The man who brought four well-received fine-dining restaurants to Miami Beach is adding a fifth with an equally fine pedigree.
Upland, an offshoot of the New York City restaurant by the same name, will be restaurateur Stephen Starr’s newest contribution to South Florida’s dining scene. Three of the others, the Continental Miami, Makoto and Le Zoo, all received three-star Miami Herald reviews. He also opened Steak 954 in Fort Lauderdale and Verde in the Pérez Art Museum Miami.
Chef Justin Smillie, whom The New York Times gave two stars and named a Critic’s Pick at Upland, will lead the kitchen in Miami Beach, as well. The restaurant will open at 49 Collins Ave. in November, part of a new development in the South of Fifth neighborhood.
This is a familiar formula for Philadelphia restaurateur Starr, who owns more than 30 restaurants and spun off Philadelphia’s Continental, which celebrated 21 years.
Starr’s Makoto was the 92nd highest-grossing restaurant in the country last year, pulling in $12.4 million, according to Restaurant Business magazine. The average check price was $60 and Makoto’s first time in the Top 100.
“I’m not a fancy guy with the best palate,” Starr told the Herald after the Continental opened last year. “But I think I know what tastes good and what people want to eat.”
They clearly want Smillie’s cuisine at Upland in New York City.
The Times wrote he has a “gift for building flavor upon flavor.” The New York version of Upland is an expensive restaurant that nonetheless caters to everyone from discerning wine connoisseurs to comfort food seekers with Smillie’s Southern California-inspired cuisine. (The restaurant is named for his hometown.)