Here in Miami, we get a lot of spillover from New York. Catch Miami, a new addition to Collins Avenue located in The James Royal Palm, can be included in that category—the restaurant’s flagship is in Manhattan. One meal, however, and it’s hard not to get a taste for this location’s noticeably distinct South Floridian flair.
Chat Chow TV sat down with Hung Huynh, Top Chef Season Three winner and executive chef of Catch Miami, to discuss what, exactly, makes this version uniquely Miami.
“Catch Miami is located in an Art Deco building which is landmarked in the Shorecrest building,” for starters, he explains.
Downstairs guests are welcomed by a calming sea-foam-green ambiance, the raw bar and a cocktail bar featuring creative concoctions like the Iris (Grey Goose, lime juice, and a champagne topper) and the Dirty Bastard, a Jameson-based beverage served in a copper mug. For dinner, venture upstairs into an exposed-brick-lined room with oversized sienna globes descending from warehouse-tall ceilings.
“It kind of resembles New York but in a smaller, more intimate space. But yet, it’s still very relaxed and the colors are a little Miami,” he notes of the South Beach venue.
The menu is where diners will notice the big, fresh-Florida-flavored difference. Locally inspired dishes include the Rich Little Po’boy, a Southern fried oyster topped with caviar; the short crust roll packed with spicy tuna, avocados and pico de gallo; tater tots of yucca and plantains; and the key lime doughnut (watch the video above to see why you should definitely save room for this dessert).
Beyond Florida, chef Huynh prepares plates with a global seafood influence, taking inspiration from classic American and Asian dishes and making each innovation approachable. Miami sure is lucky to have him—he’s a real catch.
After several years running a successful catering business, Chef Whitney Flood decided to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant for their locally-sourced cuisine. Flood's approach to food is anything goes - as long as its in season, affordable and delicious. As in the kitchen, the cocktail program also follows the seasons. Chat Chow caught up with Whitney to talk about what he's been up to in their new Culver City eatery.
It seems 50 Eggs Restaurant Group can do no wrong. The gustatory geniuses behind South Beach successes Yardbird and Khong River House have taken their winning recipe to Coral Gables. Enter Swine Southern Table & Bar, your next downhome dining favorite.
Chat Chow TV talked bacon and bourbon with Swine bar manager, Robert Ferrera.
Swine’s cocktail program focuses heavily on its own on-site barrel-aged rums and ryes.
“We’re actually creating our own original cocktails here,” explains Ferrera. “We have a full-sized Buffalo Trace barrel and right now we’ve got Cabajisco, a nice, beautiful, white spirit; Dolin Blanc Vermouth, so as that changes, it’s going to fortify and change; and Mandarine Napoleon, an orange based cognac liqueur.”
Prefer your spirits a little lighter? Not to fret, there’s something for everyone on this drink menu. Expect local, just-ripe ingredients from Homestead and creative applications (a glass misted with Mezcal for a hint of smokiness, in-house Swine bitters). And of course it all complements the sink-your-teeth-into-it fare.
Although Swine shares some food inspiration from Yardbird (you’ll find the succulent Shrimp & Grits on both menus), Ferrera describes Swine as Yardbird’s tougher, younger brother. Chalk that up to Swine’s competition-winning rib rub, massive smoker in the kitchen, and wood-burning grill. Try the fall-off-the-bone Memphis Smoked Ribs, or gather a group and go to town on a whole hog, communal-table style.
Now, while your mouth waters, watch the video above to figure out why fat washing makes rye tipples tastier (it’s a good thing, we swear) and find a new reason to drink rum (as if you needed one).
Don’t confuse low-country cuisine with anything subpar. Chef Mark Steuer is serving up a comforting, modern Southern menu in his Carriage House in Wicker Park.
Chat Chow TV pulled up a stool next to the chef to talk updated Southern cooking, white wine pairings and ham.
“I grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, so it’s called the low country,” explains Steuer. “It’s kind of what we based this restaurant off of. It’s called the low country because it’s actually below sea level. So the thing I think is different about the food there is there’s lots of French and Spanish influence, lots of seafood.”
For authenticity’s sake, the feel-good food gets flown in from South Carolina about three times a week, like the grits, corn meal and the shrimp, fish and clams. Trust us, it makes a difference.
Must-try menu items include the cornbread and shrimp and grits. The sticky-sweet cornbread recipe took about two weeks to perfect, and is served with preserved apples and smoked foie gras butter.
“And the shrimp and grits is […] one of the first things I ever learned how to cook,” says Steuer. “Ours, we get our grits from Geechie Boy Mills in South Carolina and then it’s Georgia white prawns with homemade Tasso ham and we call it a hunter gravy. It’s basically mushrooms and shrimp stock and pork stock and chicken stock, kind of reduced down until it’s a really, really savory, kind of brothy sauce on top.”
Nothing low about that. Watch the video above to learn what low-country cocktail will go best with your shrimp and grits (hint: it hails from a really old recipe book from Charleston).