Golden Spoon Awards
Culture Shock - Florida chefs meld unlikely combinations
Linking Asia, South America
Many of the new combinations, like Eileen Andrade’s Finka, cross the Pacific to link Asia with the southern Americas, no need to stop in San Francisco or New York. The two sides of the Pacific Rim are old, if distant, neighbors: Chinese and Japanese immigrants brought their cooking to South America long ago, and aren’t sushi and ceviche close cousins? Nobu Matsuhisa and the SushiSamba chain each saw the connection long ago.
Maemi, Sarasota; Komoon Thai Sushi & Ceviche, Naples/Bonita Springs: Maemi sushi bar serves specialties of Japan and Peru — and their beers, Sapporo and Cusquena. Komoon Thai Sushi & Ceviche in Naples and Bonita Springs goes one better, adding Thai stir-fries and curries to saltados and teriyakis. Komoon may be the only Asian restaurant in Florida with flamenco nights.
Bazaar, Miami: The Latin-Asian bridge connection reaches to Spain as well at Bazaar by celebrity chef Jose Andres. His restaurant shares the hotel’s first floor with an exceptional sushi bar, yet Bazaar has its own nigiri rolls, Hamachi and a special section of Singapore street food. Iberico ham sliders, too.
Other Transoceanic Connections
Red Ginger, Miami: South Beach’s hip Red Ginger combines all the robata, izakaya, sushi and ramen you’d expect in a sleek Asian bar with something you don’t: A whiskey bar (with many bottles of fine Whiskey that Japan has made in the last century).
Barbasian, Pensacola: The food truck ties Korean and Southern barbecuing with egg rolls and sassy sauce.
Tako Cheena, Orlando: Tako Cheena fills Mexican empanadas, burritos and tacos with the likes of tom yum shrimp, panko-crusted cod and Thai peanut chicken.