THIS PAST YEAR SOUTH MIAMI HAS SEEN THE OPENING OF VENUES SHOWCASING INTERNATIONAL CULTURES AND FLAVORS FROM AROUND THE GLOBE. FROM ASIA TO LATIN AMERICA, SOMI OFFERS TRADITIONAL AND FUSION MENUS THAT ARE SURE TO PLEASE.
A NEW DAY!
SOLE MAKES SOME DYNAMIC CHANGES
In the mid-19thcentury, Peru’s cuisine became heavily Asian-influenced after the Chinese and Japanese immigrated to its coast to work in the cotton and sugarcane plantations. The Tusán and Nikkei cultures (people of Chinese and Japanese ancestry, respectively, born or raised elsewhere) introduced Peruvian cuisine to ingredients like soy and ginger as well as new stir-frying techniques. The popular Lomo Saltado (jumping sirloin) was actually created by the Chinese wok technique by cooking juicy strips of sirloin marinated in soy sauce with sliced onions, tomatoes, and peppers served over rice and boiled potatoes; contemporary versions use fries instead of boiled potatoes. The menu includes dishes like the savory Risotto Lomo Saltado and the mouthwatering Tortelloni Aji de Gallina (pasta stuffed with shredded hen) in a rich and creamy yellow pepper sauce. Monteverde grew up on the country’s coast in a family involved in the fishing industry. This led to a sushi and ceviche section in the menu, with items such as the elaborate Acevichado Rollcoated in red panko and topped with fresh fish ceviche. The staff is now encouraged to contribute to the fusion theme. This past May, Executive Chef Alex Martinez, who hails from Mexico, created Mexican-infused items for Sole’s Cinco de Mayo event. They were such a hit that customers insisted they should be added to the menu, including the Tomatillo-Jalapeño sushi roll. Ironically, the cook’s opportunity to work creatively in the kitchen has made a notable improvement even in the classic Italian menu he himself had been preparing for years.
Trattoria Sole has something for everyone, whether it be a global blend of cuisines or the long-established Italian menu that has been seducing repeat customers for the past fifteen years.
WOK ON OVER!
HEALTHY EATING NEVER TASTED SO GOOD!
SOMI proudly welcomed Cantonese cuisine WOK Masters by Moy when it opened in February. Owner, Yony Moy, is a third generation restaurateur. His grandfather emigrated from China to Venezuela in 1957 and converted a local steakhouse in Caracas named “El Palmar” into a Chinese restaurant, which became the most successful Chinese eatery in the city and remains so to this day.
The Moy family later expanded toNew York and more recently to Miami. The secret to their food is the wok, a concave cooking vessel used in Chinese kitchens for hundreds of years. Cooking in a wok allows food to quickly sear at the bottom-center where the most heat lies, while constantly flipping the ingredients upward to reduce the temperature and create a light crispness in the dish. Wok Masters’ most popular dish is the Peking Duck, a two-course meal of crispy duck skin and stir-fried tender duck meat. In addition to the traditional dishes, there is a veggie menu for vegans, ovo-vegetarians, and ovo-lacto-vegetarians, including everything from Lettuce Veggie Wraps to Szechuan Vegetarian Chicken made from soy-based alternatives. Their heritage and love for customers translates into the clean inviting energy when you walk into the quaint neighborhood Cantonese diner. Wok Masters is currently constructing a location in Dadeland to open in 2013 and intends to expand into Brickell afterward. Moy is excited that the restaurant’s expansion will bring locals the true Cantonese cuisine his family has mastered.
SOMI GETS DELICIOSO!
A few blocks away a new chef has driven into town – literally – bringing Mexican cuisine back to SOMI since Poblano’s closed in 2009. Chef Ze Carlos Jimenez was born and raised in the south-central state of Morelos, Mexico and learned to cook at his grandmother’s local restaurant, La Reina de Morelos (The Queen of Morelos). After years of cooking in a number of different restaurants in South Florida, Chef Ze decided to showcase the authentic flavors from his hometown by opening his own food truck and incorporating his “Z” into the name, The MexZican Gourmet. With Chef Ze and his welcoming wife at the forefront, it wasn’t long before customers were begging for a stable place to eat his food. In December 2011, MexZican opened in SOMI’s former post office building off Sunset Drive and US-1. The restaurant is adorned with touches of green, red, and white to represent the Mexican flag along with art by the famous Mexican painter and husband to Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera. While Chef Ze continues to operate his food truck, the restaurant enables the expansion of the quick-service menu to more elaborate dishes. His signature essence is represented in even the simplest treats, like the delicious trio of salsas served with crispy warm chips baked in-house, perfectly complementing the fresh guacamole appetizer and the hot dishes. The salsas include an aromatic cilantro tomatillo dip, a smoky red chipotle, and a creamy jalapeño salsa that leaves a spicy tingle on the tip of your tongue throughout the meal. Be sure to try their refreshing Micheladas, a spicy beer concoction with lime and spices at the bottom of an ice-filled, salt-rimmed glass filled to the top with a cold beer. So good, I’ll bet you’ll order more than one!