Design District's Mandolin Plans Massive Expansion, Taps Roel Alcudia to Lead Kitchen

Two months after parting ways with Michael Schwartz's Cypress Room Tavern, Roel Alcudia is now leading the small blue-and-white kitchen that feeds Mandolin Aegean Bistro's perpetually packed patio.

He'll also oversee the Mandolin inside Soho Beach House, which opened earlier this year. Alcudia said Mandolin owners Anastasia Koutsioukis and Ahmet Erkaya gave him free reign to alter both places' menus. But don't except Cypress Room-style fare. "It's carte blanche," he says. "I want to marry the French bistro feel with having a heavily influenced Greek-Turkish accent."

The restaurant's flatbreads will get a more refined touch. Simply grilled fishes such as branzino will remain, while others like salmon will be swapped in favor of local species. As Alcudia rolls out changes out over the coming weeks, the team also plans to open four international locations in 2016. Though all will be in partnership with Soho House, some will also be freestanding, Alcudia says. Among the possibilities are Istanbul, Berlin, Barcelona, and London.

The menus developed here will serve as template for the international expansion. "It's like a blueprint," he said. And in a few months Alcudia will hire a new chef to oversee Mandolin's Miami outfits as he moves on to taken the mom-and-pop spot global. 

Alcudia's arrival in Miami in 2013 to work at the Cypress Room, where he was chef de cuisine prior to his departure, was something of a coup for the city. The Filipino immigrant had previously worked at Thomas Keller's Per Se, Tom Colicchio's Craft, and Jonathan Waxman's Barbuto before heading south.

For two years, he and sous-chef Michael Beltran (now planning to open Coconut Grove's Ariete) pulled off some of Miami's most ambitious cooking at Schwartz's rustic yet refined spot on NE Second Avenue. While it may seem odd to plug Alcudia into a place with a pretty focused Greek-Turkish format, the international locations will offer plenty of creativity. "We're going to adjust the menu for each," he says. "I don't want to alienate people by just doing what we do here."

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