The Mandarin Oriental can shine a little brighter in Brickell Key. Azul Chef William Crandall and La Mar by Gastón Acurio Executive Chef Diego Oka hosted a dinner at the James Beard House in New York this past Saturday.
We got a peek into the kitchen of this home turned foundation and exclusive dining venue during prep for this exciting meal. We witnessed the antithesis of chaos as the 6 foot 7 chef Crandall and Oka expertly navigated their way through tight quarters and aimed to bring a taste of Miami along with their own perspective.
For Miamians who always wanted to get a taste of James Beard House level cuisine, you can sample some of the same dishes served until October 20th at the two restaurants in the Mandarin Oriental during dinner service.
The two chefs each offered two courses in the five-course meal. Executive pastry chef Fredric Monnet brought the styles together in the Bahibe milk chocolate and yuzu-lime cream with a purple eggplant marmalade and caramelized quinoa for some crunch. This dessert was a tidy bow that pulled the meal together for one happy ending. It will be served at both restaurant until the end of the week for $12.
At Azul, you can try the consommé of lobster ($33) with white soy, foie gras, truffle, leek and sorrel and the blanquette de veau ($62). At La Mar, you see Oka's dishes from the menu with a wagyu beef tiradito ($20) and the octopus anticuchero ($21) with potato cream, piquillo pepper, chimichurri, capers, garlic chips and Peruvian olive.
In the heat of the preparation, think more bikram yoga --calm with deliberate movements-- than a messy "Quickfire Challenge" on Top Chef, we spoke to Crandall.
New Times: What dish are you most excited about tonight?
William Crandall: I don't wanna say one of my own, so the octopus.
What was your biggest surprise in this small kitchen?
This is not my first time. We are well prepared. Good prep, good service. The taped towels around the sharp corners of the kitchen.
(So, no surprises there, tall chefs must've already learned the hard way)
What do you wanna diners to get a taste of?
A taste of Miami. We are using some Florida greens that we shipped from Paradise farms. It's the classics with some new twists.
With the veal blanquette, you will have the surprise of the black garlic and lemon coulis.
Other surprises we encountered at the James Beard House, were the fun reminders that this was a home, like the remnants of a shower near bottles of wine.
Leading up the way to the dining room.
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These tables that have been graced by the creations of important chefs all over the world, were about to see the work of two Miami chefs. And now, you can get a taste of the food served in this most iconic of culinary spots until October 20th.
Follow Carina on Twitter @CarinaOst