Gonzalo Rivera didn't garner much attention when he took over as executive chef at the Tides South Beach last spring. A first generation Mexican-American, Rivera graduated the California Culinary Academy in 2004 and promptly got work in Michael Mina's restaurants, including a four year stint as executive chef of Mina's Nemi Restaurant. Now that he's had a few months to settle in at the Tides, Rivera is launching new lunch and dinner menus at the property's main restaurant, La Marea. Here are some highlights:
Appetizers ($10-$18) include freshly-baked and grilled naan with a piquant chipotle hummus; Australian wagyu beef sliders with fried onions and barbecue sauce; and fried, bacon-wrapped, tempura-battered shrimp served with yuzu-infused crème fraîche. Other starters come in the form of seafood crudo selections ($15-$36) and salads ($14-$18) such as organic baby arugula with roasted candy cane baby beets, Florida oranges, and a tarragon citrus vinaigrette.
Pastas ($24-$28) range from tagliatelle with wild mushrooms, red pearl onion jam, Humboldt Fog bleu cheese and porcini velouté to udon noodles with miso-glazed black grouper in coriander-scented broth and bok choy succotash. Main courses ($32-$45) include yellowtail snapper with jasmine rice, edamame, sugar snap peas and chili-lime vinaigrette; Colorado rack of lamb with a cinnamon-scented dried Bing cherry-and-quinoa salad, with stuffed zucchini blossoms and house-made dark mole sauce; and pan-seared wahoo with squid-ink pasta, ratatouille and smoked shallot beurre blanc.
All we can add is that, at these prices one would expect Rivera's fare to be every bit as spectacular as that of the Tides' former executive chef Pietro Rota. We'll see.