Yucca Empanadas and short ribbed Feijoada prove the brilliance of South American flavors in Amaras
Welcome to the new feature, called Inside the Dishes, where Eater Miami is thoroughly acquainted with the dishes that define restaurants around the city. First, Eater Miami 2018 Restaurant: Amara Paraisos.
it just seems fitting that one of Miami's most famous chefs and restaurant makers, Michael Schwartz, opens a Miami-based restaurant with the most potential - and that's what he did with Amara in Paraiso, his stunning waterfront restaurant and Eater Miami's 2018 restaurant. Self-described as its love letter to the Magic City, it features everything you would expect from a top-notch Miami restaurant: water-hard views, ingredients-based pricing with lots of South American influences, bright and airy interiors and a lively bar.
The kitchen is supported by chef Michael Paley, who has been with Amara since its inception. Paley has a diverse culinary background, ranging from Boulud's West Palm Beach café to developing a Naples pizza restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky, before working with Schwartz a few years ago. For six months, she worked with Schwartz and Genuine Hospitality Group culinary director Bradley Herron, drawing inspiration from South America.
"It's been a great dynamic for me, as I spent many years running my own restaurants and running my own business, but there was no one to work with when I wanted new ideas," Paley adds. “So it's fun when Bradley and Michael and their wealth of knowledge advise and just create new things. It's like three times the brain. "
Although empanadas are not a unique dish in Miami, Amara's way of making her is definitely so. Instead of traditional pastry cream, Amara uses yucca-based dough that is simply made from yucca and salt, which is mashed and molded into a dough (bonus: it's also naturally gluten-free). It is then filled with a vegetarian-friendly mixture of mozzarella, corn, leek, jalapeño and poblano peppers. For those who crave something more traditional, they can choose an Argentinian-influenced empanada made with short ribs, olives and raisins, surrounded by cream made with lard and flour, and salt and egg.
Paley has described it as a "basic lunch salad," a chopped cabbage salad a popular choice for Amara eateries. Made with chopped red cabbage bed, lightly over honey-lime vine to decompose cabbage. It has garlic chips, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, microbasil, paprika, onion and Idiazabal, sheep's milk cheese that is similar to manchego but slightly creamier and slightly smoky. Guests can then add a salad by adding a piece of shrimp, grilled chicken, chorizo, avocado or grilled fish to some protein.
As Schwartz is the king of the farm-to-table movement in South Florida, the salad turns like seasons. “It's sticky because it's different enough if it's not just a mixed salad salad or roasted beet salad, which we do. But salads rotate seasonally. "
Right at the Biscayne Bay restaurant, a must-have - but simple - grilled fish was a must, and the perfect way to show off your jasper and wood-fired grills. The fish on the menu spins according to what it was caught that day, and is served with potato and salsa blood, which has a surprising Italian flavor profile with anchovies, garlic, peppermint, basil, parsley and even corn chunks served in a subtle nod to its Italian cooking background.
Korean bibimbap - but tea from Miami was the idea of the arroz verde bowl. Immediately from the oven-and-table-heated hot tub, it is filled with cilantro-puree jasmine rice, which has a variety of products such as pickles, seeds, pickled cabbage, cucumber and fried egg, creating an interesting combination of crisp, tangy and salty. Filled with roasted peppers, chili, bread, almonds and hazelnuts, the Romaesco spot adds extra and the creamy avocado balances everything out.
This classic Brazilian stew in Amaras has been a "cook-up". It's not intended for light eaters (or vegetarians), but it's worth the calories. The beans are stewed with pork, pork legs, pig ears, bacon and chorizo for more than five hours; then a grilled short rib topped, a piece of grilled pork belly and one house-made red chorizo sausage. To cut some of the richness, marinated kale is added to the traditional starch alongside the rice. "We spent a lot of time on technology and execution, but we left it very down to earth," Paley notes.
Exhibition stop made with rows and rows of fresh seafood, this is a product you will get with a large crowd. Filled with seafood tower favorites like a dozen oysters, six chilled shrimps and six snow crab claws, it also boasts a rich Latin flavor. Its snapper ceviche is tossed with sweet potatoes, passionfruit, coriander and leche de tigre; while the ceviche group is made with avocado, coconut milk, roasted pistachio and coriander. (For those who don't want to order as much, there are also one and two rows of platter.)