Rendering of inside of restaurant Chef Cindy Hutson to open new restaurant in downtown Miami

Chef Cindy Hutson
Chef Cindy Hutson
Chef Cindy Hutson

On Monday, February 29,

One of South Florida’s most celebrated chefs and restaurateurs, Cindy Hutson, along with partner Delius Shirley were scheduled to open their highly anticipated contemporary restaurant, Zest, in downtown Miami’s Southeast Financial Center, 200 S. Biscayne Blvd.

A refresh of Hutson’s iconic “Cuisine of the Sun,” Zest is open for lunch and dinner, and will offer a modern interpretation of her ethnically diverse and seasonally driven island fare.

Zest marks the first South Florida expansion for Hutson and Shirley since the dynamic duo opened their esteemed Ortanique on the Mile in Coral Gables more than 17 years ago.

“Ortanique has successfully maintained its charm and heritage by consistently providing our customers with a gastronomic journey through ethnically spiced cuisine,” Hutson said. “With Zest, we are excited to expand upon that legacy with new creations and ideas, and branch out into the emerging metropolitan neighborhood of downtown Miami.”

Following a trend of South Florida originated and inspired concepts drawn to Southeast Financial Center, Zest joins a complementing tenancy within the iconic Miami building’s plaza which was recently upgraded with granite pedestrian walkways, strategic seating areas, and an enhanced park setting.

Cooking alongside Hutson will be Chef de Cuisine Mike Fischetti, who has helmed the kitchen at several Ortanique locations over the past decade.

Featured menu items include appetizers such as “Peppa” Shrimp Cocktail with cane vinegar, cho-cho, carrot and pickled onion guacamole and plantain chips ($18); Surf ‘n’ Turf Ravioli with oxtail and lobster, cream corn velouté and truffle oxtail jus ($22), and Root Beer Braised Heritage Pork Belly with vanilla bourbon scented boniato foam and a micro green salad ($15). From the hearth, standout starters include Cast Iron Charred Calamari with grilled lemon, blistered Shishito peppers and preserved orange glaze ($15); and the 50/50 Big Ass Meatball with ground lamb and beef, spiced tomato marinara and goat cheese ricotta ($14).

Entrée highlights include Curried Octopus with golden raisin pilau, tomatoes and east Indian curry sauce ($26); Niman Ranch Pork Tomahawk Chop with yucca cake, sautéed escarole and passionfruit chimichurri ($38); Conch Scampi with shallots, garlic, cherry tomatoes, red and yellow peppers and fresh picked thyme tossed with linguine pasta ($24); Certified Angus Beef Sirloin Steak with king crab and sweet pea risotto, and cherry bourbon demi-glaze ($42), and Lobster Rundown with shredded cassava cake and Scotch bonnet coconut rundown sauce ($38).

The beverage program at Zest is gearing up to be one of downtown Miami’s most exciting places to imbibe with an indoor-outdoor, state-of-the-art bar and connecting lounge area. The innovative drink menu will reflect Hutson’s cosmopolitan cuisine, featuring fresh juices, house made syrups, infusions and fresh picked garnishes. A craft beer selection will be available on tap while an on-site humidor will house a variety of fine cigars for guests to enjoy on the terrace.

A carefully curated wine list is complete with champagne, vintage ports and interesting domestic and imported red, white and rosé selections. A special “Bar Bites” menu will be served daily from 3 p.m. until close and will be discounted for Happy Hour. Wine, cocktail and even beer pairings will also accompany Hutson’s exclusive bar menu.

As with food and beverage, Zest’s modern décor is sure to exceed the expectations of Hutson’s loyal fans and attract new ones alike. The 3,500-square-foot restaurant will feature a centralized, open concept kitchen, as well as al fresco dining for up to 75 people. Living green walls will enhance the refreshing atmosphere while reflecting Hutson’s commitment to providing diners with the freshest, most natural ingredients. A private dining room secluded behind a glass wine cellar will cater to groups of up to 30 people.

Scheduled to open in March, Zest MRKT, helmed by Chef de Cuisine Barbara Scott, will share Zest’s open kitchen. Open weekdays for breakfast and lunch, the menu will offer healthy “grab-and-go” gourmet delights including sandwiches, soups, salads, fresh juices, coffee and more.

Additionally, Zest MRKT will quickly be celebrated for their creatively prepared Shawarma, which will offer worldly flavor profiles that will rotate weekly. Zest MRKT is currently open as a temporary pop-up in the lobby of the Southeast Financial Center until it makes its permanent move.

Zest and Zest MRKT are located in the Southeast Financial Center at 200 S. Biscayne Blvd. in downtown Miami. Zest is open for lunch Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and for dinner Monday through Wednesday, from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Thursday through Saturday, from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Scheduled to launch in March, Zest will offer a champagne Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Zest MRKT will be open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Zest MRKT’s coffee window will be open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Zest’s bar and lounge hours are Monday through Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Thursday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; and Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. “Bar Bites” are available daily from 3 p.m. until close; Happy Hour is Monday through Friday from 3  to 7 p.m., and late night Happy Hour takes place on Saturday from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

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