By Sophia Costabal
Question: What’s the best way to celebrate the fact that Miami is going to be getting its very own European-style food market?
Answer: By launching a three-part collaborative dinner series leading up to the grand opening; in the very location of the market-to-be!
Miami’s historic Fire Station No.2 will soon become the FIREHOUSE MRKT (1401 North Miami Avenue, Miami), featuring two restaurants, a cafe bakery, a salumeria and a dispensa (aka a tapas bar), among other things. Yes, that is a lot of Spanish inspired fare. Why? Because this passion project is the vision of the chefs behind the Spanish hit restaurant Triciclo, Javier Goya and Javier Mayor, who also happen to be opening a new restaurant, TANDEM by Triciclo, inside FIREHOUSE MRKT this September.
As a way to get Miami-ans excited and make them feel part of the development process, the team behind FIREHOUSE MRKT launched a dinner series in the unfinished Fire Station. The first dinners were held on April 7th & 8th and consisted of a 14-course raw (or semi-raw) creations, an obvious play off of the ‘rawness’ of the unfinished vibes of the venue. The events were hosted by Omar Montero of Miami’s Cantina La Veinte who will also be debuting a new taqueria in the FIREHOUSE MRKT this fall, La Santa Taqueria. The two remaining dinners, happening this summer, will be announced soon and will integrate more finished, or cooked meals, as the firehouse renovations progress. Catchy, huh?
Menu highlights: I have to be honest, when I found out that the whole meal was going to be raw and/or cold, I got a little worried. A meal must be warm and it must be filling for me to feel satisfied (fatass, I know). But as this culinary adventure in the form of 14 courses started, I knew I was in for a delicious and very satisfying treat. I could write on forever about each of the 14 courses, but, alas, I don’t want this recap to become bible-length so I will just stick to the top three menu highlights.
First up, the Grilled Prawn, served with passion fruit and trout spawns. Tangy fruit combined with salty seafood INSIDE of a passion fruit rind? Talk about an explosion of flavors. All sorts of yes! Too bad we were only served one of these little cups of pleasure. I definitely wanted more.
Another menu highlight was the Baja Shrimp Taco with Chipotle Aioli. Yes, shrimp tacos are a dime a dozen these days, but when you can make a little taco look like a work of art, it is deserving of a highlight mention. Just look how pretty. It tasted delicious too!
These Pork Belly Al Pastor Tacos, O.M.P (Oh. My. Pork). I am a sucker for fusions of flavors: sweet and spicy, sweet and sour, and, in the case of these, al pastor tacos, sweet and salty. A little pork and pineapple over the most delicious corn tortilla I’ve had in a while? I was definitely momentarily transported to Mexico City. No mames, wey!
Standout dishes: In this section I am supposed to talk about my favorite dish of the night. Just one out of 14? That’s no easy task! So I narrowed them down to my top two instead.
Two words: Causa Limeña. A typical Peruvian dish that consists of mashed potatoes stuffed with tuna, egg, and shrimp, the team at Tandem gave this traditional dish a new sushi-style twist. Yup, that’s fresh tuna topped with spicy mayonnaise, all on top of sweet potato mash. Smooth, creamy, mouth-watering, bite-sized perfection.
Lastly, eight words: Steak Tartar with Fried Quail Egg and Spawns. You are absolutely reading that correctly. Steak Tartar. A fried quail egg. And spawns (aka fish eggs; aka little balls of salty goodness). These were so good, that I buddied up to the server so that he could sneak me back some more (shhh… don’t tell!).
Are we boozing? Boozing we were! Beer, white wine, and red wine were included during the entire event. And the servers were very quick (and generous) about refilling glasses when they saw they were approaching half full.
Check this place out if you like: A culinary adventure. The “Live The Experience Series” is a very fun way to spend an evening, especially in the company of a loved one or friends. Next events will take place this summer so make sure to keep up-to-date with happenings on FIREHOUSE MRKT’s Instagram.
Sophia’s take: The 3-part dinner series is a very creative (and scrumptious) way to hype up the launch of what will surely be a fantastic addition to the culinary scene in Miami. I look forward to seeing how the series develops and gets progressively more elaborate and intricate as the firehouse is remodeled. And of course, I cannot wait to go to the FIREHOUSE MRKT and enjoy some proper meals at Triciclo and La Santa Taqueria this fall.