.

La Mar {Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 500 Brickell Key Drive, Miami; 305.913.8358}

Peruvian Chef Gaston Acurio’s downtown Miami outpost occupies a gorgeous waterfront spot at Brickell Key’s Mandarin Oriental. The main dining room is awash in shades of watery greens, sandy grays, and beiges and wood, but it’s the enticing outdoor terrace that offers glittering views of downtown. It provides the perfect backdrop to Chef Diego Oka’s contemporary Peruvian dishes with colorful tweaks.

Lido Restaurant & Bayside Grill {The Standard Hotel, 40 Island Avenue, Miami Beach; 305.673.1717}

The Standard’s hipster-friendly pool deck is also home to one of South Beach’s best waterfront patios. Chef Mark Zeitouni’s menu emphasizes Mediterranean dishes that please vegetarians and carnivores alike.

Zuma {Epic Hotel, 270 Biscayne Boulevard Way, Downtown; 305.577.0277}

Upscale Asian dishes compliment a dock crowded with million-dollar yachts. If you’re looking to indulge, reserve a spot during their weekend brunch where the restaurant rolls out nearly the entire menu: buffets of endless fresh sushi, skewers of marinated beef and vegetables from the robata grill, and prepared salads. Then there’s a bottomless glass of Louis Roederer Champagne in addition to Bloody Marys made with robata-grilled tomatoes. And it all goes perfectly with the waterfront views of downtown. 

By Sara Liss, contributing writer


Mark your calendars! It’s time for beer.

For a feast like no other, beer lovers are invited to join Chef Clark Bowen, of Downtown Miami’s db Bistro Moderne {255 Biscayne Boulevard Way, Downtown Miami; 305.421.8800}, as he teams up with Wynwood Brewing Company for a one-time-only four-course beer pairing dinner. Taking place on Tuesday, October 18, at Daniel Boulud’s Miami outpost, fans of Chef Bowen can indulge in the following menu:


Fried Green Tomatoes
Shrimp Ceviche
Mushroom Arancini
Beer Pairing: La Rubia, American Blonde Ale


Course 1: Florida Figs with Burrata, rocket coulis, and focaccia tuile
Beer Pairing: Guava the Hut, Berliner Weiss

Course 2: Local Pompano with confit fennel, blistered tomatoes, and lemon
Beer Pairing: Wyntoberfest, Märzen

Course 3: Pork Tasting with roasted shoulder, beer sausage, and baby carrots
Beer Pairing: Wynwood Fox, Imperial Red Ale

Course 4: Chocolate Opera Cake with a chocolate biscuit, coffee cream, and vanilla ice cream
Beer Pairing: Pop’s Porter, Robust Porter

This event will kick-off with a reception at 7pm, followed by dinner at 7:30pm. The cost is $60 per person. For more information about this event, or to make a reservation, contact Leah Polinski at [email protected].

Happy dining!

By Jennifer Agress | Miami Editor


Now on Miami Beach, everyone’s favorite upscale Asian hotel, The Setai, Miami Beach, has added a tableside Japanese Beer and Sake Cart to its signature restaurant, Jaya at The Setai {2001 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; 305.520.6000}.

Along with the restaurant’s modern Asian cuisine by Chopped winner and Executive Chef Matthew Gervais, Jaya diners can now choose from special Japanese and imported beers–like Echigo Koshihikari Rice BeerOze No Yukidoke IPA and Singha–as well as local Miami favorites, like Funky Buddha and The Floridian. As for Sake, the cart has plenty of handpicked options: including Flying Pegasus Daiginjo Koshu, Soto Junmai Daiginjo, Minato Harbor Yamahai Nama Genshu, or Dewatsuru Sakura Emaki Rose.

Rolling right up to the table, Jaya’s Japanese Beer and Sake Cart is available both indoors and in the hotel’s enchanting courtyard during lunch, dinner or Sunday brunch. To try it for yourself, head to Jaya at The Setai during the following hours:

Monday – Saturday Lunch
11:30am – 3pm

Monday – Thursday & Sunday Dinner
7 – 11pm

Friday and Saturday Dinner
7pm – Midnight

Sunday Brunch
11:30am – 3pm

Happy dining!

By Jennifer Agress | Miami Editor

Don’t let the location fool you. Situated in an outdoor shopping center in southwest Kendall—a good 40-minute drive from trendy South Beach—and in Doral, Pisco Y Nazca Ceviche Gastrobar features some of the tastiest morsels in South Florida. Tops on their menu are the ceviches, blends of traditional yet modern ingredients that call on the flavors of Peru.
It’s no surprise that this lust-worthy concept was created by the Centurion Restaurant Group, the same visionaries behind Bulla Gastrobar in Coral Gables. After all, this is a group known for bright flavors and the bold use of Spanish ingredients. But instead of touring Spain for menu inspiration at Pisco Y Nazca, Owner Carlos Centurion and VP/Partner Juan Carlos Marchan traveled to Peru. The result: the highly acclaimed debut of Pisco Y Nazca in late 2015.
Although he originally hails from Ecuador, Marchan is in love with Peruvian cuisine and culture. It only makes sense, then, that he would imbue his newest restaurant with the spirit and soul of Peru—from the innovative menu to the friendly, approachable service and earth tone-rich design. It helps that Executive Chef Miguel Antonio Gomez Fernandez was born and raised in Peru, and understands the straightforward flavors of the cuisine. Central to this tradition is the edgy, ineluctable, inimitable Peruvian heat.
“Peruvians love their spice,” Marchan says. “The country has hundreds of different type of peppers, many of which are native to Peru.” To showcase that variety, Pisco Y Naza features a piquant punch in many of their signature ceviches, where freshly caught seafood is marinated in a blend of citrus, chile peppers, and tropical fruits. The Cremoso Ceviche, for example, combines mahi and shrimp with habanero peppers, creamy leche de tigre, celery, and sweet potato. Another spicy choice: the Jalapeño Huacatay, which bathes salmon and shrimp in a creamy jalapeño leche de tigre sauce.
The most popular ceviche on Pisco Y Nazca’s menu, however, is the Rocoto—a meaty mix of mahi, shrimp, octopus, fried calamari, rocoto leche de tigre, cancha, and sweet potato.
For fish lovers unsure of the raw seafood in ceviche, dishes like the Pargo Crocante might be a better pick—fried whole snapper served over a spicy Asian sauce—or the Salmon Andino—seared salmon served over a bed of quinoa salad and avocado with huacatay sauce. And don’t miss the Choros Mariners, a pound of steamed mussels swimming in ají amarillo, chico de jora, and cream served with a stack of crostini to soak up the leftover broth.
With its focus on fresh fish, often served raw, Pisco Y Nazca is intent on sourcing only the highest quality seafood. An impressive feat, considering that its under-the-sea stars hail from all over the Americas, including Peru, Ecuador, and Mexico. That variety is what yields a rainbow of flavors on the menu, however—a signature tack of which Chef Miguel is particularly proud.
If you’re not a fan of seafood, don’t fret; carnivores are not forgotten at Pisco Y Nazca. Just as central to Peruvian cuisine are dishes like Lomo Saltado (stir-fried tenderloin), Churrascazo (grilled aged Angus skirt steak), and Anticucho Corazón (grilled beef heart skewers). There’s even a twist on the classic burger—dubbed the Que Bestia Burger—which features a charred eight-ounce Angus beef patty, accompanied by tomato-panca chutney, rocoto pepper aïoli, and shoestring fries.
Alongside these perennial favorites are rustic, flaky empanadas filled with chicken stew or mushrooms, classic Pollo Asado (crispy roasted half chicken with french fries and green salad), and hearty Chaufa (fried rice with shrimp and calamari).
For dessert, there’s only one option that commends itself: the Chocolate Dome. This decadent gustatory valediction is composed of a sphere of dark chocolate filled with sweet potato custard and warm ganache. “It’s been a tremendous success,” enthuses Marchan. “I cannot tell you how many times our guests whip out their phones to see this dessert unveiled tableside.” The inspiration came, not surprisingly, from a restaurant in Lima. Marchan’s culinary team simply customized the concept for an American clientele.
Food, however, is only half of the culinary equation; drink is an absolute must in Peruvian culture. The country’s national drink, Pisco Sour, is naturally foremost on the menu. “It’s a classic cocktail, and you don’t really want to mess with it,” Marchan notes. To wit, Pisco Y Nazca’s rendition is stiff and strong, just as it is served in Peru—made with three ounces of Pisco Cuatro Gallos to awaken all of the senses.
Beer is a fixture in Peru, too; Peruvian labels like Cristal and Cusqueña are offered at Pisco Y Nazca, alongside Miami craft bews like MIA Weisse, Wynwood La Rubia, and Pop’s Porter. If the prospect of a full Peruvian meal is a bit daunting, Marchan encourages guests to sip and sample at happy hour, stretching from 4-7pm daily. There are even soccer games broadcast on flatscreen TVs for obsessed footballers.
Whoever you are, you likely have a place at Pisco Y Nazca. “Our crowd is comprised of adventurous foodies, social butterflies, and generally awesome people,” quips Marchan. “Kendall is a growing area and has welcomed us with open arms. In turn, we welcome everyone.”
So what’s next for Pisco Y Nazca? A second location is already open in Doral, not to mention an expanded menu and updated design. The restaurant’s expansion will roll out from there, with planned spin-offs in Sunrise and Tampa, Florida; Washington, DC; and Houston.
“We want to continue sharing our love for Peruvian cuisine,” says Marchan. “We’ve had multiple requests from travelers all over the country to bring this gem to their home cities. That’s exactly what we plan to do.”
By Jacquelynn Powers Maurice | Print Contributor

Spasso - Cooking Class

Cooking Class at Spasso

Mexican Independence Day
When: Friday, September 16, 11am-Midnight
Where: Down N’ Dirty Tacos and Tequila Bar {1144 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach; 305.604.0323}
What: This Mexican taqueria invites guests to celebrate Mexican Independence Day with all-day specials and an exclusive happy hour event. On Friday, September 16, guests can indulge in a prix-fixe menu, along with beer and shot specials, from open to close. A fun–filled happy hour will run from 4-6pm, and will include Partida Tequila, a live DJ, sombreros, piñatas, and more.
Burgers, Babes & Booze
When: Sunday, September 18, 3pm-Sundown
Where: W Miami {485 Brickell Avenue, Brickell; 305.503.4400}
What: This Sunday, celebrate National Cheeseburger Day at W Miami. Starting at 3pm, this event invites guests to head to the terrace of 15th & Vine, mingle with some of Miami’s favorite female chefs, and indulge in their most inventive cheeseburger creations. Participating chefs include: Nicole Votano of DIRT, Adrianne Calvo of Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard Restaurant and Wine Bar, Cindy Hutson of Zest, and Jessica Sanchez of Loba. The cost of the event is $35 per person, and includes four sliders of the guest’s choice, two sides from 15th & Vine, and one beer from a local Miami brewery. Tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite HERE. For more information, send an email to [email protected]
National Bourbon Month
When: Through September 30
Where: Fontainebleau Miami Beach {4441 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; 305.538.2000}
What: September is National Bourbon Month, and the Fontainebleau Miami Beach has turned into a bourbon lover’s paradise. Throughout the month, guests will find bourbon-infused Bon Bon’s at Chez Bon Bon, specialty cocktails at Bleau Bar and Scarpetta, and special High West cocktails at StripSteak. Running with the trend, StripSteak will also offer bourbon flights at the bar, and its tableside Whiskey Ceremony will feature High West Whiskey for this month only. During StripSteak’s weekly Cigar Social, guests can order a High West Whiskey flight for $25++ per person. Finally, through Breakeven at StripSteak, patrons can sit at the bar and get a taste of exclusive, limited-edition bourbons at the restaurant’s break-even price.
Mani in Pasta (Hands in the Pasta)
When: Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, 10:30am-2:30pm
Where: Spasso {3540 Main Highway, Coconut Grove; 305.441.0219}
What: Have you always wanted to learn how to make fresh pasta? Are you curious to know how focaccia leavens? In this cooking class, guests will learn both. Led by Chef Gaetano, of Spasso, future cooks will get a hands-on lesson working with various cuts of egg pasta, from tagliatelle and pappardelle, to ravioli, tortelloni, and more. At the end of the course, participants will get a diploma, as well as a chance to savor a wine-pairing lunch featuring their own dishes. Each class lasts four hours and costs $49 per person.
Ladies Night Out with Free Prosecco
When: Every Thursday, 4-8pm
Where: Spasso {3540 Main Highway, Coconut Grove; 305.441.0219}
What: Every Thursday at Spasso, wind down with your girlfriends, as ladies enjoy free Prosecco from 4-8pm.
Happy Hour
When: Daily
Where: Spasso {3540 Main Highway, Coconut Grove; 305.441.0219}
What: Spend the Happiest Hour(s) of your day at Spasso! During the appropriate hours, enjoy a 5 for $5 happy hour menu, which includes your choice of one of five Neapolitan-style Pizzettas, wine by the glass, and select cocktails—like the fresh Sorrentino, which is made with rum, Limoncello, and lemon and orange juices—for $5 each.
By Jennifer Agress | Miami Editor

Birrificio Anelo Poretti

When it comes to good Italian classics, few do it better in Miami than the South of Fifth Staple, TiramesU {101 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach; 305.532.4538}. And on August 31st, this restaurant will wrap up Summer 2016 in style by hosting an Italian-inspired, beer-pairing dinner with none other than Varese-based brewing company, Birrificio Angelo Poretti. Priced at just $65 per person, this five-course feast is filling up fast, so see what food Chef Fabrizio Pintus has in store below and make your reservation(s) now.

Here’s what’s on the menu at TiramesU’s August 31st Birrificio Angelo Poretti dinner:

Aperitivo: Gamberie Fiori Di Zuvva in Tempura
Shrimp and zucchini flowers in tempura, paired with Birrificio Angelo Poretti 10 Hops Bollicine

Antipasto: Carpaccio di Salmone agli Agrumi
Marinated salmon, fennel orange salad and 4 HOPS sorbet, paired with Birrificio Angelo Poretti 4 Hops

Primo Piatto: White Lasagna
Sausage, chestnut, spinach and 5 HOPS jus, paired with Birrificio Angelo Poretti 5 Hops

Secondo Piatto: Petto D’Anatra
Kale, mango chutney, rapes and 6 HOPS reduction, paired with Birrificio Angelo Poretti 6 Hops

Dessert: Parfait Speziato ai 6 Luppoli
Spices 6 HOPS parfait and warm raspberries sauce, paired with Birrificio Angelo Poretti 10 Hops Rosé

Drooling yet? We know we are. This dinner will take place on August 31st at 8:30 p.m. Make your reservation now by calling 305.532.4538 or sending an e-mail to [email protected].

Happy Dining!

By Jennifer Agress | Miami Editor

It’s the last weekend of Summer Olympics 2016, so if you haven’t gotten in the Rio spirit by now, it’s time to start. No matter who you’re cheering for, go for the gold with these Olympic-themed cocktails inspired by the Rio games. They’re sure to have you feeling like a champion in no time.
The Place: The Lounge at The Setai {2001 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; 305.520.6000}
From Opening to Closing ceremonies, this lounge will transform into a mini “Copacabana Beach” where guests can watch the games on the big screen, sip on this Olympic-Rings cocktail, and cheer on their team in style.
The Drink: It’s a mix of vodka, lemon, lime, and champagne, served with Life Savers or gummy rings to make sure you get those five, Olympic-level rings.
“Banana Batida”
The Place: Mondrian South Beach {1100 West Avenue, Miami Beach; 305.514.1500}
It’s available at the outside bar, by the pool, during the hotel’s new 5-day happy hour. It runs Monday to Friday, from 4 – 7 p.m.
The Drink: Inspired by Brazil, the Banana Batida is a sweet and refreshing summer slushie made with coconut-infused Avua cachaça, bananas, pineapple, and condensed milk.
“Soul Cachaca”
The Place: American Social Brickell {690 SW 1st Court, Brickell; 305.223.7004}
The Drink: Launched solely for the Olympic games, Soul Cachaca is a two-week-long cocktail menu inspired by the Brazilian spirit. From August 5th to August 21st, fans can drink around the world  with five variations of the traditional Caipirinha cocktail, each representing a different country: the United States, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, or Italy.
“Kiwi Caipirinha”
The Place: SUSHISAMBA Miami Beach {600 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach; 305.673.5337}
The Drink: Cachaça is Brazil’s national spirit, and the base of this Rio-inspired drink. Here, it’s muddled with kiwi and lime and garnished with fresh kiwi slices.
By Jennifer Agress | Miami Editor

TEMPURA AVOCADO, Essensia Restaurant & Lounge

In Florida, the only thing we love more than avocados is coming up with fun, new ways to eat them. Luckily, we here in Miami have Executive Chef Venoy Rogers III—the mastermind behind Essensia Restaurant + Lounge {3025 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; 305.908.5458} and our personal guru on all things delicious, good-for-you cuisine—to make sure that happens. Fusing his own “New American” twist into Essensia’s local, seasonal, farm-to-table menu, Chef Rogers came up with a fun way to enjoy this favorite South Florida fruit, with a little indulgence thrown in for good measure.

Want to try this dish for yourself? Head to Chef Rogers’ must-try restaurant, in The Palms Hotel & Spa, and order his Tempura Avocado. Then, when you love it, go home and use the recipe below to whip it up on your own.

Tempura Avocado from Executive Chef Venoy Rogers III of Essensia Restaurant + Lounge
serves four to six

The Ingredients

Tomato Chipotle Jam:
1 c Roma tomato, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 c red wine vinegar
2 tsp Chipotle Purée
1/2 small red onion, 1/4 c diced
salt and pepper, to taste

Cilantro-Lime Crème Fraiche:
1 lime, juice and zest
1/2 c crème fraiche or sour cream
1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Tempura Batter:
2 egg whites
1 c All-Purpose Flour
2/3 c cold water

Tempura Avocado:
2 avocados
6 c oil, excluding olive oil
sea salt, to taste

The Method

For Tomato Chipotle Jam: Sauté onion in a large sauté pan for four to six minutes.  Add diced tomatoes and cook for an additional four to six minutes. Deglaze the pan with vinegar. Add all remaining ingredients, and allow everything to simmer on medium or low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced and the consistency resembles jam.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For Cilantro-Lime Crème Fraiche: Combine all ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

For Tempura Batter: Beat egg whites until frothy. Fold flour and cold water into the egg whites until the batter is barely mixed.

For Tempura Avocado: Remove the skin and pit from the avocado. Slice each avocado into six even wedges. Using a fork or a skewer, dip each avocado wedge into the tempura batter and shake off the excess batter. Fry each wedge in oil at 355 degrees for two minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the wedges from oil and season immediately.

To Serve: Drizzle Cilantro-Lime Crème Fraiche directly on the serving plate, and space battered avocado wedges evenly across. Fill the curve of each wedge, where the pit used to be, with a dollop of the Tomato Chipotle Jam and serve.


By Jennifer Agress | Miami Editor