always been about turning out spectacularly crafted cocktails and now, with the addition of chef James Seyba, the lounge at theFreehand Miami
is upping its game food-wise.
Seyba, who recently served as chef de cuisine of 150 Central Park, Michael Schwartz's restaurant on Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas, has introduced a new menu designed to work with the Shaker's cocktail program.
In keeping with the Shaker's philosophy of working from scratch, many items are made in-house, including bacon, jerky ($5), cheese, and pickles ($6). In addition, dishes often include various spirits and beers in order to complement the flavors in the cocktails. Seyba explains, "The Shaker has always been known for taking cocktails to the next level. Working with Gabe and Elad has opened my mind to different combinations and innovative ideas."
Seyba is also taking the bar's herb garden to another level. "We are very close to breaking ground on an on-site garden. This will provide guests with a authentic farm-to-table experience in which almost all of the herbs, fruits, and vegetables will be planted and picked on the premises."
The Shaker's smoker is also getting lots of use to make "fall off the bone ribs" and several other dishes that "bring that smoky flavor." Seyba is offering smoked St. Louis ribs with Panther coffee barbecue sauce ($10).
We asked Seyba to put to rest once and for all the age-old questions of whether cocktails should be enjoyed before or during a meal. "I would say cocktails are great before, after, and during the meal. I think cocktails should either contrast or complement the dish."
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A good contrast would be "our Old Fashioned with our house-made beef jerky. The salty and slightly spicy jerky is a perfect contrast to the bitter and sweet cocktail."
And for a complementary pairing, Seyba suggests partnering fresh fruit in both drink and dish. "On our current menu, we are featuring watermelon in both a drink and atop our fresh made ricotta cheese ($8). Eating them together is the perfect way to complement similar flavors."