For a city that prides itself on being so Latino, it can sometimes come as a shock to learn of Latin restaurant concepts from other parts of the country making their way to the 305. However, restaurants like Sushi Samba, Mercadito, and Asia de Cuba - all originally hailing from places like New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles - have become local favorites in Miami and have brought us new perspectives on Latino cuisine. Nevertheless, all of those aforementioned cities have significant Latin American populations, so it really should come as no surprise to us that they would bring Miami interpretations of Latino cuisines that are at the same time innovative and authentically flavored. But what happens when Miami sees a Latino restaurant coming from a not-so-Latino place like Ohio? South Florida is about to see just how much sabor can come out of the Midwest when Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar, founded in Cleveland, opens in Gulfstream Park this month.
Meaning “taste” or “palate” in Spanish, Paladar has been offering Cleveland’s foodies an eclectic Pan-Latin menu since 2007 before opening a second location in Annapolis, Maryland, in 2010. While South Florida’s many Spanish-speakers will recognize the word “paladar” as meaning “palate”, inspiration for the restaurant’s name actually comes from the paladares of Cuba - small, informal restaurants that are run out of families’ homes - and the homey touches can be found throughout the restaurant space. That being said, the menu leans heavily towards Caribbean-inspired dishes such as plantain crusted crab croquetas with a sweet and crunchy mango jicama slaw and key lime mustard sauce, as well as spiced coconut milk steamed mussels with crumbled spicy chorizo. Meat selections will include an “ocho hora” (eight hour) braised short rib with a Caribbean jus served with smoky grits, and a crispy onion garnish.
Although many of the dishes at Paladar have a decidedly tropical flair to them, influences from other Latin American countries can also be found, like in a tamarind BBQ pulled pork sandwich with a tangy Salvadorian slaw, as well as a Paladar’s Blackened fish tacos stuffed with adobo-rubbed tilapia, tangy pickled onion, sweet pineapple slaw, cabbage, and cilantro adobo aïoli. Corporate Chef Robert Cabrales and Executive Chef Orlando Arroyo also make use of techniques from some of the Caribbean’s non-Latino residents, as is evidenced in a Jamaican curried shrimp simmered in a sweet and savory coconut curry sauce with chorizo sausage, plantains, bell peppers, onions, and fresh herbs served over brown rice and red beans.
In perfect tune with Miami’s culinary traditions, Paladar also offers hand-muddled mojitos to compliment any meal, as well as other specialty rum cocktails and non-rum Latin American tipples like caipirinhas and margaritas. Nevertheless, with a selection of over fifty rums featuring flavored and spiced rums, white rums, gold rums, dark rums, and aged rums, rum is definitely the drink of choice at Paladar. Diners are encouraged to sample tasting-sized pours of the various rums, or do a compare and contrast with an expertly selected rum flight.
Paladar is slated to open November 15th, 2012 at the Village at Gulstream Park. For more information, please visit www.paladarlatinkitchen.com.
Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar
801 Silks Run, Suite 1580
Hallandale Beach, FL 33009