It's no easy task consolidating every type of Asian cuisine from India and China, to Singapore and Malaysia, into a menu that maintains the identity of the chef behind the door. Executive Chef David Werly came to The Setai last year with training from Chef Alain Ducasse under his toque, as well as logging time in several Michelin-rated restaurants in Paris. The Restaurant at the Setai won the award for Best Hotel Restaurant in our New Times' Best of Miami 2011 issue, and yes, it's pretty, but the real reason it works is kitchen symmetry.
When Werly arrived, he overhauled the extensive menu, which was more of a novella really. Apparently guests found the immense array of choices overwhelming and the menu too difficult to decipher. The categories were trimmed, and plates were realigned to make the ordering process more manageable for those with less exposure to Asian cuisine.
The gai hor bai toy, also known as chicken wrapped in pandanus leaves, were small bites of bird but had a seriously condensed flavor. The meat was infused with a heady smokiness, and cilantro roots, lemongrass, sesame oil and sweet soy all worked together nicely.
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The sea bass pla pao rom fan is smoked with jasmine tea, the fragrance really penetrates throughout the fish. It's served with a cucumber and tomato relish, as well as kaffir limes for the squeezing.
The milk fed veal chop was cooked to perfection, just a hint of pink in the center, served with preserved lemon polenta sticks and lemongrass infused Granny Smith apples.
Beef short ribs, also known as gai ka ghost are served "curry" style, flavored with cumin, tumeric, cinnamon and red wine.