Monday, March 16, 2015

Matador Room @ The Miami Beach EDITION

Ever since Matador Room opened at The Miami Beach EDITION it seems everyone has been Instagraming a certain copper pineapple cocktail. This $30 elixir was all the rage when the swanky hotel opened its doors during the Art Basel crush this past December. Made with Absolut Elyx, Palo Cortado Sherry, salted caramel bitters, Bittermens Elemakule tiki bitters, house-made pineapple and rosemary syrup, and a torched sprig of rosemary that when the lid is removed, gives the guest a subtle puff of herby fragrance.
Yes, it's pricey, so while you're there you ought to stay for some avocado pizza, which is reason enough to make it to the gorgeous restaurant inside the restored Art Deco hotel.
Celeb chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten may no longer be at J & G Grill at the St. Regis Bal Harbour, but he has partnered with hotelier Ian Schrager at the Edition to create this spot, his ode to Latin cooking. Chef Jeremy Ford ( formerly of 15 Steps at the Eden Roc) heads up the kitchen.
"We knew we wanted to do something that reflects the area," says Vongerichten regarding the inspiration for the restaurant. "These are the flavors that belong in Miami. It's the Seville hotel and we kept the name Matador Room, so it's also inspired by that. Everything is family style, have some olives, tacos, a big bowl of arroz con pollo."

The dining room has been restored to its 1950's Mad Men-esque glamour with a sunken seating space and a striking white-washed chandelier revived from 1952. The handsomeness continues on the outdoor terrace where potted plants, large candles and communal tables frame views of the spectacular pool and beach. 
The scene: Mavens, nightlife impressarios and the food-obsessed, all basking in the dim-yet-perfect lighting and affable service (this is still a Marriott, after all).
They are here for the casual-yet-upscale takes on Spanish cooking. JG borrows dishes from his NY-based ABC Cocina while also sourcing local produce and fish for Miami-centric dishes. Prices are wallet-friendly given plush setting with most small plates $10-$16 and larger mains $16 - $37.
Dinner stars with homemade foccaccia then it's on to the house guacamole minced with sweet peas, blowtorched jalapenos and scattered with sunflower seeds. It's served with fresh-fried tortilla chips. There are four kinds of tacos including an organic mushroom with mole, kale and lime and a pulled-pork classic with pickled onions and fresh cilantro. The lemony arroz con pollo is a heaping bowl of chicken and rice folded with bits of crackling (allow 20 minutes for its prep), while the red snapper is served with tamarind and lime.
Jean-Georges explained the secret to the arroz con pollo: "I add kombu to the chicken stock, and it changes everything you don't taste it but you taste it - it really brings out the flavor."
2901 Collins Ave 786-257-4500

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