Michelin-Starred Chef Michael White Opening Restaurant in South Beach

Michael White
Michael White Photo courtesy of Altamarea Group / Liz Clayman
The past decade was marked by celebrity chefs' slow migration out of Miami Beach and Miami, but Michael White, whose mostly New York City-based Altamarea Group comprises ten restaurants, plans to open an outpost of Osteria Morini, specializing in cuisine from Italy's Emilia-Romagna region, at the Kimpton Hotel Palomar South Beach this spring.

"The menu will showcase the bounty that Florida has to offer in combination with hits from our flagship in SoHo — sliced-to-order cured meats, our signature house-made pastas, and grilled prime meats and fish," corporate executive chef Bill Dorrler said in an emailed statement. "Expect to see locally caught seafood featured across the menu, in salads, sandwiches, and crudo, alongside farm-fresh Florida fruits and vegetables. And for the spectacular rooftop — we will curate a special menu with smaller plates to enjoy with the view.”

An Altamarea Group spokesperson said the restaurant company did not yet have specifics about which Florida purveyors would provide products.

White made a name working at Chicago's vaunted Spiaggia in the late 1990s before decamping to Europe to work alongside chefs such as Valentino Marcattilii at Ristorante San Domenico in Imola, Italy. Upon returning to the States in 2001, he set up in New York, where the Wisconsinite became a darling of the city and critics alike.

His great leap came in 2007, when he partnered with former Merrill Lynch copresident Ahmass Fakahany to launch Altamarea Group, combining White's precise cooking with Fakahany's Wall Street precision and ruthlessness.

"He has hired back-office staff from places like Goldman Sachs and Bain Capital to help him watch expenses," the New York Times wrote of Fakahany in a 2012 profile. "Some general managers and sommeliers receive deferred cash bonuses, à la Wall Street, in order to reduce turnover. To hold down bills for cabs, black cars, and couriers, Mr. Fakahany hired his former driver at Merrill Lynch to shuttle around most everything, from clients to crates of wine."

The restaurant group has yet to release the menu for the Miami Beach Osteria Morini, but the menus for its sister restaurants in New York City, D.C., Long Island, and the upscale township of Bernardsville, New Jersey, offer an array of handmade pasta, which has been fanning out across Miami. How White — whose Ai Fiori and Marea boast one Michelin star each — will stand out from the crowd remains to be seen.

Osteria Morini. 1750 Alton Rd., Miami Beach; 855-523-5455;
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Zachary Fagenson became the New Times Broward-Palm Beach restaurant critic in 2012 before taking up the post for Miami in 2014. He also works as a correspondent for Reuters.
Contact: Zachary Fagenson

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