Welcome the Design District to the cool-kids food hall club.
The St. Roch Market has announced the first three of 12 restaurants coming to this modern (and upscale) interpretation of a food court that’s popping up all over Miami. And as the owners promised when they announced St. Roch Market in April, locally known chefs and restaurants will be what sets apart this New Orleans-based concept from the other mushrooming food halls in Miami.
St. Roch Market will be a place for chefs to try out a new concept on a small scale before launching a stand-alone restaurant.
“Our whole concept is, ‘This is the guy you should know about,’ ” founder Will Donaldson said. “We’re asking, ‘Who’s out there doing something special we could give a home to?'”
The first name coming to the Design District’s hall is a dog whistle for lovers of dining out in Miami: Fernando Chang, who helped develop kosher sushi at 26 Sushi & Tapas in Surfside before a fallout with his partner. Chang, who is Peruvian Chinese, will open Itame in St. Roch, where the cuisine will range from classic Japanese nigiri and sashimi to specialty maki with a nod to his Peruvian heritage, with touches of aji amarillo and guava.
Chang recently started a nisei pop-up dinner series at the rebranded B Bistro and Bakery that proved a hit among diners.
Miami-born Andrew Zarzosa, who studied at one of the world’s best restaurants, Chicago’s Alinea, before cooking in Dubai, Jakarta, Malaysia and the Phillipines, will open the border-busting Yuzu. The plan is to use Miami’s local ingredients in twists on the cuisines Zarzosa has learned along the way.
Think ramen bowls with roasted pork belly, fried rice with mojo-braised pork, espresso-poached eggs and mustard sambal hot sauce. Foie gras dumplings with charred papaya, and “sticky” crispy squid with Vietnamese nuoc cham dipping sauces.
“Andrew has a great travelogue story,” Donaldson said. “All of his creations tell the story of his past.”
Yet to be named is an Israeli-influenced restaurant from Yaniv Cohen, a private chef and consultant who has worked with celebrities such as Sara Jessica Parker and David Bowie. In his blog, “The Spice Detective,” he explores his Israeli-Middle Eastern culture which will likely show up in his new restaurant.
A hummus bar is a sure bet, St. Roch representatives say, with topping from basic parsley-pesto and hard-boiled egg to fire-roasted pepper ratatouille and turmeric-scented mushrooms.
“Israeli food is under-sung but coming up,” Donaldson said. “And Yaniv has a great take on it.”