When the pace of Miami Beach gets too frenetic, there’s now a portal to a country farmhouse inside The Confidante hotel. That farmhouse is Bird & Bone, the new restaurant concept from Chef Richard Hales, who’s known for Miami hotspots Sakaya Kitchen and Blackbrick Chinese. At Bird & Bone, Hales’ Southern/country side shines through in items like slow-roasted lamb ribs with white barbecue sauce, pimento cheese and oxtail with crackers, bourbon cake and a Nashville hot chicken salad sandwich. That sandwich, along with fried chicken buckets, slaw and pickles, are available in Bird & Bone’s grab-and-go market area for customers headed to the beach.
The menu at The Morris doesn’t waste words. There are no overly done descriptions here, but the few words used will intrigue you. In the First Course section, there’s “little gems. Bacon. Hazelnut.” And “trout crudo. Green apple. Almond.” “Smoked duck” (pictured). Or even more intriguing: “beets. Blue cheese. Pistachio brittle.” The food and beverage program is meant to be both playful and sophisticated at The Morris. The new spot, opened by sommelier Paul Einbund (Frances, Octavia) and chef/partner Gavin Schmidt (Coi, Campton Place) in San Francisco’s Potrero Flat neighborhood, takes wine seriously, and Einbund’s offerings, with a strong focus on California wines, are set to rotate right along with the biodynamic farming calendar.
California Pizza Kitchen founders Rick Rosenfield and Larry Flax turn their attention from pizza to seafood with the new Bottlefish in L.A.’s Brentwood Gardens. Light and breezy with an exhibition kitchen and a showy raw bar, Bottlefish has a menu that emphasizes responsibly sourced seafood and California’s super fresh produce as well. The menu’s “Greens & Sandwiches” section includes standouts like sesame crusted tuna salad with Tuscan kale, fresh herbs and avocado tossed in a toasted almond dressing. Heartier plates like whitefish Milanese and sautéed branzino (pictured) put the spotlight squarely on fish. Craft beers and cocktails and a 450-bottle wine wall make up the beverage program.
Finn Town Tavern
What’s better than happy hour? Another happy hour, later in the evening. That’s one of the philosophies behind the new tavern with a twist in the Castro neighborhood. Another is the idea of “happenings.” Once that may have meant a political or art event, but at Finn Town, happenings are food-centric, like a recent Garlic Thyme Top Round French Dip event. Co-owners Ryan Scott and Rick Hamer thought the neighborhood had a shortage of places with both great food and a “Cheers” vibe. At Finn Town that vibe seems to be happening already, and comfort shows up in the form of dishes like lobster cioppino for two, pot roast, sloppy joes and big-boy burgers. Cocktails are inspired by California greats like Jerry Garcia (the Captain Trips, with rum, lemon, matcha and hemp seed oil) and Jack London (Call of the Wild, with gin or vodka, vermouth, lemon, cucumber and absinthe).
Humble Market Kitchin
Wailea Beach Resort-Marriott
Roy Yamaguchi is known as a pioneer in modern Hawaiian regional cuisine, and with a $100-million makeover at Marriott’s Wailea Beach Resort, he has an impressive platform to showcase his island-inspired menu. Yamaguchi grew up in Japan, vacationed in Hawaii as a kid, learned to cook at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park and then got his start cooking in California before giving in to the allure of the islands. Later, he cofounded the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival. The restaurant’s panoramic views of mountains and sea are a great backdrop for menu items like tableside poke, creative sushi rolls and stunning whole-fish plates.
Rob Newton is known for importing the flavors of the South to Brooklyn, with Seersucker and Wilma Jean. He’s also known for Southeast Asian-inspired cooking at Nightingale 9. Black Walnut is part of Newton’s progression, playing faster and looser with his influences, and in a bigger space as well. Dishes like grilled shishitos with crushed sunchokes, fennel and artichoke (pictured) create unexpected bursts of flavor. The dessert menu looks intriguing, too, especially the cheesecake with sweet-potato caramel, gooseberries and a saltine crumble.
New York City
Chef Dan Kluger’s much-anticipated solo debut is happening now after several delays. Kluger, who gained fame working for Jean-Georges Vongerichten at ABC Kitchen and ABC Cucina, is now showing off his flare for the unexpected at Loring Place. The Greenwich Village spot opens into an elevated front dining room, a semi-open kitchen, two private dining rooms and a keen awareness of the space’s past, with original beams from the 1800s being used as tables and bars. The vegetable-forward small plates (like cauliflower with lemon jam), wood-burning grill dishes (you had us at lamb chops) and housemade pasta are poised to celebrate the city’s mix of culinary cultures.