I’ll admit it. I’m a fool for “Nuevo Latino” as witnessed by the many times I’ve dabbled in that category on this site.
In fact, a lot of my fearlessness and creativity in the kitchen was inspired a long time ago by a few chefs like Douglas Rodriguez. He’s the undisputed “Godfather of Nuevo Latino” and a member of the critically-acclaimed Mango Gang that revolutionized the Floribbean concept in the late eighties-early nineties.
Over the years, I’ve been to at least 4 of his restaurants (Yuca, Patria, OLA and this one), each multiple times — and his Nuevo Latino cookbook is one of the few cookbooks that survived my move from New York to Florida (and is still with me after 3 more moves in FL). It’s a treasure.
Yes, I’m fan. Let me show you why.
De Rodriguez Cuba is tucked away on a side street on the ground floor of the Hilton Bentley hotel in the internationally-trendy South Beach area of Miami.
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Upon arrival, my friend Norma and I were delighted to discover that the Chef was ‘in da house’. He graciously joined us for a bit to chat about New York, mutual friends, and food. During the evening I noticed him greeting other tables too. That’s a nice gesture. I like an accessible chef!
Chef suggested a tasting menu so that we could sample a wide variety of the dishes and this beautifully balanced Albariño. Here’s a virtual tasting for you.
Smoked Marlin Tacos (in oh-so-clever boniato shells).
A quartet of ceviche: Tuna + Watermelon; Ecuadorian Shrimp + tostones; Chifa Salmon; Mixed Seafood.
This was my favorite course. Each ceviche was distinct with a variety of heat levels, citrus, seasonings and different garnishes.
(As readers of FOODalogue know, finishing touches are important to me and every dish presented all the way through to dessert had that detail.)
Rock Shrimp Chiccarones in a spicy aji sauce; Foie Gras + Fig Empanada with arugula, Serrano ham and black trumpet vinaigrette; a fun play on a Cuban Sandwich (on a stick and without the bread); and Kobe Meatballs in a creamy black truffle sauce.
The empanada was truly a perfect pairing with the ham, arugula and vinaigrette. It was love at first bite! ♥
Vaca Frita (skirt steak) with tomatoes, avocados, rice + beans; Sugar Cane-speared Tuna over mashed potatoes and Catalan spinach; and Pork Belly.
We ended with a little Cuban coffee and a dessert sampler.
All hail the Godfather!
Rodriguez has not lost his touch. His creativity still abounds and there remains an attention to taste levels and finishing touches that speaks to his continued hands-on approach.
Note: A few years ago our “South Florida Foodie Group” had an”Oye y Oy Vey” year-end holiday bash at de Rodriguez with a specially created menu. A few photos of the event and the whole pig served poolside are on my FB page.
de Rodriguez Cuba on Ocean
101 Ocean Drive
Miami Beach 33139
Valet parking available, happy hour, special events, private parties, Miami Spice, tasting menu.
Disclosure: This was a media dine invite. The sentiment and photos are mine, straight from my heart and belly.