Celebrity chef Tony Mantuano and wife Cathy flew in to the Magic City for just one night to get a taste of Lorenzo's new menu. Chris Wyman, whose most recent stint was at Scarpetta in New York, has made his way back to Miami to helm the kitchen.
Prior to Wyman heading down to sunny Florida, the Mantuanos flew to New York where Wyman wooed them with a tasting. "Everything he did was seafood focused,"
says Tony Mantuano when asked why he chose Wyman. "He has a terrific touch with seafood and makes dishes feel very light but packed with flavor." Wyman's new menu, which rolls out this week, is indeed seafood focused. Short Order was invited to sample the new chef's offerings.
See also: Lorenzo: Showbiz on SoBe
Wyman is no stranger to Miami. Prior to working with Scott Conant, Wyman was once Allen Susser's sous chef at Chef Allen's. "Chris wanted to come back to Miami. The combination of that and his skills made the decision a no brainer," says Mantuano. He and Cathy had just had a tasting the night before and picked the new menu items Wyman cooked up for the summer season. "Everything for me is always seasonal; it's the way I was brought up and learned in the kitchen," Wyman said. So while you can expect Lorenzo's menu to change seasonally, always expect it to have lots of seafood.
Dual oysters ($3 each) are served in two ways, raw and baked. The raw oyster is served with a tropical passion fruit mignonette (so Miami) for a light slurp of a bite, while the baked one is a tad more decadent with bacon, parmesan, breadcrumbs, and cooked in the wood burning oven.
A red snapper ceviche ($15) gets an unusual spin by way of pistachios and hearts of palm. Orange and pickled red chilis throw in a tropical kick.
This tomato burrata salad ($15) is tossed with roasted eggplant base; balsamic vinegar; pickled shallots; fried capers; shallots; olives; marinated eggplant, and herbs from Lorenzo's rooftop garden, where Wyman will grow many of his own herbs, spices, and edible flowers. The roasted eggplant and fried capers add a twist to the classic caprese salad while keeping the crisp taste of the tomato and burrata.
Accompany your salad course with a glass of Pecorino, which is a little dry, tart, and great with salad or seafood. The wine comes from a small producer near the Adriatic coast. Cathy Mantuano has beefed up the wine to match the new flavors of the menu. "I'm lucky because wine people bring me really good things to drink," she admits. "They don't bring me stuff the stuff they're bringing anyone else and we have a really fun relationship that way cause I love learning about wines."
This market spring vegetables salad ($14) was like something out of Willy Wonka, with its vibrancy and purple hue from the edible flowers. A light dish, it mixes fava beans; English peas; sugar snap peas; carrots; asparagus; sheep's milk yogurt infused with garlic; pickled shallots; hazelnuts; fennel, and mint. Don't worry if you can't remember all those ingredients. All you need to know is that it's damn good.
Wyman's rendition of soft shell crab ($15) is served with ash-cooked leeks, peanut potatoes, wild mushrooms, and a romesco sauce.
Grilled wahoo ($28) tastes more like steak than fish due to its meatiness. It sits pretty on a bed of English pea purée and served with fresh English peas; green asparagus; tri-colored baby carrots; pickled shallots and dots of sheeps milk yogurt infused with roasted garlic. A pleasant surprise are the honshimeji mushrooms -- similar to enoki but on steroids -- which add a bit of gamy texture to the dish.
Branzino ($26) is served with white asparagus puree; fresh garbanzo beans; pancetta; and fish roe breadcrumbs. While we prefer the wahoo, this dish is sure to satisfy any branzino lover. The contrast of the delicate fish with the pungent taste of the pancetta and breadcrumbs makes this one memorable.
Housemade paperdelle pasta ($24) with braised lamb neck (because the body isn't enough); fava beans; trevisano; mint, and pecorino was by far our favorite dish. If you're ordering pasta at Lorenzo (and you must) this is one to try.
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Gelato is made fresh and in house. Go for the Nutella flavor. It's smooth, creamy, and a nice ending to a summer meal.
Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha