Jean-Georges Vongerichten has finally landed in Miami, not just for the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, but with his signature restaurant at the St. Regis Bal Harbour, J&G Grill. We had a chance to ask him a few questions about his arrival in Miami, the dining scene here and his fave restaurants.
Q: Welcome to Miami. Foodies are very excited about your presence in Bal Harbour. What is the inspiration for the menu there?
A: Thank you so much! The inspiration comes from the local ingredients -- great local seafood -- Stone Crabs, Key West Pink Shrimp, Lobster, Red Snapper?.Citrus like key lime, meyer lemons, oranges. The focus is on local ingredients from local farmers.
Q. Did you feel the need to tweak your style for Miami at all? If so, how?
A: Not really. I find that my passions for chilis and peppers are shared by locals and suits their tastes very well here in Miami.
Q. What were your impressions about the Miami dining scene prior to considering opening a place here? Were you previously hesitant? You were ahead of your time in Houston, but you are right on time in Miami, don't you think?
A: It’s quite impressive what’s happened the last 8 years here. Like any sophisticated city, the culinary scene has really drawn out some great local talent as well as some from other cities. Local flavors and restaurants like Café Versailles never age. I’m excited about the future of Miami – especially what’s happening in the Design District and the forthcoming restaurants there.
Q. Any favorite restaurants in Miami?
A: Michael’s Genuine, Michy’s, Yardbird, Pubbelly.