The who: Argentine super chef Francis Mallmann showcases his “open-flame” cooking techniques, inspired by South American gauchos and European migrations, at Los Fuegos, his first restaurant in the United States.
The space: An indoor-outdoor dining room nestled in the posh new Faena Hotel in Miami Beach. The cushy dining room is awash in cheetah print banquettes, blood-red leather chairs and a striking circular chandelier. If the wafting aromas of the open fire kitchen are more your thing, opt for a patio table facing the ocean close by the open kitchen with views of the hotel’s famous Damien Hirst glass-encased gold wooly mammoth nearby.
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The dishes: Rustic Argentine and Patagonian specialties refracted through a fine dining lens. There are composed salads, pasta dishes and, of course, enormous cuts of prime beef. Prices skew to the well-heeled with starters going for $14-$23 and mains $24-$48.
Dinner starts with fresh bread and salted butter, then it’s on to plates of tuna tartar with beet chips and shaved avocado or the empanadas stuffed with chopped prime filet. Other starters include a grapefruit salad and grilled octopus with smoked paprika oil. Homemade pastas are offered like the potato gnocchi with Jamon Iberico breadcrumbs and the butternut squash sorrentinos. Comforting Argentine staples like steak Milanesa are made here with prime filet along with cuts like a waygu Marucha and a rib eye. Mallmann’s signature “domino potatoes” and potato gallette are fitting sides to the hearty feast.
Desserts include flan, profiterole and dulce de leche crepes with burnt orange and mascarpone cream.
Bottom line: It’s not exactly like dining at a gaucho’s table, but the open fire kitchen will transport you to Mallmann’s version of culinary utopia.