The Who: Dale Talde, a “junior celebrity chef” for his stint on Top Chef, opens his eponymous spot (his third Talde) at the Thompson Miami Beach, bringing his Filipino-American background to the menu.
The Space: There’s plenty of hip-hop swagger and gritty New York touches happening here, with weathered brick walls covered in old newspapers that have been graffiti-painted and portraits of the chef flanked by girls in bikinis. A large shipping container set in the middle of the dining room serves to divide the space and houses comfy booths. A 100-year-old carved-wood dragon oversees the bar and lounge area.
The Dishes: An Asian mélange, with influences from Thai, Korean, Chinese and Filipino street food, along with nods to American culture (see Cap’n Crunch, below). Prices are approachable, with starters $8-$17, noodles $14-$17 and mains $23-$36.
The dim sum section starts things off with “pretzel” dumplings that are pork-and-Chinese-chive pot stickers and sweet pea-stuffed samosas. There are noodle dishes like the Chow Fun with braised pork shank and pickled mustard greens, and a pad Thai that comes with the classic condiments of crushed peanuts and lime, plus crispy fried oysters and smoky hunks of Benton’s bacon. The whole-roasted branzino is a showstopper, having been cooked in a banana leaf and stuffed with turmeric-spiced tomatoes and covered in leafy herbs. Small moo-shu pancakes are provided for DIY fish tacos. The Korean fried chicken is a boneless half bird with a crunchy rice-flour breading (gluten-free!) in a pool of hot sauce and yogurt.
There’s one dessert, a Filipino halo-halo made with crushed ice, coconut milk, tapioca pearls, pineapple, mango and a sprinkle of Cap’n Crunch cereal.
The Bottom Line: Sure, it’s another opening from an out-of-town chef, but the menu is one of the most exciting (and strange) Asian mash-ups we’ve seen on these shores.