Even though Miami Spice is over, fall is here with fresh new flavors for the season. Autumn is a time for restaurants to change up their menus, concentrating on richer flavors. As the weather cools, chefs experiment with locally grown vegetables and spicy notes. Here are the five most intriguing new menus for fall in Miami.
5. Toscana Divino
Since 2012, this authentic Italian artisan kitchen has been dishing out classics. Now, Toscana Divino has divided its menu into two distinct categories. "Tradizione" highlights traditional recipes, while "Moderna" is inspired by seasonal ingredients aiming to explore the diversity of Italian cuisine. Chef Andrea Marchesin stresses that everything is made in house when possible, including cured meat, homemade pasta, and limoncello. The restaurant's goal is to capture the soul of the Italian kitchen with a twist. The pesce fresco ($23), for instance, was designed to mimic Miami's surrounding waters. According to Marchesin, "Imagine the the bottom of the sea with sunchokes representing stones, wild asparagus as algae, a black potato purée infused with squid ink, and a citrus foam represents the sea, surrounding a fillet of fresh fish."
4. River Yacht Club
Miami’s scenic waterfront destination's rotating chef program features Alex Chang's dishes until November during lunch and dinner. Chang said he wanted to make food that would work for Miami's climate. "From there, it was just about blending my vision with the influences from the space and concept of RYC." Menu highlights include Thai-style rib-eye carpaccio topped with crispy shallots and key lime vinaigrette alongside zucchini salad ($21); half roasted Peruvian chicken ají verde with paprika and sweet corn ($36); and a whole roasted yellowtail snapper with green papaya, chermoula, and shishito peppers ($48).
Proof Pizza & Pasta is now officially just Proof. Chef Justin Flit wanted to remove "Pasta & Pizza" from the name to escape the eatery's pizza bubble. "We have always felt our nonpizza dishes were strong and wanted to be seen more as a restaurant and less of a pizza place where guests might be expecting slices or chicken Parmesan," he says. Longtime followers can still get the same dishes they fell in love with, such as Proof’s shaved Brussels sprout salad ($12), oxtail pizza ($19), and Calabrian chili angel hair pasta ($17). In addition to two pastas and three pizzas for lunch and dinner, options include a mission fig salad ($14) and spring mountain chicken ($18). Flit is particularly excited about making his own sourdough bread and pairing it with various items such as East Coast sea urchin.
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2. Michael's Genuine Food & Drink
Recently appointed chef Saul Ramos was particularity inspired by fresh seasonal ingredients at Michael's Genuine. “This menu is the perfect canvas for that, as it always has been," he says. "It really plays to how we work with farmers and suppliers; they are already bringing new things to the table for fall.” According to Ramos, the most popular dish is the snapper ($25). He says, “I think we are so proud of it because it succeeds in walking that line we were going for when we set out to make some changes — simple but so rich in complexity and layers of flavor, like the juice from the clams in the green sauce and the clams themselves that we add to the plate to finish it. The crispy skin and the bacon — it just all comes together.”
1. La Mar by Gaston Acurio
After serving the same topnotch Peruvian fare since opening in March 2014, chef Diego Oka has dug into his creative side. He says, "[Changing the menu] helps me play with new techniques and dishes I’ve been seeing throughout my travels, but it is also great to give the guests a new and exciting to reason to visit La Mar. Our new menu offerings cater to our customers' habits.” New offerings include the tiradito bachiche flounder with 22-month-aged Parmesan cheese ($19). It's an ode to his unforgettable experience at Massimo Bottura's Osteria Francescana in Moderna, Italy. "The unique juxtaposition of flavors is amazing." Another new dish, the pork and quinoa spiked tamal ($29), was one of the dishes Oka prepared especially for the 2016 national pork competition Cochon 555. It was so successful he put it on the restaurant's menu.