The much-anticipated Vagabond Restaurant & Bar has finally announced an opening date.
The restaurant, which is the final piece of the iconic hotel's phoenix-like rise, will open to the public January 12 and will feature an eclectic menu that includes everything from roasted and seasoned chapulines -- small grasshoppers that are a popular ingredient in Oaxaca, Mexico -- to dry-aged burgers.
The man in kitchen is chef/partner Alex Chang. It is a testament to the young chef's notoriety that he was named one of Zagat's "30 Under 30" before most of Miami had even tasted a morsel of his food.
Chang was the subject of filmmaker Gil Freston's documentary Paladar, which told the story of the chef's underground restaurant at an on-campus apartment at the University of Southern California. The 25-year-old's resumé includes tenures at some of the world's finest restaurants, including Animal in Los Angeles, Michelin-starred Pujol in Mexico City, Les Creations de Narisawa in Tokyo, and In De Wulf in Belgium.
Dishes will reflect that of the "contemporary vagabond" and are expected to incorporate fine dining in a casual setting. Chang's partner, Chris Wang, says he's confident the dishes will be warmly received by local diners. "The chef is so talented," Wang says. "We want to let him do his thing." A creative cocktail menu with a collection of well-priced wines is overseen by beverage director Jack Columbo.
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Art is also a large part of the equation at the Vagabond Restaurant. Partner Alvaro Perez Miranda has curated a series of pieces by both emerging and established artists for the restaurant's walls, but a piece of the original Vagabond Hotel sign is sure to be the most talked-about work. It was refurbished by local artist Diego Guzman and will be the focal point of the circular bar in the dining room's center. In keeping with the modern Vagabond theme, one wall of the dining room will showcase portraits of "contemporary vagabonds" shot by Miami artist Guillermo de Yavorsky.
The restaurant officially opens January 12 and will serve dinner from 6 to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 6 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.