Think about the term "invasive species." Just the sound of it is enough to make you quiver.
Eerie creatures you never thought you'd encounter, much less stick in your mouth, are among a variety of eco-conscious menu items available at Prey, an Asian-inspired pop-up at the 1 Hotel South Beach.
Conceived by chef Bun Lai, Prey
The inspiration stems from Bun's theory that if diners choose to eat invasive species, it will help restore balance to habitats destroyed by them, because invasive species are nonnative plants or animals that cause harm to a specific environment.
Bun believes food should be appealing and appetizing but
Prey's menu resembles a storybook more than a food list. Its blue water-colored pages begin with the pop-up's history, inspiration, and relationship to invasive species.
Each menu item, which includes a brief explanation of ingredients used and their significance, is placed in a category:
Some of Bun's more peculiar plates include finger-lickin' fish ribs, seasoned in baked ginger guava and made with invasive Asian carp known to destroy indigenous fish stocks in Kentucky; wild Texas antelope sushi; and
If you thought it couldn't get any more bizarre, think again. Crickets and cheese are on the menu too, representing beef and dairy, the two most destructive foods for humans and the environment.
Prey marks Bun's first restaurant beyond Miya's, his family's 35-year-old eatery in New Haven, Connecticut, which is considered the first sustainable sushi restaurant in the world.
Through his beachside pop-up, Bun will take Miya's eco-friendly dining outside of New Haven and into Miami's budding culinary scene, coinciding with the 15th anniversary of South Beach Wine & Food Festival.
"What he is bringing to Miami is something that has never been done before," says Barry Sternlicht, founder of 1 Hotels.
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"My oldest son would rave about Miya's in New Haven," Sternlicht says. "After my first dining experience at the family-owned restaurant, I was astonished — not only is Bun himself living the sustainable mantra of his cuisine, but his food is also exciting, unique, inspiring, and really good."
Prey's dishes range from $8 to $35. In addition to its à la carte menu, prix-fixe, late-night, and omakase tasting menus will be available too.
The pop-up will be open through April 25. Dinner begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. For reservations, call 305-604-1000.
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