Matthew Kenney gave up meat, in his home and at his award-winning restaurants, and he believes before long, so will other chefs.
“It’s going to be as passé as smoking,” he said, catching himself, remembering he resides in ‘Merica. “OK, that’s kind of a big statement.”
But Kenney’s cuisine is just as big a statement — and he’s doubling down on it in South Florida.
Kenney, twice nominated for James Beard Awards during his meat-eating days before opening the ground-breaking Plant Food and Wine in Wynwood, will open a second South Florida restaurant that is entirely plant-based,
The consonant-challenged plnthouse (taking the Animal out of his cuisine?) will be a breakfast- and lunch-focused café at the 1 Hotel in South Beach, set to open the second week of March. The fare will be a simplified version of his menu-bending dishes at Plant, where wholly vegan or vegetarian dishes are reimaged with familiar names.
“It’s our style of food. Everything will be vibrant but more casual than what we do at Plant,” he said. “We’re trying to celebrate the vegetables in their best form.”
Dishes like plnthouse’s lentil plate, veggie burger and passion fruit cheesecake are stunning works of art for the eyes. And, if their taste matches the dishes at Plant, which received a four-star (outstanding) Miami Herald review last year, they will be a similar treat to the palate.
Acai and noodle bowls, avocado and banana toasts will help round out a menu that Kenney says will play will in health-conscious South Beach.
“It’s part of the beachy, outdoor, sexy vibe,” he said.
It’s not just Kenney who believes there’s room for restaurant whose menus aren’t “built around big slabs of meat.” Trend-setting super chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten (executive chef of Miami Beach’s The Matador Room) is opening ABCV, a completely meatless restaurant in New York City.
“I believe this food tastes better, looks better and makes you feel better,” he said. “Eating this way makes you feel good.”