Saturday, December 28, 2013

Bar Crudo Miami

I bet you've heard of Lee & Marie's Cakery located in the SoFi neighborhood of Miami Beach. Did you know that owner Andy Travaglia recently opened a raw bar called Bar Crudo  right next door at 40 South Pointe Drive? From the moment you walk in to Bar Crudo, you know it's special. It's an artistic, cozy space, showcasing meaningful artwork on its walls. Most of them were painted by Travaglia's own parents. She grew up in the SoHo District in New York surrounded by artists and loves to reminisce on those days. She has successfully brought that feeling and warmth to Bar Crudo.

Bar Crudo
Travaglia is one of those phenomenal human beings you come across only a few times in your life. She opened Lee and Marie's Cakery on September of last year not only to provide fresh baked, farm-fresh goods to the area, but as a means of helping those with Autism. It all started over two decades ago, when Travaglia's friend's son was diagnosed with the disorder. It was then she knew she wanted to do something. Although there are resources available for children with Autism, what happens when they grow up, or their parents can no longer care for them? Travaglia employs adults who have Autism as a way to give them an option for work, when there are so few open to them now. She also hopes to raise awareness and help others see that employees with Autism can perform the job as good or even better than anyone else. The mission she started at Lee & Marie's is going to continue at Bar Crudo.

With Chef Reto Von Weissenfluh and
Owner Andy Travaglia

Creating the edible art is Chef Reto Von Weissenfluh, originally from Switzerland, whose resume includes Cooper Avenue and Chef de Cuisine at Hawk's Cay Resort  in Duck Key.  Listen to him describe his creations, and you can feel the passion he brings to his food. Although the food is not technically cooked with traditional heat, the amount of preparation and detail that go into his dishes is impressive. I asked him where he derives his inspiration for taking simple ingredients and creating such colorful, tasteful masterpieces. It turns out that when he wants to create a new dish, he goes to Wynwood and walks around for a while. He gets inspired by the street art and how the colors balance each other. He then endeavors to do the same in his kitchen. The combination of ingredients and the flavors he brings to the table require talent and creativity, and he scores huge points on both - preparing dishes whose presentation leave you breathless with downright admiration.


Shrimp Tomatillo
Pineapple Ginger
Excited to begin sampling the innovative menu designed by Chef Von Weissenflu, we started with a refreshing, aromatic cocktail from the bar. Perusing the interesting cocktail menu, I decided on the Pineapple Ginger Mojito made with Flor de Cana Rum, Pineapple, Fresh Lime, Ginger and garnished with Mint Sprigs. It was served with a red and white paper straw in a mason jar. Nice! Our first bite was the Shrimp Tomatillo, consisting of a modern-day twist of the classic shrimp dish.. Instead of tomatoes and horseradish, the fresh shrimp were served with tomatillo and wasabi. The ensemble had a nice kick that awakened the palate. Next up was the Salmon, wrapped and cured with kombu for 36 hours. It was sprinkled with pomegranate, purple broccoli and parsnip. Although it would be very difficult to pick just one favorite of the night, this one would certainly be up there for me. I found the dish to be enticingly fragrant, with a captivating array of textures and sweet and savory flavors.

Kombu Cured Salmon



Being such a fan of cured and raw foods, I was in heaven and looking forward to our next dish. It was the tender Scallop, quick-pickled over sumac and surrounded with specks of saffron. Definitely another favorite. It was followed by the Hamachi, gingerly seasoned with salt and lemon juice, sitting on an avocado puree. It was brilliantly topped with edamame and chorizo salt. We still had one more seafood dish to try before moving on to the meats, and I am ecstatic to say it was the Octopus, simply cooked with salt, pepper and lemon juice, and looking pretty on an emulsion of different herbs, rosemary and sweet potato.

Before we went on to sample the meat dishes, we cleansed our palate with a taste of Cucumber Sorbet. It was a nice way to refresh the taste buds after the incredible marathon of seafood crudos in order to begin the culinary journey inland.
Palate Cleanser: Cucumber Sorbet

Chef's Sampler of Charcuterie
Smoked Duck Breast
Our next course was the Chef's Sampler of Charcuterie consisting of international meats and cheeses. There was a Polish smoked sausage, creamy gruyere from Switzerland, a tantalizing brie, Prosciutto di Parma and Braseola from Italy, and Manchego cheese. It was served with cornichons and olives. Sort of like the United Nations on a platter. We then indulged in the Hudson Valley Smoked Duck Breast. It was my first time eating duck this way. The slices were placed over a shallot puree and garnished with grapes and apple wedges. Once again, I enjoyed the sweet and salty combination.  The final course before dessert was the Smoked Black Tea Beef Carpaccio. This dish was not just delicious but beautifully plated as well. The lavender smoked beef was covered in a glass plate and once removed, revealed the appetizing aroma of apple wood. It was crowned with a mountain of pickled artichoke, enoki mushrooms and Grana Padano Cheese.

Smoked Black Tea Beef Carpaccio

Chocolate Trio
Quite an adventure up to this point, but it wasn't over yet. We still had to try the sweet surrender of the evening and it came by way of two desserts; the Panacotta and the Chocolate Trio. The Panacotta was a deconstructed masterpiece with pistachios, gel, and a creamy yogurt at the bottom to lighten the sweetness. The Chocolate Trio, which of course I didn't want to share, was prepared with three types of chocolate in harmonious textures. Dollops of Chambord gel accompanied the chocolate treats.

Needless to say, we were truly impressed with Bar Crudo and Chef Von Weissenfluh's edible creations. I cannot wait to return. For more information, you can contact them at 305 763-8508.

Bar Crudo on Urbanspoon

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