The Who: Chef Michael Pirolo and partner Jen Chaefsky, the team behind Macchialina, have branched out in South Beach with Asian stunner Bazi.
The Space: The lobby of the storied Marlin Hotel is now a 70-seat dining room awash in reds and grays with tufted banquettes, custom-made pendant lighting and a massive gold dragon that overlooks the space. A second-floor private dining room overlooks the main dining room and can seat up to 16.
Ceremonial tea service: Available via tableside carts using locally based JoJo Tea.
The Dishes: Mix-and-match Asian-inspired. Prices are on par for South Beach with starters $12-$20 and mains $22-$58.
“We didn’t want to box ourselves in,” says Pirolo, of the diverse menu that touches on various cuisines including Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese traditions. “And we’re using French and Italian techniques, using butter in some instances to soften the sometimes harsh flavors.”
The menu touches on Cantonese specialties like scallion pancakes with three types of dipping sauces, including tobiko mousse and chile oil; bao buns stuffed with short ribs; and chow fun noodles. Japanese influences abound with the pork gyoza, edamame dumplings and duck udon flecked with swaying bonito flakes.
Two can easily make a meal of the small plates, but larger mains include the Peking duck served with pancakes and pickled melon and a 22-ounce grass-fed rib eye. Sides of veggies like asparagus come topped with cured egg yolk. Desserts include a Filipino-inspired halo halo and mango rice pudding.
The Bottom Line: There’s little trace of Macchialina at this family-style Asian spot where Peking duck and tea service are some of the highlights.