First Bites

Talde Miami Beach Mashes Up Cultures on a Plate

Dale Talde isn't one to take himself seriously, as evidenced by the large, prominent picture of himself flanked by two swimsuit models behind Talde Miami Beach's hostess desk. The restaurant, which opened about two weeks ago, is a playful romp into the chef's id, with dishes that tell the tale of Talde's Filipino roots and Chicago upbringing. 

This is the third Talde location, with the Top Chef veteran and partners David Massoni and John Bush having had success in their Brooklyn and Jersey City restaurants. Both neighborhoods, by the way, have blue-collar backgrounds and are now gentrified havens for hipsters and Wall Streeters alike.

The Miami Beach version is located inside the Thompson Miami Beach Hotel and shares a roof with venerable Miami chef Michelle Bernstein's Seagrape. The property is located in an area better known for well-heeled vacationers than young urbanites on the prowl for a late-night nosh, although the restaurant is just a few blocks from bars such as the Broken Shaker and Wunderbar at the Circa 39 Hotel.

The place nods to its roots with a giant NYC subway map at the entrance seating — fashioned from a shipping container — and street art by Brooklyn-based Mr. Ewok One. Though the restaurant is in a hotel, Dale Talde wants locals to feel at home: “We want our locals to embrace us as a place where they can get an awesome fucking bowl of ramen at 2 a.m. or just enjoy a consistently great meal with family and friends every time they come in.”
That bowl of ramen, by the way, is good. The special for November is Thanksgiving ramen ($25 for two), and it should be experienced before the month is up. Talde, along with executive chef Janine Denetdeel, executes a gorgeous interpretation of what college students have probably been doing with their mom's leftovers for decades. Into the steaming bowl of broth and noodles go slices of glazed turkey, whole cranberries, balls of stuffing, and delicate wontons stuffed with creamed spinach. The server then drizzles mushroom gravy over the entire, beautiful mess before serving. It's comforting and delicious, and I found myself trying to figure out how to re-create it at home while mentally checking my calendar to see when I could return to eat it again before it disappears from the menu. Let's hope the dish will prove too popular to be rotated away — at least through the winter.
Other interesting selections include yuzu guacamole, where a generous smear of tangy guacamole is smeared onto a chunk of crisp rice and topped with a hot pepper. Vegetarians can order as is ($12), and meat lovers can add speck for two dollars. Massoni says the little dish — with its blend of Asian, Mexican, and European ingredients and influences — may best represent Chef Talde's approach to cooking.
Talde's pretzel pork and chive dumplings are served with a spicy mustard ($8), with the pretzel giving a hearty home to the meat inside.
Spicy sweet pea samosas are cooled down with the help of yogurt and golden raisin chutney ($10). The samosas are based on a recipe from one of the kitchen staff's mothers, showing that every meal is a learning experience for Talde.
Shrimp shumai ($14) gets a makeover into a soothing take on a seafood boil. The shrimp are seasoned with Old Bay, and the shumai share a bowl with sliced sausage, hunks of potato, and chunks of corn on the cob. 
Chow fun noodles are accompanied by tender braised pork shank meat and pickled mustard greens ($17). Break apart the rosette of noodles, or allow your server to do it for you.
Talde's Korean fried chicken is battered, fried until crisp, and sliced for ease of eating. The chicken, whose crust is supercrunchy, lies on a bed of spicy yet soothing kimchee yogurt. Sliced grapes provide additional cooling and a touch of color.
Dessert is simple: There's halo halo. Offering just one dessert might be a bold move, but if you've got but one choice, this one is a crowd pleaser. A bowl is filled with shaved ice, coconut milk, coconut gelatin cubes, and fruit and then topped with Cap'n Crunch. It's colorful, cool, and creamy, with just the right amount of sweetness needed after a meal but without the heaviness and guilt you feel after scarfing down a piece of cheesecake or a slice of pie à la mode. 

Talde Miami Beach is open for dinner Sunday through Wednesday from 6 p.m. to midnight, with the bar open until 1 a.m., and Thursday through Saturday from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., with the bar open until 4 a.m. A bar menu is served until 2 a.m. Valet parking at the hotel costs $10 with validation.
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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss