Klima hasn't even opened yet and already the Spanish restaurant has hosted the master of New Basque cuisine, Juan Mari Arzak. In 1989, he was awarded three Michelin stars for his namesake restaurant in Spain, Arzak. Along with fellow three-Michelin-starred chefs Andoni Luis Aduriz of Mugaritz and Quique Dacosta of Quique Dacosta, he feasted on a private eight-course meal prepared by Klima's executive chef, David "Rusti" Rustarazo.
If that's not a good practice run to get the kitchen of the Barcelona-inspired restaurant ready for service, nothing is.
The 70-seat restaurant, located in the former Talula space, is the brainchild of Pablo Fernández-Valdés and Yago Giner, who owned and operated a successful restaurant group out of Barcelona for more than a decade before setting eyes on the Magic City. The main factor that prompted them to open a concept here is the weather, hence the name Klima, a variation on the Spanish word clima, which translates to "climate." "We came for Art Basel two years ago and fell in love with the sunlight," Giner says. "We saw the potential of Miami and the fact that it's the capital for South America, so we thought we could give people a second home."
Klima indeed looks like a home. The space is cozy and warm, with natural wood dressing the walls and cement floors providing an earthy contrast. Sculptures and art have been carefully curated by the duo. They also designed the rugs, which were handcrafted in Turkey. A lounge and bar area invites you to sink into one of the leather couches and read one of the provocative books while sipping a handcrafted libation. You'll almost feel like you've been transported to someone's private bungalow on the coast of Spain.
The food is meant to elicit the same response. Chef Rustarazo's resumé includes the well-known Coure in Barcelona. At Klima, he wants to pay homage to his roots while staying true to the ingredients of his newfound home. "We don't want to import all these products from Spain but work with what we have available and local farmers," he says. "Sure, we'll miss some products, but we're looking forward to all the Florida fish and introducing cod from Alaska." More than anything, Rustarazo wants to have fun. "We're not trying to invent anything or change up the status quo. We come humble." He's also a romantic, at least when it comes to food. "As a chef, I want people to know something has been worked. If the sauce needs two days to get ready, then it needs two days. There are faster ways to get to the end product, but it's not as adoring. We like things well done."
He has brought with him from Spanish a Josper charcoal oven that works in special ways to seal, grill, and unleash the aroma from certain foods. "In ten years, we believe this brand is going to take over."
As for the menu, Klima will start with dinner service only. Appetizers include oysters with ponzu sauce and salmon roe ($3.50); Andalusian salmorejo (a tomato-and-bread-like purée) with quail egg ($18); half cooked egg with potato parmentier and ibérico ham ($20); and tuna toast with brava chipotle, leek, and lime ($20).
There are also salads and a raw bar with selections such as tuna belly, tomatoes, and spring onion ($20); truffle steak tartare ($32); beef carpaccio with foie and truffle ($30); and local fish ceviche with avocado, Chilean green onion, salmon roe, and togarashi ($26).
Pastas, fish, and meats make up the entrée portion of the menu. They include rigatoni stuffed with lobster and stew ($30); black cod with spinach pesto and one of Spain's go-to comfort foods, haricots verts ($34); rib eye with smoked eggplant and mustard ($42); and chicken terrine and foie in a slow-roasted chicken reduction ($24).
For dessert, Klima is adapting to Miami by whipping up its own rendition of key lime pie. There will also be almond trifle with chocolate and ice cream or macerated strawberries with sorbet and lemon slush.
Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha