Gourmand

Coco Bambu
The Brazilian standout proves you can have it all when it comes to an excellent dining experience.

Coco Bambu’s reputation was established in Brazil, where it was launched 16 years ago. The idea: give guests an all-inclusive dining experience, and we aren’t talking about the price—it’s all about excellent food and cocktails, elegant ambience and topnotch service, all without breaking the bank. The Miami Beach location marks the arrival of the concept in the US, the staff of which traveled to and trained at Brazilian flagship Coco Bambu locations to master the restaurant’s cuisine, tradition and signature customer service. Since family-style dining is the core of the concept, the eatery offers over 100 shareable options, including its signature appetizers Crispy Savory Pastries with shrimp, lobster, beef or cheese, Coco Bambu Gratins of house-cured meat, shrimp or beef and bananas, and House Cured Meat Fries with mozzarella, béchamel and mild-flavor pepper. Entrées include Coco Bambu Lobster Tails for three, accompanied by creamy rice, basil, mozzarella and au gratin shoestring fries; Coco Bambu Crab Stew for two with warm snow crab legs, coconut sauce, white rice and cassava flour, and Coco Bambu Shrimp for four with creamy rice, peas, ham, mozzarella au gratin and shoestring fries. Other standouts: Whole Roasted Snapper for three topped with white wine, fresh vegetables, garlic, white rice and banana cassava flour, and Paella Coco Bambu for four to six, featuring shrimp, calamari, fish and mussels. Desserts for two that are worth every calorie include Baked Cocada, Lime PieI t and Lava Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream.

The drink menu is worth noting, as well; among the highlights of the restaurant’s bar program are its signature Frozen Caipi Coco, made with frozen coconut and Grey Goose Vodka; signature Caipis (caipirinhas or caipiroska) including Honolulu made with strawberry, pineapple, lime, ginger and Ketel One Vodka; Tropicalia, which uses mango, pineapple, passion fruit and Belvedere Apeach Vodka; and Axe with Passion fruit, “dedo de moça” pepper and Belvedere Vodka.

955 Alton Road, Miami Beach; cocobambu.com

 

Stubborn Seed
Chef Jeremy Ford’s dream has come true: a restaurant in Miami serving delicious, masterfully presented food.

After years of dreaming about opening up his own restaurant, Top Chef season 13 winner Jeremy Ford has done it—and lucky us, the new eatery is right here in our midst. Stubborn Seed’s philosophy is based on playing with different textures and flavors to develop a rich menu using seasonally sourced, natural ingredients. The 32-year-old Ford, a Jacksonville native, has loved cooking since his early teens, and during his career he has worked with some of the restaurant industry’s household names, including Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Now he’s in charge and putting forth a menu of creative and delicious dishes that can be ordered à la carte or as part of a Chef’s Tasting Menu consisting of seven courses. Those recipes include starters like olive oil and citrus root-braised Warm Celery Root with crunchy maitake mushroom, entrées such as Herb Roasted Wagyu with trumpet mushroom, carrot textures and mustard butter and Slowly Cooked Snapper with poblano, cucumber and lime littleneck clams and bitter lettuce “butter.” Among the standout sweet endings are a Corn Pavlova, corn custard topped with white meringue; Croustillant, a chocolate layer cake; and Snickerdoodles, cookies with a gooey chocolate center. The uncomplicated nature of the meticulously combined ingredients at the creative hands of Ford is what make Stubborn Seed stand out among what often feels like an overwhelming selection of celebrity restaurants in our market. Stop in, sit down, see for yourself.

101 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, 786.322.5211; stubbornseed.com

 

Ofa
Get a taste of traditional Brazilian cuisine with a contemporary twist.
Conceptualized by a powerhouse team of Brazilian hospitality and marketing pros—Felipe Ortiz, Carmen Rodriguez and Lucas Scudeler—Ofa is the newest addition to Miami Beach’s hip, ever-growing Sunset Harbour neighborhood. The menu of progressive Brazilian recipes is rooted in tradition but very much representative of the vibrant country’s rich, contemporary cuisine. Start out your meal with a Caipirinha—the national cocktail of Brazil—or a Rabo de Galo (Portuguese for “cock’s tail”), a stirred libation made with artisanal organic cachaça, Cynar and vermouth. Mixologist Jean Ponce has many other tasty concoctions in his repertoire, so you may want to sip slowly and try more than one. Then task yourself with deciding between offerings such as Bobó de Verduras, a sort of Brazilian vegetable coconut curry made with mushrooms, tomatoes, onions and bell peppers in a creamy yucca and coconut milk sauce served with plantains; Picadinho, which features filet mignon cooked in a meat sauce with baked plantains, crispy kale and house farofa—a classic toasted cassava flour mixture that’s reminiscent of a light breadcrumb—on a bed of brown rice and finished with a fried egg, or Torta de Frango ou Camarão, a classic pot pie made with your choice of rustic chicken or shrimp in a cream sauce. Other items that must be mentioned are Arroz de Polvo, a creamy octopus rice, and Fraldhinha Grelha, grilled skirt steak served with seasonal vegetables, roasted corn, garlic farofa and Brazilian vinaigrette. Desserts aren’t your run-of-the-mill offerings, either: Brigadeiros, traditional Braziian chocolate truffles made with chocolate and condensed milk, and Cuca de Goiabada com Crème Gelado de Queijo, a warm guava cake served with a cold, creamy cheese sauce, may require that you log a few extra hours in the gym the following week, but the deliciousness is worth the work.

1929 Purdy Ave., Miami Beach, 305.763.8766; ofarestaurant.com

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