Saul Ramos feels at home in his executive chef role at Fooq’s Miami.
He began working at the restaurant in mid-May and was shown the ropes by chef Bryan Rojas, who planned to move to Monterrey, Mexico, where the mother of his child lives. “He will eventually be back in Miami, but he wanted to focus on starting a family," Fooq's owner David Foulquier says of Rojas.
Ramos says of his new gig: "Working at Fooq’s, I feel the amount of love put into the restaurant each and every day. Everyone cares so much for this place, and the sense of community is unprecedented. We may be a small spot, but we’ve got the biggest heart in the area."
He feels truly welcomed by the everyone at the eatery and says they are all a family. "It’s a very laid-back place, and the staff is really what makes it special. From David, the owner, to Ricky, the dishwasher, we all come together and bring out the best in each other."
Ramos was chef de cuisine at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink for about a year. His resumé also includes partnerships with Chicago chef David Blonsky and Top Chef alum Fabio Viviani. Ramos will now work with Foulquier on developing a new menu offering sharable places. Foulquier wants to add some Middle Eastern-inspired dishes while still keeping the classic Persian-French dishes for which the intimate eatery is known.
The new dishes include an octopus finished on a Japanese charcoal grill and served with a cold bean salad ($18); a roasted half-chicken with crisp potatoes, sweet peppers, feta, and chicken jus ($27); and local burrata salad with tomato jam and toast ($18).
The current smoky eggplant spread will develop into a mezze platter filled with a variety of additional spreads such as pistachio yogurt and a tahini hummus. Some of the classic dishes, such as the crudo of the day, bucatini, and fresh catch, will remain. Instead of offering lamb chops, Ramos will create a lamb kebab plate similar to what Foulquier grew up eating during the summer.
“It’s a decision I've been thinking about doing for a while but was not quite ready," Foulquier says. "A few recent food experiences made me realize that it’s important to continue to evolve and not stagnate. The new format will reinforce a bit more sharing than it usually does, and it will be more diner-friendly. We will be adding some great, smaller-sized Middle Eastern snacks as well.”
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Ramos is also excited about brunch service. "Let’s be honest: Is there anything better than brunch? A good hash, eggs Benny, and a mimosa or a good michelada is the best to finish a long week," he says. Since Ramos has been at Fooq's, brunch has really taken off. Says Foulquier: "Saul came in with intention to take brunch to the next level and has added a really nice touch to it."
To coincide with the new menu and chef appointment, the dining room will get a refreshing face-lift that includes new flooring and redesigned walls. Fooq's will be closed today and tomorrow and will reopen Friday.