Nearly six months after Jeremy Ford announced his departure from Matador Room
, the Top Chef
returns to Miami Beach this week with the opening of his first restaurant, Stubborn Seed
, in the South of Fifth neighborhood.
The name is a nod to the persistence required to open a restaurant, Ford told New Times
this past July. "The name means a lot to us," Ford said. "It's our stubborn approach to what we do and what we purchase."
The concept, created through a partnership between Ford and Grove Bay Hospitality Group, uses locally sourced ingredients to build a rotating selection of colorful plates, rich in both taste and design. The restaurant's intimate dining area, which seats just more than 70 customers, forgoes white tablecloths for a warm and relaxed atmosphere.
Ford and his team, which includes longtime friend, chef Joe Mizzoni, take inspiration from Asia, Europe, and Miami's own melting pot of cultures to create a diverse menu of raw items, meat, fish, and other small plates. Items can be ordered à la carte or included in a chef’s tasting of six courses curated by Ford ($80).
For first-time guests, Ford suggests an order of the warm celery root with crackling maitake and creamy mustard.
The Jojo Tea-cured snapper
Courtesy of Grove Bay Hospitality
Additional menu highlights ($5 to $28) are Jojo Tea-cured snapper with sorrel, celery, clementine, and hearts of palm; a five-second wahoo crudo with a spicy buttermilk dressing; herb-roasted Wagyu accentuated with mushroom, carrot, and mustard butter; and slow-cooked snapper with poblano peppers, cucumber, and lime littleneck clams.
Desserts include croustillant, a creamy chocolate layer cake; snickerdoodle cookies with gooey chocolate centers; and stout cake served with ginger ice cream.
Stubborn Seed's bar program serves equally creative concoctions. The Follow the Light uses a web of candied sugar as a garnish, and the Half Baked oozes smoke from a beaker-like glass.
This concept is the first of two restaurants in the Ford/Grove Bay partnership. The company's forthcoming multirestaurant and retail project, the Harbour in Coconut Grove, will include a waterfront space for Ford's other restaurant, Afishionado.
"At Stubborn Seed, people will have the opportunity to connect with Jeremy on a level they haven’t been able to before," Grove Bay cofounder and co-CEO Francesco Balli told New Times.
"This concept will offer guests a truly unique experience, with a special tasting menu that will take diners on a journey, with Jeremy as their guide.”
Stubborn Seed. 101 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 786-322-5211; stubbornseed.com. Open for dinner 6 to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 6 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. The restaurant is closed Monday.