Hotel Astor, the Art Deco gem at 956 Washington Ave. in South Beach was the place to be on Nov. 27. More than 800 guests stopped by to celebrate the official grand opening of the hotel’s newest restaurant, dei Frescobaldi Miami Beach.
Attendees enjoyed picture-perfect weather, free-flowing cocktails and delicacies including Levoni salami and prosciutto, Spiedini de polpette (meatball skewers), Risotto (with red wine and parmesan) and Italian Panettone with mascarpone sauce.
“We were expecting 600 guests; we reached 700 by 10 p.m. and stopped counting,” said restaurant co-owner Alessio Limatola, tired yet happy the following afternoon.
Originally from Naples, Italy, Limatola, 31, is a restaurateur and former food and wine journalist (La Stampa, Torino). Co-owner is Piero Benini, 53, son of Maria Frescobaldi, of the famed Frescobaldi family (prestigious wine and olive oil producers in Tuscany).
The restaurant, which had a soft opening in August, serves contemporary Italian cuisine, made in-house by four chefs from four regions of Italy. Executive chef is Marco De Simone. Also available: Laudemio from Frescobaldi olive oil ($50 per half liter) and an extensive selection of exclusive Italian wines, including Masseto (a $1,000 merlot) and Ornellaia, a cabernet blend available only in magnum and double magnum sizes.
“Our goal was to create a place that is elegant, yet comfortable, like you are in someone’s villa,” explains Benini.
Dei Frescobaldi current serves breakfast for hotel guests and dinner nightly from 5 pm. A Sunday brunch is in the works before year’s end. For reservations, call 305-674-4561 or visit www.miamibeach.deifrescobaldi.com.
MOCA MYSTERIES UNCOVERED
Art and intrigue prevailed at the Museum of Contemporary Arts’ sixth annual Mystery Dates fundraiser, held Nov. 17.
More than 350 patrons met at MOCA for a cocktail party and silent auction. It was there that they received directions to one of 13 private residences where they would then head to for dinner. VIPs included actor Christian Slater (who is engaged to Brittany Lopez, MOCA corporate development and special events manager).
Participating hosts (who graciously provided dinner for their guests) included artist George Sanchez Calderone (the dinner took place in his Miami studio); Lizzie Dascal (served a vegan meal at her Murano apartment). Katheryn and Dan Mikesell provided a home-cooked spread with 15 dishes; Dale and Richard Newberg had gospel singer Maryell Epps perform; Barbara Herzberg served Joe’s Stone Crabs at her Fisher Island apartment. Mike Margulies’ dinner was held in the Margulies Warehouse. His father, Marty, made a surprise visit and provided an hour and a half tour of the collection – and my personal favorite (the dinner I attended) at the home of Nina Johnson-Milewski (owner/director of Gallery Diet, a contemporary art gallery in Wynwood) and her husband, Daniel Milewski, an artist and owner of Lester’s, also in Wynwood. The meal (catered by Lyon + Lyon, followed by Real Sorbet by Nick and Tessa Mencia) was held in the backyard of their 1939 Miami bungalow, filled with antiques, mid-century modern pieces and works by various artists represented by Gallery Diet. The home was featured recently in the New York Times “Great Homes and Destinations”. Guests included Elle Décor’s editor, Vicky Lowry, and publisher Barbara Friedman.