Billboard: Live or Dead. The reaction to my announcement last week that corporate chef Ephraim Kadish had been let go from Breez was intensely unanimous: Fellow chefs are up in arms. At least when their arms aren't busy chopping onions, apparently. But a few insiders are crying strictly crocodile tears. They've voiced the theory that since Kadish had installed his kitchen, tested the recipes, and written the menu, there really wasn't much else for him to be doing anyway. Actually Kadish was supposed to be planning the second stage of the eats at Billboardlive -- the "club" restaurant called Parallel. Located on the second floor overlooking the main performance space, Parallel was going to be the "dinner" part of dinner theater. Dishes were incorporations of influences from countries that dwell on the same latitude line as Miami. I thought it was a neat take on global cuisine. But it seems instead that along with Kadish, we've been taken. Plans for Parallel have been roundly canceled, and Frank Jeannetti, who was supposed to become executive chef of the upstairs eatery, has been kicked downstairs into the expendable chef -- sorry, make that executive chef -- position at Breez.
•Judging from the pushing and shoving at the Great Match, the Wines from Spain tasting event held annually at the Biltmore, was a great success. Indeed you couldn't even get near Robbin Haas's table, where the chef himself was energetically dishing up the goods. At first we thought his popularity might have been owing to the Miami Life Saveurs event he's organizing on November 8 to benefit the Windows of Hope fund -- after all, along with his board of Michelle Bernstein (Azul), Willis Loughhead (Tantra), and Michael Schwartz (Nemo, Big Pink, Shoji Sushi), he's convinced at least 40 restaurants to participate in the shindig, which will be held at Baleen. (Tickets are $75 in advance and $100 at the door; call 305-529-3700 to RSVP.) Not since the Allen Susser-organized event Share Our Strength has Miami seen the crotchety culinary community come together like this. But then we tasted Haas's tenderloin with a Cabrales sauce and potato-cod croquettes and realized precisely why the Great Match had become a wrestling match. If Haas signs up for next year's fete, I'm wearing pads.
•I, too, have always wanted to be famous for snack food: Both Michelle Bernstein of Azul and Willis Loughhead of Tantra have recently been featured in issues of Nation's Restaurant News. Bernstein was hailed for her innovative use of edamame, the steamed and salted soybean munchies that appear most frequently in our Japanese restaurants. She pairs both puréed and whole beans with tuna tartare. And Loughhead was written up for his Philadelphia-style soft pretzel, which he garnishes with smoked salmon, wasabi crème fraîche, and Iranian beluga caviar. Pass the, um, beer?
Breez, Wines from Spain, Rain, and more
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•Breaking out of the Mark-ed box, restaurateur Michael Freundlich, who partners with Mark Militello in his quartet of South Florida eateries, will be opening Rain in November. The 7000-square-foot eatery and nightclub will occupy the former Groove Jet spot, and its décor, which includes a 108-foot suspended ceiling that changes colors as often as an actor changes personalities, could prove interesting. I'm not so sure about the "misters," though, that Freundlich and designer François Forsad plan on installing to evoke a humid, tropical atmosphere. November marks the end of our natural humid, tropical atmosphere -- i.e., the rainy season -- and (finally!) the beginning of our good hair days (and nights). Why mess with that?