Chef Scott Wise, classically trained in French cuisine at Johnson & Wales and in the French countryside, has taken his skills to the South Miami area for local diners to experience. Initially a catering business, his restaurant, Mash Potatoes, now has a small sit-down area. With an expansive menu, über-competitive prices, a veggie variety, and catering options, there is no reason not to try this one-size-fits-all powerhouse.
Wise spent years in the Miami service industry at locales such as the Sonesta, the Ritz-Carlton South Beach, and the Victor Hotel before traveling around France, working with Michelin-starred chefs, and deciding to open up his own place. A natural people pleaser, he wanted a menu that would be able to appeal to everyone yet still incorporate the flavors and ideals he had learned throughout the years. He thought catering would be the best option because he could serve a variety of styles and cuisines. Eventually, he decided to add a sit-down area to his restaurant.
"I love braising, and I love cooking fish. Simple food done well. My motto is, if I'm cooking for someone, what do they like and how can I help them out?"
Mash Potatoes has been open for a little more than ten months, and it's easy to miss -- it's hidden in a strip mall off South Dixie Highway, next to a liquor store.
We tried the seared salmon fillet ($8.95). Though the plating was sparse, the salmon was perfectly cooked, crisp on the outside and warm and tender on the inside.
The Mexican lasagna ($7.95), the special of the day, used fried tortillas instead of noodles. It was absolutely delicious, and the tortilla crust added a nice base to the lasagna and made it almost like a quiche. Every bite of the meat was juicier than the last.
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I also tried some of the garlic mash, which is a little too mashed and liquid for my taste, but it still possessed a strong, savory garlic flavor.
The menu has everything from curried lentils over brown rice, quinoa, eggplant, beets, and other vegetarian options, to churrasco steak, baby-back ribs, mac 'n' cheese, and a healthful selection of mashed potato options. The prices are staggeringly low for the area. You can get a churrasco for $8, a full rack of ribs for $16, and each vegetarian option is $2.95.
Wise is proud of the fact that many local families use his catering services weekly, but he has recently begun to concentrate on the opportunity on the service side. Currently, the restaurant does not have serving staff. There's just a single counter. The chef will serve you the food and bring out the table settings himself. He hopes to expand soon and offer full table service. As it is, though, you can't go wrong to check out this place.