Culinary Highlights from Terry Zarikian

Week of October 17th

Enjoy Terry’s eating escapades at the newest restaurants along with some of his all-time favorites. He shares the best of lunches and dinners weekly.

Ofa was not what I expected it to be since in Miami we haven’t had the proper introduction to Brazilian cuisine, outside of the “all you can eat” Brazilian Churrascaria style. At Ofa – short for farofa, that unique side dish made with toasted yucca flour, spices and flavorings (which you must try) – is a humble, homey gastronomic destination located in Miami Beach’s Sunset Harbor neighborhood. Operated by a team of Brazilian hospitality pros, Felipe Ortiz, Carmen Rodriguez and Lucas Scudeler and their dedicated kitchen team, Ofa delivers the sort of food you are delighted to eat, remember and crave afterwards. Our server recommended the Bolinho de Arroz com Molho Picante de Feijão – rice croquettes served with a spicy bean dip, but instead we opted for the Croqueta de Carne Com Chutney de Castanha do Para, a plate of amazingly light shredded meat croquettes accompanied by an equally amazing Brazil nut chutney. I want to go back and have the whole plate for myself! Fish of the day was Ceviche, marinated in fresh coconut milk is a preparation that relies on all ingredients being fresh. It’s a success with its curls of crispy sweet potato fries. Simple Grilled Coalho Cheese is served with locally-sourced honeycomb, and I can only describe it as Yummy! The rest of the menu is filled with deliciousness.

Ofa Restaurant

1929 Purdy Ave, Miami Beach

I ended up at Stiltsville Fish Bar by mistake, thinking I was going somewhere else on one of the nights the restaurant was hosting friends and family. I was trying to figure it all out when I was whisked to a table and treated to a tremendous dinner. Miami-based premier boutique restaurant firm, Grove Bay Hospitality Group (GBHG), and culinary duo Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth have created their dream concept featuring classic seafood cookery inspired by McInnis’ childhood growing up in the Florida panhandle. A huge “wow” goes to their Heirloom Tomato Salad with a bigger-than-a-golf-ball-sized Pimento Cheese Croquette oozing old fashion flavors of pimento and cheese. Nostalgia continues with the Green Eggs & Ham, green deviled eggs with crispy country ham and delicious pickles. The Big Fish for 2 is a golden fried, locally-sourced Crispy Whole Yellow Tail Snapper with lemon basil salsa verde and a key lime dust to give it a final oomph. For non-seafood lovers, the plump Bay Leaf & Citrus Crusted Fried Chicken is a must-have, and I suggest you order the whole bird and share or take the leftovers home.

Stiltsville Fish Bar

1787 Purdy Ave, Miami Beach

Another brilliant partnership, this time between Grove Bay Hospitality Group (GBHG) and Top Chef Jeremy Ford, winner of season 13 of Bravo’s cooking competition, Top Chef, has yielded Stubborn Seed, a concept of such a level of creativity, it will elevate the culinary landscape of Miami Beach. At his dream restaurant, Chef Ford can be as passionate as he wants, and he is! Jojo Tea Cured Cobia, a composition of sorrel, finger lime, fresh hearts of palm with a spicy celery broth is both full of flavor and sublime. Textures play an important role in the success of this dish, as they do in most of Ford’s creations. A home-baked Lavash with an ethereal (yes!) chicken liver mousse is accented with a confetti of smoked chili jam dots. It’s unforgettably good. Smoked Foie Gras with dainty mini pasta rounds filled with quince, marcona almonds and aged sherry vinegar, is one for the books, as it was perfectly prepared. But the Warm Celery Root, amazed me. I don’t love celery root, but now Chef Ford won me over. A carved piece of deliciously poached celery root is accompanied by crunchy crackling maitake mushroom and a light and airy creamy mustard sauce on the verge of applying for an espuma degree. A circle of fried quail egg frames the yolk and adds extra richness to this vegetarian delight. As soon as I return from the NYC Wine & Food Festival next week, I am going back for the Unami Short Rib with its perfectly seared trumpet mushrooms, heirloom carrots and the best short ribs with miso mustard butter I have had to date.

Stubborn Seed

101 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach

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