New England seafood with Cuban flair has arrived in Miami with the opening of Ella’s Oyster Bar in Little Havana.
The eatery, which opened May 17, is the project of chefs Jordan Marano and Christian Plotczyk, who began working together 20 years ago to build food and beverage programs for other restaurants.
Marano, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, was the executive chef at Rosa Mexicano South Beach and also worked at DeVito and Il Migliore. Plotczyk was vice president of food and beverage at Virgin Hotels, vice president of restaurant operations at One Group Hospitality (STK restaurants), and vice president of culinary operations of Rosa Mexicano, where the two partners met.
The restaurant is named for Plotcyk's two daughters, Gabriella and Isabella, and also has meaning as ella, or "her" in Spanish, a reflection of the restaurant's Calle Ocho location.
Plotczyk explains the duo chose Little Havana for its vibrancy. "Calle Ocho in particular is so exciting right now, with independent shops and restaurants popping up everywhere," he says. "It is so close to everything yet really stands on its own as a community."
Aside from lobster rolls and a variety of West and East Coast raw oysters and clams, Ella's offerings nod to the restaurant's surroundings. An oyster po'boy, for instance, is served on Cuban bread with spicy mayo and other toppings.
“We recommend the oysters Rockefeller ($12), served with uni butter, lime, herbs, and panko. And if you’re looking to further explore some twists on New England classics, don’t miss the crab croquetas ($12) with Old Bay hollandaise, and surf 'n' turf frita Cubana ($15), made with lump crabmeat, chorizo, special sauce, and papas,” Plotczyk says.
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Alternative options to seafood include roasted bone marrow ($14), lollipop chicken wings ($11), and a roasted whole mushroom ($7) with greens, heirloom tomatoes, house-made queso, and chimichurri.
“We want everyone to feel at home at Ella’s,” Plotczyk says.
Adds Marano: “Ella’s embodies the character of Miami.”
Ella’s Oyster Bar
1615 SW Eighth St., Miami; 786-332-4436; ellasoysterbar.com. Sunday through Thursday 5 to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Lunch coming soon.