Plant Food and Wine, Miami
Located in the Wynwood Arts District at 105 NE 24th street, Plant Food and Wine has been open for a year now. I’ve wanted to go there since the beginning, but try convincing family or friends to go for a vegan meal! Plant Food and Wine features cutting edge, plant-based cuisine inspired by local ingredients and innovative techniques using seasonal produce and raw food dishes by Executive Chef Mathew Kenney.
Plant Food and Wine, Miami 1
Located on a quiet street on the east side of the railroad tracks that divides Edgewater and Wynwood. There is no sign out front, just a brown fence around a parking lot. Walk inside and you can’t believe how beautiful this place is. Try going on a warm night and eat outside in this “secret garden” facing palm trees, a reflecting pool, and a cool lounge. The restaurant is sparsely decorated in an airy contemporary way with high ceilings, an open kitchen and a marble-topped bar. There’s an industrial feel to the space.

The restaurant has been receiving accolades since it opened including a 4-star rating in the Miami Herald and Best New Restaurant in Miami Magazine in 2016. People say you don’t have to be a vegan to love Plant Food and Wine. I disagree. I think for vegans it is amazing and creative, with good service and a stunning garden. But you better be a rich vegan, because this place doesn’t come cheap. For the rest of us carnivores it is quite a struggle. We had two children at our table who couldn’t find anything to their liking except olives and my mother said she was going to eat something when she got home. And she normally eats everything. The menu features salads, starters, mains and desserts.

The restaurant has an emphasis on living foods, featuring vibrant, mostly organic cuisine inspired by South Florida. The food is either completely raw or dehydrated, fermented, smoked or cooked sous vide. We only had one dish served warm, which happened to be my favourite dish of the evening. It was a banana leaf tamale, made of sweet corn, mushroom cacao mole, aji amarillo and avocado. We tried the smashed avocado, served with a tasty sunflower chia seed crisp (I was the only one who enjoyed it) with cilantro, radish, and lemon. Radishes were featured prominently and almost every dish seemed to contain avocado in some form or another. The watermelon poke was not touched as it tasted to soggy. It was removed from our bill. The Thai lettuce wraps are wrapped in kale and stuffed with a citrus almond paste, red cabbage, carrots, red pepper, daikon and herbs (all raw), served thank goodness, with a tamarind sauce. The cauliflower is served sous vide and part raw, in a pomegranate bbq, dill yogurt sauce. It was served at room temperature. It was feh. The hearts of palm was another disappointment, served raw, with rounds of avocado in a leche de Tigre, and shiso, with radishes. The kimchi dumplings made with a cilantro coconut wrapper and stuffed with some type of nut imitation cheese and a ginger foam on top was an interesting dish. Very impressive to think up these items. The zucchini lasagna was a gorgeous presentation, done with heirloom tomatoes, in a spicy marinara, and a ricotta made from macadamia nuts with a basil mint pesto. This was my second favourite dish, but since I happen to love lasagna, real lasagna that is, it just didn’t have the same mouth feel with raw sliced zucchini. At least use cooked zucchini. But there are no stoves or ovens in the kitchen, only the sous vide cooker for certain vegetables (hot water bagged food cooked to 155 degrees). An effort is made to infuse dishes with “medicinal” properties like preserving enzymes by not cooking them. But this left me unsatisfied.

He offers health and wellness through his food, in a luxurious environment. For many Kenny is a raw food guru. Scott Winegard is his national director. The original restaurant is in California and he also has other locations and culinary schools. The chef de cuisine is Horacio Rivadero, formally of my beloved and missed District.

But I do want to emphasize that this restaurant really showcases inventive dishes that are beyond creative and gorgeous. Each plate is so artistic and beautiful.

The wines are organic, there are fresh fruit juices and detox drinks as well as seasonal cocktails. We enjoyed the fresh watermelon, mint and soda drink, the strawberry and soda and the ginger, basil and soda. For dessert, we had the chocolate plate, the mousse made with avocado, and some truffles. The other dessert was a strawberry hibiscus cheesecake, with lime curd, vanilla shortbread, pistachio and sorrel. It wasn’t bad for not having any eggs or cheese.

It is simply amazing what the kitchen can do with fruits, vegetables, nuts, seed, flowers and seaweed. Is it for everyone? No, but you will get an unexpected array of foods you never thought possible made with masterpiece presentations in a tranquil oasis.

The food may be more sophisticated here but I prefer the food by David Lee at Planta in Toronto. Come with an open mind and open pocket book. Valet parking is provided for $7.

Happy dining,

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