Stop to smell this South Beach rose in the Stiles Hotel

Primrose Miami Beach photo by Linda Bladholm for the Miami Herald.

Primrose is a 4-month-old restaurant on the lower level of the recently renovated Stiles Hotel with a few “French colony” dishes that draw influences from Southeast Asia.

There is red snapper with coconut rice and yellow curry broth, and crispy confit chicken wings with green papaya salad and chile jam. Primose also serves traditional French fromage and charcuterie plates. Dine al fresco poolside or inside the elegant restaurant or at its upstairs bar.

Executive chef Evan Percoco is from Long Island, New York, and started working as a dishwasher and bus boy at a local restaurant when he was 16 and later went to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. While in culinary school, he also worked at a country club, where he was mentored by a German chef. 

After graduation, Percoco moved to Washington, D.C., and worked at the Mayflower Hotel, starting as a line cook and becoming executive sous chef. He left after five years to work as a private chef for a Saudi sheik, then took a year off to live in Florence and staged at trattorias. Next, he worked at the Loews Hard Rock Hotel in Orlando, where he led cooking classes for rock stars.

Percoco came to Miami to open Primrose for Trust Hospitality; Daniel Healey is his chef de cuisine, and Colombian-American Jaime Escobar is general manager.

The restaurant is named after the original 1937 hotel, the Primrose-Nash. Now called the Stiles, the hotel’s name honors John Stiles Collins, one of the first developers of Miami Beach who built what in 1913 was the world’s longest wooden bridge, connecting mainland Miami to the barrier island, then a mangrove swamp.

Petite plates include olives and feta in pistachio oil; country pate and saucisson with jam, Dijon pickles and bread; and large Gulf shrimp in cilantro, cinnamon, garlic, green onion and basil romesco with lime and fish sauce.

A poached egg is battered in bread crumbs and fried and plated with big chunks of house cured bacon with pickled shallots and Roquefort in lentil sherry emulsion. Sugarcane pork butt comes with nasi goreng (fried rice) and star anise consommé. But the best-seller is the wagyu beef burger topped with a fried egg on a brioche bun. 

Desserts change daily, but it was recently a lemon curd tart and mango mousse with chocolate ganache. This is definitely a hidden rose. 

Linda Bladholm is a Miami-based food writer.