Tatel Miami: Enrique Iglesias, Rafael Nadal, and Fine Spanish Food
Plates emerging from the kitchen at Tatel Miami, the 3-month-old restaurant inside the Ritz-Carlton South Beach, are something to behold. A signature dish is a Spanish omelet with truffles. It's prepared by mixing potato confit with organic eggs and a house-made truffle base. Afterward, potato foam is injected using a foam gun. It tastes like a comforting cloud of eggs, creamy potatoes, and fragrant truffles.
The restaurant is the namesake of Tatel in Madrid, which businessmen Abel Matutes Prats and Manuel Campos Guallar, along with heartthrob Enrique Iglesias, opened in 2015. The successful singer came up with the idea of exporting the concept to his adopted hometown and then upped the ante by getting tennis champ (and this month's French Open winner) Rafael Nadal and San Antonio Spurs' center Pau Gasol to sign on as co-owners. Although the three famous Spaniards aren't involved in day-to-day operations, they're serious about promoting the eatery and serving as ambassadors of Spanish cuisine and culture stateside.
The executive chef at the new Tatel is French-born toque Nicolas Mazier, who for seven years traveled the States as part of the culinary team at the Japanese-Peruvian restaurant Nobu. Trained in Marseille, Mazier says he was eager to return to his European roots despite having limited experience with Spanish cuisine apart from the months he spent traveling the country and cooking alongside Tatel Madrid's executive chef, Nacho Chicharro. Making the new endeavor even more challenging, Tatel prides itself on serving authentic Spanish cuisine rather than fusion. The restaurant also likes to be clear on another point: This isn't a tapas place.
Tatel is unlike the majority of eateries that have opened in Miami recently. It unabashedly serves gourmet fare in a fine-dining setting. There are no chalkboard menus or distressed wood tables here; there are, however, white tablecloths, overly attentive (at times) bow-tied waiters, and a large copper DJ booth that begins churning out music when the clock strikes 10 p.m. It's an elegant dining room with 200 seats, plus a private dining area and an island bar boasting a metal chandelier composed of more than a thousand bronze tubes and hundreds of LED lights.
The menu is virtually identical to that of its sister in Madrid, with most of the ingredients sourced from Spain as well. Chef Mazier says many customers dine here after hearing about or eating at the original Tatel. They're often surprised by the Miami menu's authenticity.
Anchovies on a bed of grated tomato is one traditional dish offered. The small fish has already been salted and cured in Madrid and makes for a light and bright starter when paired with a tomato purée that's been simply dressed with garlic, olive oil, and salt.
There's also Ibérico pork secreto, a highly sought-after cut of meat taken from a pig's back shoulder; as the name suggests, it's one of Spain's best-kept secrets. Once grilled, it becomes very tender and juicy, much like premium Wagyu. Mazier discovered the fatty meat during a research trip that took him all over Spain last year. In his Miami kitchen, he adds pickled onions and juniper berries, which provide a nice pop of flavor without distracting from the rich protein.
Ibérico ham is employed well in an appetizer that flash-fries premium-quality artichokes imported from Spain so they're slightly crisp. They're proffered with a generous amount of ham and finished with egg yolk and chopped chives. The saltiness of the meat combined with the warm and crunchy artichokes makes for a well-rounded dish that's best suited for sharing.
The Spanish Tatel is also known for its veal Milanese. A waiter wheels a large portion of thinly sliced, breaded, golden veal to the table and cracks a 63-degree egg over it. The meat is garnished with chopped chives and summer truffles, because black truffles aren't in season. Tatel certainly didn't invent veal Milanese, but the kitchen executes it so well that it's no surprise the dish has become a signature.
Another nonnative Spanish dish is the apple tart with vanilla ice cream, and it's one of the finest the city has to offer. The phyllo dough is crisp yet airy, and each tangy slice of apple possesses the perfect consistency.
Dinner and drinks for two can easily cost $200 here. If you have the bank, you should visit at least once. Tatel Miami knows how to roll out the red carpet for its guests regardless of whether their last name is Iglesias or Nadal.
1669 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-604-0523; tatelrestaurants.com/miami. Dinner daily 6:30 p.m. to midnight.
Grilled Ibérico secreto $42
Tortilla trufada $24
Anchovies from Santoña $20
Crispy artichoke with Ibérico ham $16
Veal Milanese with egg and truffle $38
Apple tart $12
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