Ralph Pagano To Open Alba at Sole on the Ocean
|All photos by Laine Doss|
|Ralph Pagano and Ron Kerr -- It's good to be king.|
But a gambling man can never turn down a good bet. And, according to Pagano, his new gig at Sole on the Ocean in Sunny Isles looks like a sure thing. Pagano will serve as both executive chef of the resort's restaurant, Alba, and as director of food and beverage for the entire property. Ron Kerr, owner of Bite Gastrotruck and chef at Georgie's Alibi in Wilton Manors, has been tapped as special events director (Kerr will remain at Georgie's Alibi, for those of you who are addicted to their award-winning burgers). Alba is currently going through a renovation and is expected to open fall of 2012 (in time for stone crab season, according to Pagano).
Pagano spoke to Short Order about his plans for the resort, his upcoming hosting gig on Lifetime television (that's right, Lifetime ... for women!), and why he left the ponies to fend for themselves at Gulfstream.
"I've heard it so many times. Why aren't there more restaurants on the water in Miami Beach?" Pagano asked as he spread out his arms, displaying the oceanfront space which will soon be Alba, his 120-seat Italian seafood concept. "I'm going to have fresh local seafood coming in to the restaurant ... even if I have to take a boat out to meet it."
Pagano said he was inspired to serve fresh seafood from his trips to the Mediterranean: "They don't overwork the fish. A little olive oil, a little lemon. Done. That's what I want to bring to Alba."
Oh, and let's not forget the gnudi bar at Alba. "I've always wanted to open a gnudi bar," Pagano quips. "Somehow I don't think the name would fly here, but we'll have a gnudi bar. You can dress your gnudi any way you like to order -- lobster, roasted corn, truffles ..."
In addition to Alba, Pagano has some mighty fine plans for the property, including the outdoor Mare Beach Club, complete with rum bar -- "We'll serve 40 different mojitos" -- and a rolling bar cart that will serve custom cocktails to your room. "Around happy hour, a bartender will go door to door. He'll make you a cocktail, then go on his way."