If you’re looking to splurge on a delicious meal prepared by celebrity chefs, then go no further than Miami. Sure, the locavores will lament that these big names aren’t home-grown, but despite their brightly-lit, boldface names, these celebrity chefs aren’t culinary carpetbaggers. They may be global stars, but they’re putting down roots in our big-ish city, and are really embracing Miami’s culinary heritage. These are the best spots in town to celebrate: You just closed a big deal, now it’s your turn to eat like one.
Chef José Andrés is a big deal, and he is often credited with introducing the small plate concept, otherwise known as tapas, to the U.S. culinary scene. When Andrés decided to bring his popular Beverly Hills restaurant, The Bazaar, to the SLS Hotel South Beach, foodies went into a frenzy. The James Beard-winning Spanish chef adapted to Miami’s surrealistic ambiance and created menu items tailored to the Miami crowd. Feast like a king or — when in Miami — an Estefan, with Cuban escabeche “Estefan’s way,” made with hamachi, pickled onions, and sour orange. Then there’s the dragon fruit ceviche made with tuna, pecans, lime, and hibiscus; it’s not exactly the typical ceviche, but that’s the point. Chef Andrés also has a sense of humor, as seen in his “Not Your Everyday Caprese,” in which the star ingredient is liquid mozzarella. Do not try this at home.
You know you’re a famous chef when you can just go by your initials, like French chef Daniel Boulud of the db Bistro at the JW Marriott Marquis Miami. The db is a study in cultural fusion: sleek and swanky, yet not at all stuffy. Although Boulud is French, his über-American Florida Key shrimp al ajillo — rock shrimp in lemon and garlic — is as local as it gets. Big Cypress frog legs may hail from the Everglades, but the sauce gribiche and crudité bedazzling it is quintessentially Boulud. Of course, there are the French classics: pate, escargots, and coq au vin, among others. If that’s too fancy for you, there’s always the legendary db burger with braised short ribs, foie gras, and black truffle, which is the closest thing to heaven. Mon dieu!
Shelborne Wyndham Grand
You’ve seen him wielding a knife on TV, but now you can see Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto doing the same at his brand new restaurant. Designed by the appropriately named Glamorous of Tokyo, the restaurant is located at the newly opened Shelborne Wyndham Grand on South Beach. Here, the words “tuna” and “pizza” conjure a culinary symphony of anchovy aïoli, olives, and jalapeño, and the Iron Chef chicken noodle soup of inaniwa noodles, shanton broth, scallion may be the panacea to almost everything that ailed you earlier. High rollers can taste a little of everything Morimoto has to offer with the multicourse Morimoto omakase, featuring: sushi, sashimi, steaks, and seafood. One bite, and you’ll see why Morimoto has achieved celebrity status.