When Hernan Stutzer says the food at Del Sur Gourmet Market, Bakery and Artisan Eats is just like Mom makes, he’s not kidding. His mother, Cristina Lamendola, and his Portuguese mother-in-law, Lily Holms, run the kitchen of the stylish Argentine place he co-owns in a strip mall on South Dixie Highway.
It opened several months ago as a market, but customers soon persuaded the owners to add a sit-down restaurant. There’s still fig jam, yerba mate and volcanic salts for sale, but the focus is on cooked food and a deli counter where quiche, empanadas and pastries are on display along with a wall of wine bottles from Argentina, Chile, Italy and Spain.
Stutzer came to Miami with his family when the Argentine economy imploded in the early ’90s, and studied criminology at Florida International University while working at Graziano’s Argentine restaurant. After landing a government job, he enrolled at the Cordon Bleu in Miramar to follow his passion, where he met Alberto Llano. The two men and Stutzer’s old friend Marcello Malvicino partnered to showcase the Euro-centric cuisine of South America at Del Sur (“of the south”).
Keeping it in the family, cousins of the partners wait tables and pour prosecco. Start with boquerones (vinegar-marinated anchovy fillets) dressed in olive oil, herbs and crushed pepper flakes or burrata and speck splattered with pesto.
Falling-off-the-bone lamb shank is planked on a pool of creamy polenta in a barolo wine reduction, and slow-cooked short ribs come over risotto infused with white truffle oil.
There’s also artichoke, ricotta and lemon ravioli, saffron linguine and crispy-soft grilled Provoleta cheese with tomato confit. Dulce de leche cheesecake hits the sweet spot.
Linda Bladholm is a Miami food writer and personal chef who blogs at FoodIndiaCook.com.