With a bad word, this restaurant hopes to give Vietnamese food in Miami a good name.
The long-awaited permanent location for the one-time pop up restaurant Phuc Yea (pronounced FOOK) opens Wednesday in the Mimo district. After a five-year detour in which the chef Cesar Zapata and wife Aniece Meinhold opened and closed The Federal (later just The Fed) down the Biscayne Boulevard, they will finally deliver the cuisine that put them on the restaurant scene.
“As you can imagine, it’s been pretty chaotic on my side, closing one place only to open another. But… Phuc Yea is finally happening!” Meinhold wrote to the Miami Herald.
Phuc Yea opens Sept. 1 after a long dealy (Felipe Cuevas)
The couple found success when they opened Phuc Yea as a nightly pop up in side downtown’s Crown Bistro. They used the momentum from the following they garnered (and their life savings) to open a concept with an investor, The Federal, which became a runaway success in Mimo and was featured on television shows such as Bravo TV’s “Best New Restaurant” and Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.
But rising Miami rents which have been forcing other local restaurants to relocate forced the couple to look at ways streamline their cuisine. They revamped the restaurant, menu, even the name (shortening it to The Fed), and focused on clean-eating cuisine that was more in line with the couple’s ideals.
It didn’t work. The Fed closed last month. So the couple focused on Phuc Yea, which has been delayed for more than a year by permitting and construction issues.
But when it opens, it will be more of a reflection of the couple’s cuisine and original idea.
The restaurant will fuse Southwest flavors with Vietnamese, what they’re calling Viet-Cajun cuisine, with everything from sharable plates to traditioinal soups and wok creations.
The restaurant will be seafood driven, but include some of the pop up favorites, such as Mamma T’s Imperial Rolls ($9), Grilled Pork Riblets ($10), Caramel Lobster and Caja China Cola Duck ($24). A cold station will also serve oysters, poached shrimp, ceviches and salads such as the green papaya and mango, smoked beef tartare with crispy shallots and Asian pear, as well as several house rice-paper rolls.