The District Serves the Best Lechón in Buena Vista
For Miami, Nuevo Latino cuisine is a comfort food of sorts. Chefs take the ingredients we know -- the stuff we grew up on -- and cook them in ways that would make our mamas proud. Once mashed into our baby food, malanga is now deep-fried, shaped into shells, and piled with togarashi and raw tuna. Yuca swims in truffle honey, ceviche is cooled by citrus sorbet, and black trumpet mushrooms are made into chimichurri. What's worn becomes new again, like a re-framed family photograph.
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The District is the latest Miami restaurant to peddle these dishes, though it also identifies with contemporary pan-American cuisine. And indeed, at this Buena Vista newcomer, you can taste a bit of California. Brussels sprouts are shredded, glazed with a fig balsamic vinegar, and finished with dried cranberries and toasted pinenuts. It is lovely, balanced with a sweet-and-sour smack that tickles the tongue.
But more memorable is the escabeche that tops other dishes. Sliced tomatoes and onions brighten thick slabs of pan-seared fish and slow-roasted pork. It's like a home cook's signature mojo -- only fancier and crowning a $20 plate.
Horacio Rivadero is the man behind this fusion. He once split his time between two kitchens -- working as the executive chef for the Dining Room and OLA at the Sanctuary Hotel. At the latter, he served under Doug Rodriguez, who's known as the father of Nuevo Latino cuisine. Then, last summer, the Dining Room closed and, shortly thereafter, Rivadero left OLA. He resurfaced at this new restaurant in October.
Here, Rodriguez's Nuevo Latino cuisine is tangled with Rivadero's international approach, which toys with the likes of farro, pickles, and quail eggs.