Richard Hales, the man responsible for Midtown favorites Sakaya Kitchen and Blackbrick is doing it again, only this time he's bringing hot chicken to Miami with the opening of Bird & Bone at the ever-hip Wynwood Yard. With a summer opening planned, Hales is giving his popular Dim Ssäm à Gogo truck a makeover to turn it into Bird & Bone on the fly. On the menu: hot chicken, ribs and sides. His signature dish will feature spicy fried chicken on Zak the Baker bread topped with a cooling pickle. There will also be chicken wings, nuggets and half a chicken --- all of which will be offered from the mild to fiery heat spectrum. Those who don't like it hot will also have the option to order their bird "Southern" style with no sauce, as well as ribs of the day with both dry and wet rubs. Sides like pimento mac 'n' cheese, green godess cole slaw and wedge fries will also be available. Bird & Bone, Wynwood Yard, 56 NW 29th St., Miami, FL 33137, no phone.
The New York City speakeasy, Employees Only, will makes its first foray outside the Big Apple with a Miami debut at the Washington Park Hotel sometime this fall. In addition to Miami, the beloved watering hole will be opening locations in Singapore and Austin, Texas. Employees Only will be the signature restaurant and bar for the Washington Park Hotel, comprising four landmarked Art Deco hotels with 181 guest rooms. The Employees Only New York counterpart pours 183,000 cocktails per year, and dishes up impressive food from an exotic menu. No word yet on what the Miami location has in store, but expect a long line of people eager to sip classic and modern cocktails. Employees Only, Washington Park Hotel Complex, 1050 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33139, no phone.
The always-packed (and drawing a line out the door) Mexican Wynwood taco shack and speakeasy Coyo Taco is opening a "second" location in Brickell. The taqueria --- popular for its mouthwatering elote, exotic tacos (think duck confit, octopus or cactus), and churros with cajeta --- attempted to "pop-up" at the Shore Club South Beach early 2016 but without much traction, its flame dwindled down quietly. Chef and partner Scott Linquist states that this location in Miami's financial district makes perfect sense for those looking for an inxpensive yet flavorful lunch or dinner option. Expected to open in May, the menu will be similar to the Wynwood location, with some dishes from the pop-up such as the grouper and lobster taco carrying over. They'll also be mixing up micheladas and sangrias.
The Japanese Dragonfly Izakaya & Fish Market, popular with college students in Gainesville and tourists and denizens of Orlando, has found a third home. Nestled in the Downtown Doral billion-dollar development and clocking in at 6,000 square feet, Dragonfly resembles a Japanese temple. A fish market at the entrance pays tribute to the famous Tsukiji Fish Market in Japan. Here, you can get bento boxes to-go, house-made and rare boutique items such as exotic soy sauce (yes, there is such a thing) sourced directly from Japan. As for the menu, it's a hefty one. Expect all the usual suspects like gyoza, shishito peppers, grilled robata items, noodles and fried rice, nigiri, sashimi, and of course, sushi. But also: unique and off-the-beaten-path items including roasted tri-cauliflower, golden raisins and pine nuts; garlic blue crab fried rice with shisho and nori; beef tongue; and a neck-to-tail tasting menu that's handmade daily. Wash it down with handcrafted seasonal omakase cocktails, Japanese whiskey or a carefully curated selection of sake and shochu. Lunch & Dinner Daily.
Raw foods guru and vegan authority Matthew Kenney has authored 12 cookbooks on plant matters, oversees a handful of restaurants throughout the country, founded his namesake cuisine as well as the Matthew Kenney Culinary Academy, and now, the chef is bringing his talents to Miami's burgeoning Arts District with the hotly anticipated opening of Plant Food + Wine. At his plant temple tucked away in a pocket of Wynwood and impossible to find unless you're looking for it (part of the charm), diners feel as if they've left Miami and are somewhere in California. A seamless and sprawling outdoor/indoor space with a pool speaks to the restaurant's naturist and plant-forward menu. Open for lunch, and dinner daily (with a happy hour, no less), the menu features a plethora of small plates, mains, snacks and artisanal "cheese." There's also a chef's tasting menu consisting of five courses should you want to take your taste buds on a culinary journey through the plant kingdom, and --- if you want to replicate the raw goodness at home --- culinary classes every day. Lunch & Dinner daily. Plant Food + Wine, Sacred Space Miami, 105 NE 24 St., Miami, FL 33137, 305-814-5365.
Diego Muñoz, who got his culinary training under legends Ferran Adria and Gaston Acurio, has opened 1111 Peruvian Bistro in Brickell. Joining him in the kitchen is executive chef Geancarlo Mayorga. The menu showcases old world concepts and authentic Peruvian fare but with a modern twist and Asian influences. Think classics like lomo saltado, Peruvian anticuchos (grilled octopus, veal heart and chicken livers), calamari jalea, and king crab and poached chicken causa, as well as mussels, and duck and prune terrine. 1111 Peruvian Bistro, 1111 SW 1st Ave., Miami, FL 33130, 786-615-9633.
James Beard nominee, "Top Chef" alum, and former Gigi and Yardbird executive chef Jeff McInnis returns to Miami after a two-year hiatus in New York where he currently owns Root & Bone (praised for serving some of the best fried chicken in NYC) with his fellow "Top Chef" alum, Gigi and Yardbird colleague, and life partner Janine Booth. The culinary power duo has opened Sarsaparilla Club at the swank Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach. Named after the sarsaparilla root and keeping in theme with Root & Bone in New York, the American dim sum eatery is a departure from McInnis’ southern roots and has several cultural influences including Australian, Asian, Indian and American. Carts roll around the dining room, pushing everything from carrot and beet tartare, drunken deviled eggs and homemade ricotta with tomato sorbet to Sarsaparilla floats with toffee ice cream and fifty cherries and banana cream cake with torched meringue (yes, there is a dessert cart). Or you can go the kitchen route and indulge in shrimp and bacon stuffed wings, sweet corn "grits," rock shrimp laksa with coconut turmeric broth and egg noodles, and green curry fried chicken with makrut lime powder and toasted coconut. Sarsaparilla Club, Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach, One 18th St., Miami Beach, FL 33139, 305-341-1400.
Looking for sustainable sustenance in downtown's concrete- and coffee-laden landscape? Head to the historic Alfred I. DuPont Building where Manna Life Food offers sweet and savory bowls, arepas made using flax seeds and other grains, noritos (nori burritos), smoothies, juices, raw and baked treats, and grab-n-go items, all spiked and chockfull of ancient food (or what we nowawadays refer to as superfoods). Everything is made in house and from scratch using no refined ingredients. Manna Life Food is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Manna Life Food, Alfred I. DuPont Building, 80 NE 2nd Ave., Miami, FL 33132, 786-717-5060.
The guys responsible for the evolution and revolution of Miami's cocktail culture, Elad Zvi and Gabe Orta (otherwise known as the Bar Lab Boys, behind The Broken Shaker and Restaurant 27) are doing it again; this time with 80s throwback lounge and tiki bar, The Anderson. Taking over the former and legendary Magnum (RIP) space (which has Miami's oldest standing liquor license since the shuttering of Tobacco Road), The Anderson pays tribute to classic cocktails and simpler times in a dungeon’s dark, and cool setting. In partnership with local PR maven Jordan Binder and with menu conceptualization by Vagabond Restaurant & Bar's Alex Chang, The Anderson brings together a cool vibe, classic and modern cocktails, and innovative chow in an unruffled setting. Think red and black booths, dark wallpapered walls, a Pac-Man machine, jukebox with 80s classics, DJ booth/piano stage, and outdoor tiki bar (sand and all). As for libations and comestibles, you'll be drinking twists on dirty martinis, appletinis and cosmopolitans, and washing down Tex-Mex queso, Japanese hot dogs with samurai sauce, and patty melts with aged comte, caramelized onions and horseradish creme fraiche served on marble rye. The Anderson is open Tuesday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 4 a.m.; and Sunday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. email@example.com. The Anderson, 709 NE 79 St., Miami, FL 33138, 305-757-3368.
Cindy Hutson is a name synonymous with Miami flavors. Her restaurant on Miracle Mile, the aptly named Ortanique On the Mile, has been serving Caribbean-meets-Floridian fare (dubbed "Cuisine of the Sun") for more than 16 years. And now, she's bringing her notorious coffee and cocoa encrusted wild salmon and jerk chicken pasta to downtown with the opening of Zest. Located in the Southeast Financial Center in the heart of downtown, Zest is open for lunch and dinner daily, with an adjoining Zest Mrkt dishing out breakfast and lunch from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Think grab-n-go gourmet delights such as a shawarma of the week. As for Zest, the menu features Ortanique On the Mile favorites and new creations such as root beer braised heritage pork belly, crispy buttermilk oysters and grits, curried octopus, and lobster rundown doused in a scotch bonnet pepper coconut sauce. Zest, Southeast Financial Center, 200 South Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33131, 305-374-9378.
The popular food-truck-turned-brick-and-mortar, Ms. Cheezious, took years to open its first gourmet grilled cheese shop in Miami's MiMo district, but the second location in Coral Gables has been nothing but smooth sailing. You no longer have to drive all the way north or chase one of its trio of trucks around town to get your fix of adult grilled cheese. Inhabiting the former Route 9 location, Ms. Cheezious caters to the Coral Gables corporate crowd by offering take-out, delivery, and express lunch. All the sarnies that made the roving truck Miami famous (BBQ pulled pork, grilled blue and bacon, crabby cheese melt, southern fried chicken and waffle melt) plus new creations (Frito pie, mack n' melt, croqueta monsieur, patty melt and s'mores melt), and even some surprises are in store for diners. Lunch & Dinner Daily. Ms. Cheezious, 1915 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Miami, FL 33134, no phone.
It seems like Miami had been waiting for J&G Grill's pastry virtuoso Antonio Bachour to open up his namesake bakery and cafe, Bachour Bakery + Bistro. His partner, former Sra. Martinez and Eating House sous chef Henry Hane will be responsible for most of the savory side while Bachour will do what he does best: sweet. Expect morning pastries from scratch (think danishes, brioche, and a plethora of croissants, like guava and cheese), as well as selection of desserts ranging from bonbons and macarons to petits gateaux (mini cakes) and layered verrines. Specialty cakes are also available. The plan is to work with and highlight as many local and tropical fruits a possible (expect lots of passion fruit --- a personal favorite of Bachour). On the savory side, Hane dishes out salads, open-face sandwiches, housemade soups and veggie-heavy main dishes. Breakfast offerings include a yogurt bowl with ginger honey yogurt, stewed fruits, and house granola; "bird in a nest," an herb salad topped with brioche and a fried egg; "egg jar," a 64-degree egg with potato purée, lardons, and grilled bread; and brioche toast with whipped ricotta and seasonal jam. For lunch, the "everything" smoked salmon on everything-bagel-seasoned sourdough and a duck confit sandwich make for solid offerings. Bachour Bakery + Bistro, Brickell World Plaza, 600 Brickell Ave., Miami, FL 33130, 305-330-6310 .
Chef Sunny Oh, along with restaurateurs Jonas and Alexandra Millán, have opened Sushi Garage in Sunset Harbour. It was once an auto body and paint shop, except now there are fish sculptures dangling from the ceiling, handcrafted tiles dressing the floor, and fresh ginger and herbs sprouting throughout the restaurant. Designed by Alejandro Barrios (who won The James Beard Foundation Design Award for sister property Juvia), the space is crisp and hip. Chef Oh (who spent over a decade at Nobu prior to opening Juvia) is dishing out innovative takes on traditional Japanese fare. Expect hot and cold appetizers like kampachi yuzu, cilantro salt tiradito and chicken shrimp gyoza. Mains feature usual suspects like miso seabass (but with maple) and sliced tenderloin teriyaki. Of course, there's plenty of nigiri to choose from (truffle shitaki nigiri, anyone?), and handcrafted libations mixed up by Jerome Hurtado. Even dessert has been carefully curated, thanks to pastry chef Gregory Gourreau, who's worked alongside Alain Ducasse and Francois Payard. Sushi Garage, 1784 West Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33139, 305-763-8355.
Olympic gold medalist and two-time NBA Champion Ray Allen can now add restauranteur to his impressive resume. The former Miami Heat player along with his wife Shannon will be opening Grown, a fast-casual organic concept in South Miami, sometime in March. Born out of a need to feed their children something fast yet nutritious and delicious, Grown will put special emphasis on seasonal and sustainable products, with a lot of vegetables and herbs coming straight from the restaurant's rooftop garden. For menu development and execution, the Allens have tapped executive chef Todd Kiley from Chicago restaurant group Rainforest Cafe. Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be offered -- everything from small-batch, from-scratch soups, salads, sandwiches and wraps, gluten-free backed goods, made-to-order cold pressed juices, fruit smoothies and fair trade coffees and teas. Grown will feature a drive-thru as well as a grab-and-go section. Eventually, the Allens hope to franchise the concept, with each Grown staying true to its area and whatever is in season and available locally. Grown, 8211 South Dixie Hwy., Miami, FL 33143, 305-663-GROW.
An Exclusive Culinary Experience with Rare Cars
It was only a matter of time before someone decided to make a showroom highlighting the world's most desirable cars into a dining room. Enter Supercar Rooms, an auto art gallery in Wynwood from the visionary behind UK's esteemed London Motor Museum Elo. At Supercar Rooms, six of the world's most coveted cars are on display alongside outdoor dining "pods" for members. How does one become a member? Just show up and it's free. Once in the club, repeat visits will determine ongoing membership. Open Friday through Sunday for dinner, Supercar Rooms has partnered with nearby Peruvian gem GK Bistronomie for its inaugural restaurant partner (partner restaurants will rotate every month), which will be dishing out a special chef's tasting. Your exotic car-meets-culinary-experience will set you back $3,000 for a pod. Another alternative is to sit at the bar for a cocktail and post-dinner entertainment of rotating DJs and musical acts.
James Beard Nominations Include Alter Along with a Handful of Miami Chefs
Semifinalists for the 26th annual James Beard Foundation Awards are selected from a list of more than 20,000 online entries and 21 categories, of which more than a handful of Miami chefs and one restaurant have been selected. In the running: Bradley Kilgore (for Rising Star of the Year and his restaurant Alter as a contender in Best New Restaurant category), as well as Giorgio Rapicavoli (Eating House), Deme Lomas (NIU Kitchen), Michael Pirolo (Macchialina), and Jose Mendin (Pubbelly) --- all up for Best Chef in the South. Pastry virtuoso Antonio Bachour of J&G Grill is nominated for Outstanding Pastry Chef and restaurant mavens Michael Mina and Stephen Starr are semifinalists in the Outstanding Restaurateur category, awarded to restaurateurs who "set high national standards in restaurant operation and entrepreneurship" for their contributions to Miami. Finalists will be announced March 15, after more than 600 judges (an amalgamation of food critics, editors, educators and past James Beard winners) from across the nation cast their votes. Winners will then be revealed at the James Beard Awards Gala at Lyric Opera of Chicago Monday, May 2. A complete list of 2016 Beard semifinalists can be found on the official website. Alter and Miami Chefs Nominated for 2016 James Beard Award
Shake Shack Introduces Chicken Sandwich
After 12 years of flipping patties and dishing out arguably some of the best burgers in the country, Danny Meyer's burger empire Shake Shack has introduced a crispy chicken sandwich. Dubbed Chick'n Shack, the creation stays true to Shake Shack's commitment to using 100-percent natural, antiobiotic-free meat. Priced at $6.29, the Chick'n Shack is composed of crisp chicken breast, lettuce, pickles and buttermilk herb mayo between a GMO-free potato roll. Like with their burgers, it pairs exceptionally well with cheese fries and a milkshake. Shake Shack, Lincoln Road Mall, 1111 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach, FL 33139, 305-434-7787.
For those who know and love Roel Alcudia's elevated and flawleslly executed fare from Michael Schwartz's ode to fine dining Cypress Room (now turned Cypress Tavern), you can now get a taste of the chef's inimitable cooking at the Design District Greek-Turkish gem, Mandolin Aegean Bistro. Before landing in Miami, the Filipino immigrant got his kitchen experience at Thomas Keller's Per Se, Tom Colicchio's Craft and Jonathan Waxman's Barbuto. While Mandolin is a departure from his fine dining background, Alcudia will be heading up the global expansion of the brand as it makes its way into Soho Houses worldwide (they're already in Miami's Soho Beach House and the Istanbul outpost). It's within these confines that Alcudia will excercise his vast experience to infuse a bit of each location into its corresponding menu, and basically taking Mandolin to the next level of its culinary evolution. As for the Design District flagship, expect flatbreads to go a bit more gourmet, more local fish gracing the menu, and a slew of daily specials in tandem with what's sesonally available and grown in Mandolin's very own garden. Mandolin Aegean Bistro, 4312 NE 2nd Ave. , Miami , FL 33137, 305-576-6066.
MIAMI RESTAURANT CLOSINGS
City Hall The Restaurant in Miami has shuttered. City Hall The Restaurant, 2004 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33137, no phone.