Niu Kitchen: Promise for Downtown Dining
As you step in front of Niu Kitchen's plate-glass façade in downtown Miami, you're sucked off the sidewalk and into a buzzing Barcelona-style tapas restaurant. The musical gurgle of emptying bottles of ruby-red tempranillo fills your ears. The nutty scent of toasting bread invades your senses along with the intoxicating aroma of fruity olive oil. After you settle into one of Niu's 26 seats, a warmth overtakes you, mostly thanks to co-owner Karina Iglesias, who with a devilish grin tops off your glass and then adds nothing to the check. After working at the popular downtown Italian restaurant Soya e Pomodoro and Kris Wessel's beloved but now-closed Red Light Little River, Iglesias is a veteran of popular restaurants in shady neighborhoods. Almost two years ago, she and Deme Lomas, a Barcelona native who worked at Pubbelly's Barceloneta in Miami Beach, met through a mutual friend. Along with partner Adam Hughes, the duo set out to find a space to showcase Lomas' taken on Catalan cuisine, which is inspired by the region's Mediterranean flavors and wildly inventive techniques. Without the bankroll for a hipper neighborhood, they settled on a cozy, pocket-size space downtown near Miami Dade College. Find out how the restaurant fares in this week's review of Niu Kitchen, now posted on Short Order.
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