On this formidable addition to the New York Restaurant Group in Miami
Mario Carbone is writing a new chapter in Miami, so his Carbone, South Beach outpost is serving up crab-laden raw food platters. Guests can start their meals with stone crab claws or DIY stone crab sandwiches before enjoying Carbone’s famous flavorful rigatoni and veal parmesan. For dessert, pastry chef Stephanie Prida serves coconut lime chiffon cakes and other Miami-born confectionery.
This new Carbone, which opened Tuesday in the posh South of Fifth neighborhood and is home to numerous luxury condos as well as staples like Joe’s Stone Crab and Prime 112, is said to be dazzling in many ways. The restaurant on Collins Ave. 49 has a lush and ornate Ken Fulk design as well as works of art selected by Vito Schnabel. Captains in Zac Posen tuxedos are here to guide customers through the menu. Of course, guests can prepare their Caesar salad at the table and then enjoy large plates of pasta, steak and lobster fra diavolo.
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This restaurant is the first in a massive expansion of Miami for Major Food Group, the hotel company run by Carbone, Rich Torrisi, and Jeff Zalaznick. The Major Food Group, which opened the original Michelin-starred Carbone in New York in 2012 and then brought the upscale red sauce brand to Hong Kong and Las Vegas, is also working on restaurants in Miami’s Design District and Brickell.
First up in the Design District is a private members’ club with Japanese food. In this room, which will open in March, there is an omakase bar with 20 seats, which is run by two sushi chefs. In the two-story building there will also be a restaurant with 100 seats indoors and outdoors, a cigar lounge, a bar and a backgammon room.
The story goes on
The Major Food Group then plans to open a retro-style French-inspired steakhouse in Brickell this September. A two-story Italian restaurant in the Design District follows later in the fall. This space will have a relaxed, chic café atmosphere on the ground floor and elegant trattoria dining on the upper floor.
Carbone and his partners have long been fans of Miami, and such a grand opening here feels surreal to them.
“I vividly remember one of the first trips we took here together,” said Carbone of his 2012 visit to the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. “We had a great time. If you had told the kids who were drunk at La Sandwicherie back then that they would open up to First and Collins, their dream would have come true. This is as good as it gets. “
Carbone and Zalaznick both point out that they have had many trips to Miami, where they went to eat at Joe’s Stone Crab immediately after getting off a plane. When they have their own restaurant a short walk from Joes, they want to pinch themselves.
“Miami is a place where we have come most of our lives, be it for Art Basel with Vito or other events and celebrations,” says Zalaznick, who now calls Miami home. “I think Carbone’s Miami location is an icon. I’m joking all this time: if you had told me I was going to be a restaurateur years ago and wondering where I wanted my restaurant to be, I would have pointed right between Joe’s Stone Crab and Prime 112. I can’t ‘I don’t think where we are now. I would think of that as the obvious answer to where you want your restaurant to be. And for Carbone, it just feels incredibly right. “
This is not a story about New York talent darting to Miami for a while. Carbone says he sees himself here “for the foreseeable future,” while Torrisi records many things in New York. The Carbone Miami team includes veterans like Chef Jonah Resnick and superstar Louie Carbone (Mario’s cousin), who both opened Carbone in New York, Hong Kong and Las Vegas. In fact, Resnick moved from Vegas to be here. Mixologist Thomas Waugh is now in Miami too.
“We toppled an incredible squad,” said Mario Carbone. “We’re joking it’s Ocean’s 11. It’s basically one person per micro-department, everyone from management to the Somm team, captains, waiters, runners, cooks, pastry chefs, and bakers. I think there are actually 11 people we overthrew. Many of them have been with us almost day 1, so they are with us a decade ago. “
The Major Food Group will open another Carbone in Dallas later this year. The team is also looking at other cities across the country. But Miami is the one who really feels at home right now.
“I’ve been here for 10 months,” says Zalaznick. “As I began to spend more and more time here, I realized that this city is an incredible place to live and work full-time.”
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