Chef Pippo Lamberti has grown up in a family immersed in the culinary world. The 37-year-old chef is part of a dynasty of successful eateries in the Northeast created by his father, including the flagship Caffe Aldo Lamberti in New Jersey and six other restaurants spread throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and the Garden State.
Lamberti was the executive chef for the family's Philadelphia restaurant, Positano Coast by Aldo Lamberti, for ten years. He worked at Café Boulud in Palm Beach, and with the help of his father, he chose the Buena Vista neighborhood to open Palat this past January.
"I always wanted to live by the water again," Lamberti says. "We grew up on the water in Italy, and I prefer the warm weather. Florida is my home now and where I spend all of my time."
The chef uses local ingredients to create traditional Italian dishes with a modern spin, such as sea urchin with squid-ink pasta and crabmeat ($20), house-made beet ravioli ($16), and charred octopus with artichoke and rosemary pesto ($15).
This is the eighth Lamberti restaurant but the first in South Florida. It stands out from the others by presenting a small-plates concept that encourages diners to sample and share multiple dishes at once.
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"I love offering my guests a taste of everything we have," Lamberti says. "Growing up, my family and I always shared everything when we went out to dinner, and I love doing that now as well. I think it’s awesome to be able to taste a variety of dishes and flavors, and I want my guests to enjoy the same."
Diners can start with charcuterie and cheeses such as the paleta ibérico ($15) or truffle pecorino ($10), or opt for a tasting of all six offerings for $35. The crostini, prepared using crusty Sullivan Street Bakery bread, include options such as peas, bacon, and mint ($9) and steak tartare with fresh horseradish and egg ($11). Heartier fare includes a hanger steak ($18) and a NY strip with romesco sauce, which comes in two sizes ($19 or $41). Palat's lunch menu offers dishes such as pineapple tartare ($8), insalata verde with watercress, avocado, and manchego ($8), an eggplant caponata sandwich ($12), gnocchi with pork ragu ($13), and braised rabbit tagliatelle ($19).
With Palat, Lamberti hopes to bring the flavors of his roots to Miami. "I have always had a passion for food, one that ultimately became a passion for creating and sharing it with those who appreciate it. Opening my own restaurant was the natural next step as a chef."
Palat. 4702 NE Second Ave., Miami; 786-953-7577; palatmiami.com. Sunday and Tuesday through Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Closed Monday.