Monday, January 2, 2017

Important Miami Restaurants: Fuegos and Alter


Fuegos is the first North American restaurant opened by Argentinian chef, Francis Mallmann, renown for cooking over open wood fires, as is done here.

Empanadas, cooked in a wood burning oven, filled with chopped filet and a mix of fresh tomato, vinegar, lemon and olive oil, accompanied by a mild chili sauce The dough was a bit too chewy for me. I would have preferred the dough to be crispier.

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Wood oven roasted cauliflower with crispy rice, cauliflower puree, herb salad, chopped almonds and a caper vinaigrette. A delicious dish.

Bronzino for 2, lightly charred and cooked over the wood fire. The fish covered a salad of cilantro, polenta, tomato and avocado. 

The surface of the 30 0z bone-in rib steak for 2, was cooked to near black, but the interior was perfectly medium rare-rare. The wood fire seared surface had a remarkable flavour as did the Argentine beef. I rated this beautifully charred steak (using the usual beef boys ratings of taste/texture and juiciness out of 10): taste: 9; texture 7; juiciness 7.5. A very enjoyable steak overall. The steak was served covered with a chimichurri sauce and sided with fabulous caramelized smashed Patagonian potato. The dish was accompanied by salsa criolla (tomatoes, onion, cilantro and mild chili peppers). Come for the steak, AND/or the roasted lechon (fire roasted suckling pig......not featured here).

Desserts were brought around and offered. We were very tempted by chocolate profiterole maiano, presented below, filled with chocolate mousse, mascarpone cheese and raspberries and drenched in dark chocolate......could have been YUM!

We were also very tempted by this mascarpone cream filled creation.

But, we settled for sharing this delightful dulce de leche and mascarpone cream-filled creation.

Our piece.

Chocolate cake nemisis, a rich dark chocolate ganache.


The kitchen is manned by well respected chef Brad Kilgore who formerly worked at Alinea in Chicago, considered one of the very best restos in the United States.

The food is a flavour inspired cosmopolitan adventure and the elements well contrived. However, some of the dishes were presented in a manner that I found a bit too "precious", and I will elaborate as I review the courses.

Aged beet and beef tartare with toasted buckwheat, which provided a very pleasant slightly smokey flavour and a pleasing, contrasting coarse texture, diced granny smith apple which contributed a very pleasant mild tartness and creme fraiche, all topped with dill and sorrel.

This is an example of that very precious presentation, a small spot on a big dish. The presentation did not make sense to me visually. See details below.

This is how I captured the contents of the dish.

But, to make the ingredients more obvious to those of you sharing this post, we have shaved cobia with vetrano olives stuffed with kelp, olive "snow", masago (a sushi grade of rice), mustard oil and toasted garlic dashi. The flavours of the composition, came together well.

Perfectly grilled, perfectly tender octopus with aji chili paste, pineapple vinegar all covered by squid ink crisps. 

Perigourd truffle cavatelli with chanterelles, yeast butter, katsuboshi and topped with shiitake "paper". This dish had huge umami.

"Bread and beurre": sumac and dill seed coated, crispy crusted egg brioche with "umami butter" ("secret ingredients" one of which is soy sauce). A great bread course.

Another great Brad Kilgore classic: "soft egg": a soft poached egg topped with gruyere crisp, covered with a thyme, rosemary, sea scallop flavoured foam (espuma) with truffled pearls and a dollop of osetra caviar. 

Another presentation a bit too precious......too much plate. see below: 

Grouper cheeks, black rice, shoyu hollandaise, sea lettuces, dill, nori, serrano pepper and cucumber. 

This presentation on glass over nature still life, contained in a wood box, was reminiscent of the presentation of the  great classic originated by Heston Blumenthal at the Fat Duck, sound of the sea, where he presented shell fish buried in "sand" on a glass plate over a box of sand, small stones and shells all contained in a wood box. An original and masterful presentation.

The dish above, called "fallen tree", consisting of a grilled palm trunk, trumpet mushroom stump, "twigs", moss, "mud" and fungi, a terrific, creative combination of flavours and textures.

Glazed prime short rib with smoked squash bread, chermoula glaze, shiitake mushrooms and shiitake mushroom puree, grilled trumpet mushrooms and pecorino soubise. This dish had very nice flavours but was not a fave. The mushy texture of the beef did not work for me. 

Squash puree over farro, a side dish.

Honey pineapple, beeswax gelato, Jamies honey, jackfruit cake and tomatillo, camomille infused meringue.

A mouthful of deliciousness, the final petit fours, feulletine sable, brown butter whipped mousse with soy and whisky caramel. This chef can hit the right flavour notes to create delightful experiences.

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