Quietly, a new focal point for foodies and cocktail geeks has emerged in Wynwood.
In a neighborhood where creativity rules, Bloom will delight with its innovative concept. The indoor/outdoor restaurant and cocktail bar located at 2751 N. Miami Ave. introduces the elevation of Asian and Latin American street food with opening night tentatively scheduled to coincide with Art Walk, a monthly celebration of the vibrant arts community, on Saturday, July 14.
The co-owner’s nostalgia for their roots in Guatemala City inspired their distinctive vision for the addition to Miami’s culinary scene. Both Jose Miguel Sarti and Sebastian Stahl, now Miami-based, were always enamored with the simple execution and complex taste of local street food. With so many food trucks roaming the streets in Miami, it’s clear that there’s an appetite for spicy to savory dishes that are meant to be mixed and matched on the fly.
Make no mistake, Bloom is not a food truck. To satisfy Miami’s cravings for effortless dining and drinking, Sarti and Stahl knew that they would have to subvert the status quo to provide more of an experience.
The cocktail program was designed to do just that. Chris Hudnall, formerly of Soho Beach House, suggests starting your adventure at Bloom with his “Eastern Garden.” He says you won’t find the combination of these flavors anywhere in town. With Tanqueray gin, homemade fennel syrup, arugula, fresh lemon juice, homemade Spanish bitters and rosemary, this cocktail is a dynamic complement to any of the menu’s tasty raw dishes and their Latin spices.
At first glance, the Bloom menu looks simple, but a visit will reveal redefined delicacies from the streets of Mexico to the Philippines.
“Expect a nicer presentation than street food. I’m taking what I know from fine dining and translating it to make it pop,” says Ricky Sauri, Bloom’s executive chef. “Street food can be fried and heavy. At Bloom, I mix it up with lighter dishes to not overwhelm the palate. People should be able to taste each and every ingredient on the plate.”
The Sockeye Salmon Tiradito is a multi-faceted dish featuring coban chili, tomatillo salsa and crunchy Peruvian cancha corn. The smokiness of the coban chili is what elevates the dish to the next level by elegantly incorporating a legitimate street food flavor.
Sauri built his reputation as a chef creating Japanese food for the jet set crowd at Nobu for the past decade. He recently left his post as executive chef of Nobu Atlantis in The Bahamas for Nobu in Miami Beach before he found Bloom. The owners, along with their veteran operations consultant Antoni Yelamos of Food Culture, knew Sauri was their man during the first interview, which sounds a lot like a “Quickfire Challenge” on the TV show Top Chef.
“Tony gave him tasteless chicken and he quickly turned it into this amazing rendition of moo shoo chicken in hard tacos with an Asian plum sauce,” says Stahl. “Since that day, Ricky’s challenged himself to blend his Asian expertise with a Latin sensibility. You’ll see that across the board.”
Take the Braised Oxtail Tamale. In Bloom’s variation of the classic, a coconut milk rice cake fills the plantain leaves and is finished with a satisfying portion of Jamaican-style braised oxtail on top. It’s a Thai twist on what’s traditionally found in Guatemala and Venezuela, where the protein is always stuffed inside the leaves making for a soggy meal at times.
To balance the robust spices, pair it with Hudnall’s “Ring of Fire,” a vodka-based cocktail with Ketel One, fresh lychees, homemade honey syrup, fresh lemon juice, and two mild Fresno chili pepper slices.
The journey continues as you make your way through hot dishes like the Pork Belly Kakuni, which is one of the chef’s favorites. Sauri cooks the pork for what seems like forever until it’s very tender and he can cure it. Then, he crisps it up on the outside, adds a duck demi sauce, a prune sauce for tanginess, and a Peruvian pepper.
The “Fortaleza Mule” is a good accompaniment to the Kakuni. This cocktail is a refreshing blend of Leblon Cachaça, fresh lime juice, homemade ginger syrup, a splash of soda water, and garnished with a cucumber slice. It should help you take down any of the savory options on the menu.
There are also delicious rice and noodle creations, arepas and other nibbles like the Papitas that are not to be missed. The deserts are the most playful: Shaved Ice Bombs with homemade syrups, fruit preserves, and gummi bears, and Malted Bread Pudding with corn atole sauce, crushed Whoppers, and vanilla ice cream.
Corn atole is a dense Mayan drink made out of corn and served hot. It’s so beloved (and filling) in Guatemala, many substitute it for meals. In Sarti and Stahl’s clever variation, you’ll find the bread pudding floating in the atole in a mason jar.
Located in the iconic Dorissa of Miami building, the restaurant is both modern and rustic. It seats 135 in an intimate dining room with an open kitchen and on the open terrace, which is equipped with a substantial bar to accommodate what should be a serious cocktail following.
The walls are decked with photography of flowers in bloom by Sarti. His passion aside from hospitality is capturing the details of life that people tend to overlook.
“Our goal is to encourage people to focus on the small features of a thoughtful restaurant,” Sarti says.
Sarti’s photograph of the Agua Volcano in the enchanting town of Antigua, Guatemala, sets the scene on the terrace. It’s a significant 25-foot-long image split up into six panels of wood. Sarti says this will stay up permanently, but there are plans to rotate the art inside the restaurant to feature local artists on a regular basis.
The owners are keen on supporting their neighbors. They commissioned Ashley Liemer of Noble Experiment at The Workshop in Wynwood to design the staff’s uniforms, which pay homage to Sarti and Stahl’s homeland. Subtle touches of Guatemalan fabric on the shirts and burlap on the aprons with bright pink edges are funky and fun.
“That’s what we had in mind — a fun and funky place to share what people take for granted when they live or travel in Latin America and Asia. The menu is based on the idea that you can have it any time when you’re there, but you don’t pay attention to it,” says Stahl. “We’re giving everyone else an opportunity to taste different flavors and experience them in a way that’s more sophisticated than in the streets.”