What could be sexier than two of Miami's hottest chefs cooking up original dishes for your pure and utterly unadulterated indulgence? When they do it together, of course.
That's what you have to look forward to this Wednesday night if you partake in Meat Market's first ever guest chef dinner. Celebrity chef Ingrid Hoffmann, the adorable Latina whose signature flare has catapulted her from hometown sweetheart to star chef on the Food Network, will join an equally charming and talented executive chef Sean Brasel for a tantalizing menu of tropical delights.
The menu reads like a holiday in the Americas. Some ingredients - mango, especially - make repeat appearances, but like the sparkling waters off the coast of a tucked away Island resort, you can't get too much.
After taking a dip in guava jalapeno margaritas and guanabana mojitos, amuse your palette with tangy tomatillo shrimp, lamb chops with cilantro, tuna tar-tar and house smoked salmon on achiote crostini -- passed hor d'oeuvres that are as fun to eat as they are to pronounce. Your next departure is an appetizer of ceviche flights, including Canchita scallop and coconut, salmon with mango and mahi-mahi with aji amarillo. Bold entrées and sides effortlessly combine Brasel's no-holds-barred character with Hoffmann's candid playfulness: wood grilled Florida Mahi-Mahi with guava barbecue glaze, mango and veggie salsa is followed by Kobe skirt steak with trio of sauces (pineapple aioli, chimichurri and tomato.) And then there's the sides of spicy broccoli and savory, creamy Peruvian potatoes a la huancaina. The journey will conclude with Hoffmann's homemade churros.
When asked about how her recipes will come to life in Brasel's kitchen, Hoffmann is modest. "Sean will be elevating them from home-cooked version to mega-chef version. I think both Sean and I love lots of the same ingredients." she says. "My family and I have been in love with Sean's food since Meat Market opened, and are frequent diners there. When I was approached with the idea, I jumped at it. I admire his excitement and play with ingredients, as well as his high standard for the best quality, often making a simple dish be perfectly balanced, delicate and outstanding."
Brasel is equally complimentary...and complementary. "I think Ingrid has a wonderful, unique approach to food using Latin ingredients. I love her combinations of classic Latin flavors with unusual ingredients. I also believe her Simply Delicioso approach is very refreshing to this market.
At $100 a ticket, it's an excellent value and a lot of food -- a rarity for your typical surface-heavy and substance-slim foodie affair, let alone dining out on South Beach. And if you think it can't get any better than that, proceeds from ticket sales all benefit Amigos for Kids, a not-for-profit organization close to Hoffmann's heart that responds to the needs of South Florida's abused, abandoned, neglected and less-fortunate children.
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If we're lucky, Meat Market guest chef dinners will become a regular occurance at the irreverent South Beach steakhouse that has made a name for itself since the immersion circulator began slow-cooking brisket -- and even spinach -- to consistent perfection late last year.
Meat Market is located at 915 Lincoln Road on South Beach. Valet parking is available for $5, seven nights a week, on the corner of Jefferson and Lincoln Road. Reservations for the special dinner with Hoffmann are limited to 80 attendees and priced at $100 per person, all inclusive and available at (305) 532-0088.
The evening will get underway at 6:30 p.m. with the cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, followed by the sit down, multi-course dinner at 7 p.m. Hoffmann will also sell and sign copies of her book, SIMPLY DELICIOSO: A Collection of Everyday Recipes with a Latin Twist, also available at nearby Books & Books.