Chef José Mendín, who grew to prominence as the face of Miami’s acclaimed Pubbelly Boys, has opened Habitat, his highly anticipated new restaurant at 1 Hotel South Beach. Mendín and partners Sergio Navarro, and Maximiliano Silva, of the newly formed Food Comma Hospitality Group, have created a beautiful signature restaurant that fuses culinary creativity with comfortable dining. Open for a short time, Habitat is already one of the hottest reservations in Miami, notable for its menu that reflects Mendin’s culinary roots and training as well as the chef’s love of big flavors. Spanish pastry chef Patricio Larrea is part of the talented international team brought on board for this ambitious venture along with mixologist Pedro Sanchez.
Created after extensive global research, the restaurant forges new territory for the innovative team that created the successful Pubbelly brand. Using fresh, local ingredients and masterful technique Habitat’s menu respects the elements – fire, earth, air and water – and honors simplicity.
“There’s a story behind every dish,” claims Mendín, “From the small town in Asturias where we were captivated by their tapas tradition and incorporated the flavors into a dish or two to our own local cafecitos; the menu draws from all of my culinary influences and has a personality all of its own. “
“We are excited to work with an all-star culinary and operations team who has such a strong stake in the Miami market. At 1 Hotels, we seek to align ourselves with organizations/companies that benefit the community at large so this just seemed like a natural fit for us,” said Matt Erickson, President of Food & Beverage, SH Group.
Divided into simple categories: Sea, Land, and Fire, most of the menu is delivered from the robata grill or the raw bar. In this case, raw options extend far beyond the traditional perception of a raw bar. In addition to Florida stone crabs, Maine lobster, oysters and Hamachi aquachile, there is Heirloom Beet Tartare served with endives, crème fraîche, pistachio and raspberry; Wahoo “Esqueixada” – a take on a traditional Catalonian dish with green olives, grated tomato and white soy as well as Cobia Sashimi, misted with brown butter soy, samphire, lime and “sea water.” From the sea we also get cooked dishes like yellowtail snapper “chicharron;” seafood rice with shrimp and mussels, as well as stone crab fettucine with miso citrus butter, jalapeno and bok choy leaf.
Land promises dishes that are both plant and animal based – from Local Kale Tempura with kimchee mayonnaise to Wagyu Milanesa Cruda with black soy, pickled romaine and tomatoes to Baked Burrata served in a pumpkin romesco, almond brown butter and country toast. Fire dishes are from the open fire grill and run the gamut from Spanish Octopus with miso rouge, babaganoush and and pinenuts to Maitake Mushrooms with yuzu truffle and Parmesan to Filet Mignon with a tobanjan glaze and sesame.
As a team, FCHG Corporate Pastry Chef Maria Orantes and Pastry Chef Patricio Larrea, a protégé of world-renowned Oriol Balaguer, are delivering the sweet side of Habitat with an ambitious dessert menu. Dishes that include the light and airy Barba-Papa made with pineapple, coconut, ginger and fennel; Choco Bread Pudding made with sweet potato “pie” custard, caramelized miso, chai tea ice cream and black sesame; and Chocolate S’mores with warm chocolate fondant, marshmallow, graham cracker ice cream and hazelnut pralines.La Confiteria – a mobile dessert display that traverses the dining room – pays homage to the Spanish version of a sweet shop, boasting petit fours service with selections such as Pecan Praline Bonbons, Mint Chocolate and Orange Liquor Truffles, Raspberry Coated Marshmallows and Crispy Nut Cookies. Staying true to its Miami roots, the restaurant also offers a Cafecito Service as well as a vintage stationed coffee truck on the patio with walk-up window service.
Mixologist Pedro Sanchez is overseeing the bar program which features inventive craft cocktails that place an emphasis on enjoyment and approachability with clever drinks like The Fifth Element – Avion Blanco tequila with pineapple, cilantro, avocado, agave, lime, egg white and rimmed with citrus sea salt. A comprehensive wine list offers a variety of Old and New World vintages with a nice selection of white, red and bubbly by the glass as well as local craft beers both on tap and bottled.
Habitat’s design reflects both FCHG and 1 Hotels’ commitment to sustainability with all-natural materials and craftsmanship. The 200-seat restaurant feels spacious and unpretentious; with several separate, more intimate dining areas carved out, soaring ceilings and hues of soft blues and browns that evoke the sea with hand-dyed textiles, natural woods, stone and warm lighting. The patio, which seats 60, offers al fresco dining under a canopy of trees. A second-floor lounge offers drinks, light bites and music and its also the location for special events.
Habitat is located at 1 Hotel South Beach, 2395 Collins Avenue on Miami Beach. Lunch is served Monday through Friday from noon – 4PM. Happy Hour is offered daily from 4PM to 7 PM. Dinner served daily from 6PM – 11:30PM and weekend brunch from noon to 4PM. Reservations are recommended and are available via Opentable.
Telephone: (305) 604-6700; www.habitatmb.com.
For more information on Food Comma Hospitality Group, please visit www.foodcommahg.com.