Miami soil is sprouting up some excellent eats. This new South of Fifth gem couldn’t have arrived at a more perfect time; our dining scene is on an exciting upswing. It’s harvest season, 305 style.
Season 13 Top Chef winner, Jeremy Ford, wowed the judges on set last year. Now, after leaving his position at Matador Room by icon Jean-Georges Vongerichten and in a partnership with Grove Bay Hospitality Group, he’s opened the first of two restaurant projects. The exposed concrete, quaint retro furnishings, art deco accents, and graffiti artwork establish an easygoing vibe. The upscale dishes and knowledgeable service, however, solidify its powerhouse status. Top Chef fans take note, there’s even a crudo on the menu. Gasp!
What I tried:
I recently tried the Chef’s Tasting 8 Course Menu ($85). A slew of quick-fire “snacks” appeared almost immediately. Each one so well conceived, I couldn’t decide if to marvel longingly at each or finish them quickly so I could move on to the next. Isn’t that the kind of welcomed struggle one should always have while dining? The layered textures and flavors of the Hawaiian Kajiki (fermented chili, buttermilk, kombu, Asian pear and sea grape) worked nicely together. I couldn’t get enough.
South Florida’s sexiest new foie gras dish (note to self: update my previous 9 Best Foie Gras Dishes in Miami post ASAP!) gave me all the newly-in-love Valentine’s Day feels. I never knew the combination of Marcona almonds melting into foie gras with quince pasta and crisp toast would be so provoking. Until I did. Now I can’t stop thinking about it. Then there’s the Warm Celery Root dish with its combination of crackling maitake mushrooms for contrast and creamy mustard for bite. Give. Me. More.
Skillful plating showed off the Maine Lobster (green curry, caramelized cauliflower, and garlic crumbs) and the Slow Cooked Florida Snapper (poblano cucumber lime, littleneck clams, and bitter lettuce “butter”) at their best. Topped with miso mustard butter, the Umami Short Rib easily takes the cream of the crop award: luxuriously tender, rich and decadent.
Bonus Tip: Start with the Negroni a la Ford cocktail. Vida Mezcal + Campari + Cocchi di Torino + Ancho Reyes + White Creme de Cacao + Xocolati Mole stirred and strained over a king cube, and ending with a marshmallow roasted tableside over an open flame. Indoor camping never tasted so good!
When you visit, sit facing the panoramic window if possible to get a VIP look into all the action. I noticed the staff worked quickly and efficiently at a harmonious pace, while simultaneously stopping to interact with one another happily. No sweat or chaos noted. Great kitchen design? Devoted teamwork? Both? Kudos to the entire squad!
I often discuss our city’s growing talent and potential for nationwide and international recognition as a top culinary destination. Fresh and avant-garde concepts, such as this one, are not only welcomed but needed. Passion, spirit, expertise, and a playful flair make Ford’s Stubborn Seed a keeper. With only 74 seats, scoring a spot will become increasingly difficult. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Miami hear this well, R E S E R V A T I O N S.