Ramen lovers can get their noodle fix at the newly opened Ichimi in Coral Gables. Helmed by executive chef Constantine De Lucia (formerly of Momi Ramen, Lure Fishbar and Estiatorio Milos), the Japanese restaurant features gyoza, izakaya, sashimi, and of course, ramen. Noodles are made the traditional way, using a machine imported straight from Japan and are served dipping style (hot broths with cold ramen for your dipping pleasure) or cold (meant to be eaten like a salad). Traditional offerings include tonkotsu, while unorthodox creations such as carbonara add a whole new meaning to ramen. Ichimi, 2330 Salzedo St., Coral Gables, FL 33134, 305-960-7016.
Former Cypress Room sous chef Michael Beltran teamed up with Brickell hotspot Sidebar owner to bring progressive American eatery Ariete to burgenoning Coconut Grove. Quaint and charming, Ariete boasts a dimly and beautifully lit outdoor patio, warm dining room with an open kitchen, and downstairs wine cellar. The ever-changing menu, dependant on the seasons, is broken up by snacks, appetizers, entrees and larger plates designed to share. Current dishes include foie gras with plantains, temptation caramel and cocoa nibs; grilled oysters with bone marrow butter; and grilled short rib with red pepper jus. Ariete, 3540 Main Hwy., Miami, FL 33133, 305-640-5862.
John Kunkel --- the man who gave us fast-casual Lime, as well as Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, Khong River (RIP) and Swine --- has gone back to his fast-casual roots, only this time he's doing it southern style. Spring Chicken, which opened January 29, is an ode to fried chicken. All animals, which come from Springer Mountain Farms in northern Georgia, are ethically raised cage free --- with no hormones, steroids or antibiotics. The menu consists of blue plates with two-piece drumsticks, wings, dark, white and jumbo tenders, or, if you're really hungry, three-piece jumbo tenders. All blue plates are served with a side of waffle fries and minty watermelon. Family meals, salads, sandwiches and biscuits make up the other options. Spring Chicken, 1514 South Dixie Hwy., Coral Gables, FL 33146, 305-504-2704.
Miami's undisputed Kings of Swine, the Pubbelly boys, are on the verge of opening their next concept: PB Station. Stationed (pun intended) at The Langford Hotel (formerly the Miami National Bank Building), PB Station is a New American craft restaurant that combines the best of seafood restaurants and steakhouses painted with the distinctive Pubbelly brush. That means king crab terrines, lobster sausages, shrimp mortadella and cavatelli octopus Bolognese on the menu. PB Station, The Langford Hotel, 121 SE First St., Miami, FL 33131, 305-537-7040.
Pao at the Dome has finally opened at Faena Hotel Miami Beach. It is chef Paul Qui’s (qui in Austin) first Miami restaurant. Of course, being that it's Miami Beach and that it's Alen Faena's billion-dollar property we're talking about, you can expect Pao at the Dome to be a bit over the top; from the moment you walk in the WOW factor rules. You'll be greeted by a $6.5 million gold-leaf unicorn by Damien Hirst. Fitting to its name, the space itself resembles an uber-modern spherical dome with gold leaf walls and a patterned gold leaf ceiling to match said unicorn. Wood tables and leather banquettes counteract the posh space. As for the menu, it's an amalgamation of Filipino, French, Japanese and Spanish flavors with a focus on crudi, small plates and charcoal cooking. Case in point, the restaurant's unique binchotan service sears dishes table-side on Japanese charcoal. Pao at the Dome, Faena Hotel Miami Beach, 3201 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33140, 786-655-5630.
There are few better things in life than a freshly baked donut, except maybe when said donuts come in forms like guava, blueberries and maple bacon brioche. Enter pop-up artisanal donut shop The Salty Donut --- a sweet endeavor from pastry whiz Max Santiago (formerly of The Thompson and Lure Fishbar South Beach) along with Andy Rodriguez and Amanda Pizzaro --- which is currently bringing its saccharine treats (with rotating flavors) to the Wynwood Yard every weekend. And come early this year, "sometime in February or March," The Salty Donut goes permanent when it opens at the Wynwood Arcade. Salty Donut, Wynwood Yard, 29 NW 24th St., Miami, FL 33127, 305-925-8126.
If there's one thing Miami doesn't need more of, it's nightclubs. That's why "cocktail club" Craft Social Club is changing the status quo with its nightlife experience that takes bottle service to the next level: the craft level. You'll find no VIP treatment and no electronic dance music in this intimate lounge space. Instead, classic hip-hop beats play all night long, tables feature stations for self-serve Moscow mules and old fashioneds on tap, as well as your very own bottle mixologist in charge of taking your boring vodka soda to a craft bevvy, and there's a mojito gun (hint: it's for mojitos). Craft Social Club, 100 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33139, 786-216-7719.
"Top Chef" rebel Spike Mendelsohn, best known for his D.C-based Good Stuff Eatery (where President Obama has and enjoys a burger in his honor), has joined the Miami dining circuit with Sunny's inside The Hall South Beach hotel. Named after his grandfather, Sunny's is an ode to all the things Mendelsohn likes when he's surfing the coast. Think bright beach lunch fare like grilled grouper Reuben and tuna poke bowl, as well as more complex and heavier dinner items such as Panther Coffee rubbed steak with yucca fries and shishito peppers, Islamorada ceviche in aji amarillo pepper puree, and a take on the Hawaiian Oahu pork luau plate. Because the beach is just a mere walk away and Sunny's is a hotel restaurant, it also serves the most important meal of the day, breakfast, as well as boasts a juice bar to keep you energized and quenched around the clock. Sunny's, The Hall, 1500 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33139, 305-531-1251.
Nightlife legend Dave Grutman (known as the driving force behind megaclubs LIV and Story) is taking a bite of the restaurant business with the opening of Komodo in Brickell. Kimodo is Miami's version of Tao; a posh Asian experience that goes from dinner to party as the night progresses. The tri-level space, clocking in at 17,000-square feet, is meant to resemble a playful and modern tree-house; one with 40-foot-high red ceilings, lots of greenery and giant bamboo, and a 4,000-square-foot patio complete with a floating bird's nest for some high-end elevated dining. The menu is a solid representation of what you'd expect of the China Grill family (Grutman's partner is Jeffrey Chodorow): dim sum, Peking duck, tuna porterhouse, a 13 vegetable salad, and wasabi shrimp. And since no Dave Grutman experience would be complete without some big name talent, the top tier of Komodo will become a private VIP lounge complete with a DJ booth and plenty of space for total debauchery. The restaurant is open for dinner nightly, with soon to come lunch and brunch. Komodo, 801 Brickell Ave. Suite L60, Miami, FL 33132, 305-534-2211.
After much anticipation, "Top Chef" alum Dale Talde's Brooklyn-based modern Asian-American eatery, Talde, has finally opened its doors at the Thompson Miami Beach. The menu is a fusion of Talde's Filipino roots with an American twist. Think pretzel pork and chive dumplings with spicy mustard dipping sauce; crispy oyster and bacon pad thai crowned with egg, peanuts and cilantro; or whole roasted Florida snapper with banana leaves and moo-shoo pancakes. Ramen devotees can get their late-night (until 4 a.m. Thursday through Saturday) noodle fix here, while those wanting to imbibe can grab a seat at the bar and order one of the inventive craft cocktails, such as the Green Lightning, made with house-infused green tea vodka, green tea, cucumber and lime. As for the vibe, it's an ode to Brooklyn; 90's hip-hop is thumping, the lighting is psychedelic, and noodle graffiti and a 100-year-old dragon grace the walls. Dinner nightly. Talde, Thompson Miami Beach, 4041 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33140, 786-605-4094.
What owners Jeff LaTulippe and Matt Ersnt hope to be one of many farm-to-counter eateries, Dirt, has opened on South Beach. The "fine food served fast" joint has brought on Nicole Votano (previously of Fooq's and Crumb on Parchment) as chef de cuisine and director of operation to oversee culinary offerings. These include everything from breakfast items (blended bowls) to lunch/dinner grain or green bowls and sandwiches or wraps to juices, smoothies, coffees, teas and other grab-and-go sweets and treats (think rosemary sea salt dark chocolate Rice Krispies or blueberry oatmeal cookies). The menu offers nutritional information that one might want when trying to be health-conscious, and Dirt is committed to sourcing food locally, responsibly and organically. That means using local farms for its vegetable-forward menu, grass-fed proteins and organic everything. Dirt, 232 5th St., Miami Beach, FL 33139, 305-239-3000.
Beaker & Gray, the food and drink talk of Wynwood, opened just in time for Art Basel. The brainchild of Brian Nasajon (formerly of Lure Fishbar in New York and SUSHISAMBA Miami Beach) and Blackbird and The Broken Shaker veteran Ben Potts, Beaker & Gray is part eatery, part cocktail bar. Think churros with shrimp, chorizo and ginger ($9); a sandwichito of plantain brioche, pork belly and watermelon rind ($10); cauliflower with bacon, queso fresco and yuzu ($14); and glass noodles with green papaya, chayote and Valencia peanuts ($13). Larger dishes include a mofongo with mustard seed and pineapple ($26). Wash it down with any one of the handcrafted libations from one of three sections: shaken, stirred and strange. Beaker & Gray, 2637 N. Miami Ave., Miami, FL 33127, 305-699-2637.
Jeff McInnish and Janine Booth went from having no Miami restaurants to announcing a second Miami restaurant in less than a month. The duo, who met at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar where McInnis was the opening chef de cuisine, went on to open Root & Bone in New York City. But now, they've announced their return to South Florida with Sarsaparilla Club (taking over the former Morimoto at the Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach and serving American dim sum) and an unnamed seafood focused restaurant at what was PB Steak. The only facts known about the mystery eatery is that its emphasis will be on Florida seafood and its setting and prices will be tailored for the neighborhood. Those who remember McInnis' buns from when he opened Gigi will surely be excited come early 2016, when Sarsaparilla Club is set to open. Sarsaparilla Club, Shelborne Wyndham Grand, 1801 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33139, 305-531-1271.
Cinnamon rolls and strawberry milkshakes are back for another season at Knaus Berry Farm in Homestead. You can get your dose of rolls, breads, and pecan, Key lime or guava pies through mid-April 2016. Whether you want a dozen (or two) of warm buns or a day’s worth of strawberry picking, a Saturday at Knausberry is a Saturday well spent. The farm, which was founded in 1956 by brothers Ray and Russell Knaus, sold fresh berries and then expanded to a bakery operation after a few folks got a taste of Ray’s wife’s cookies. A visit to Homestead has become a South Florida tradition for locals and tourists alike. Ray passed away in August, but his daughters are continuing the legacy. Knaus Berry Farm, 15980 SW 248 St., Homestead, FL 33031, 305-247-0668.
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.
Faena to Host Alinea Pop-Up
Alinea will be bringing its science-defying molecular fare to the new and uber swanky Faena. Starting February 17th, diners can scratch this culinary experience off their list without having to fly to Chicago. Matter of fact, the pop-up is due to the fact that Alinea will be putting service to a halt for renovations after 10 years of dishing out fabled 18-course tasting menus. But fret not, because chef Grant Achatz will be introducing the next level of Alinea. What that means: flavors from South America, Cuba and Miami. Achatz and co-owner Nick Kokonas are keeping true to policy and not divulging a single detail while you're sitting in your chair, so if you want to get a taste better book asap. Dinners take place from February 17-March 13, from Wednesday-Sunday (for a total of 20 dinners and 86 covers per night). And just like in Chicago, prices will increase for later on in the week (starting at $275 for Wednesday and going up to $385 for Friday). Optional wine pairing will be available and range from $150 to $495. Tickets at Alinea in Residence's website. Faena, 3201 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33140, 305-534-8800.
Former Zuma chef and general manager Michael Lewis and Steven Haigh have taken leave of the the upscale Japanese izakaya to start their own Asian-inspired concept in Miami's evolving hipster neighborhood, Wynwood. Set to open February 23, 2016, Kyu's theme is centered around Japanese and Korean yakiniku, or wood-grilled meats. Plates will be "shareable" and use "seasonal and locally sourced ingredients," with handcrafted cocktails to wash them down. Menu highlights include duck breast "burnt ends" with yuzu pickles, Wagyu beef brisket with black shichimi pepper, and Thai fried rice stone pot. There will also be --- you guessed it --- sashimi. Kyu, 251 NW 25th St., Miami, FL 33127, no phone.
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
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