New Dining Club Shikany Has Big Plans

It's definitely a club when you want to join, but can't. Chef Michael Shikany's new dining venture is more like a "lifestyle experience." Last night he hosted a media preview at his home to launch the "world of Shikany" on an unsuspecting public. This membership comes with stipulations; you must submit a profile (subject to approval) in order to attend all future events. The egalitarian in me screamed "no," but Chef Shikany assures the purpose is not to foster elitism, but to "get Miami people together." He said "it's more about growing a network, a way for people to grow as a community, revolving around food, but with all of us getting to know each other." Okay, that works.

Moving on to the most important part -- the menu. Chef Shikany is a professional; he attended the French Culinary Institute in NYC and earned his real world degree in esteemed kitchens like Babbo, Le Bernardin and Gramercy Tavern. After moving back to Miami, he ran the front of the house at Sushi Samba, Ortanique and La Cofradia. His food is a global infused mix of Modern American cuisine.

The five-course tasting started with a small square of ahi tuna with an injection of yuzu, white truffle and ponzu. Slightly salty, but a tiny crisp of garlic on top deflected a possible overabundance of soy sauce. A beautifully conceived beef tartare was served on a creamy dollop of purple potato mousse, and topped with a shallot-watercress crème fraiche. It would be difficult to say if the highlight was a cheesy orzo with butter poached lobster (we collectively asked to empty the pot's remnants), or a jerk-rubbed foie gras drizzled with a pear-maple reduction. Both were outstanding.

Food this good doesn't come cheap, these "culinary lifestyle" events will range from $150 to $500

per person. Big plans include winemaker dinners, cooking classes,

culinary and wine tours, as well as large-scale brunches involving

everything from Tesla Cars to DJ Vidal custom designed CD's. Discussion

topics will range from fashion and art to music and travel, and the

promise is to hold these events in places like "penthouses, waterfront

homes, art galleries" and "yachts." We shall see.

Last night's

post-snack cocktailing was indeed held on a brand new 88-foot Ferretti. I

don't know how often you lounge around on an $8-million boat,

but this writer was appropriately impressed.

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