Some of my most memorable meals have been in San Sebastián, Spain. So I was thrilled to hear that a new restaurant called Zeru
opened at 1395 Brickell Avenue, located in the AKA hotel. Zeru
is an authentic Spanish restaurant that focuses on Basque and Mediterranean cuisine. The family that created this restaurant was Spanish but were forced to leave their country. They settled in Mexico City and eventually grew to open up two crowd-pleasing establishments there. Many say it has the finest Spanish cuisine in Mexico, using hot coal grilling, and a beautiful and simple creation of wood, smoke, and flame. They have now opened their first location in the United States in the heart of Brickell. The name Zeru translates to heaven or sky, and the décor transports you into a beautiful atmosphere.
I was impressed immediately with the bright contemporary dining room, over 5,400 square feet on the ground floor of the hotel, with high ceilings, curved blue velvet chairs, and white tablecloths (a rarity these days). The space is surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows, herringbone wood floors, and a large chic bar that overlooks the open kitchen, and there is a lot of rich wood, unique artwork, and greenery. The plan is to add an outdoor space down the road.
Everything on the menu looked tempting. After an amuse bouche from the chef, it begins with a variety of pintxos. We loved the Pata Negra and parmesan croquettes, topped off with freshly sliced Iberico ham. Then they offer appetizers from the sea and the land. The sea scallops with yuzu and ginger were in such a delectable sauce, we had to order sourdough bread to sop up the leftover dressing. The Andalusian gazpacho with watermelon and cucumber had dynamic and refreshing flavours. They do two types of paella here, a Socarrats which is a thin layer of rice with a crispier scorched bottom, or a mellow rice which is a juicer version. Our server recommended the mellow rice but we are crispy fans and went with the Alaskan king crab and saffron socarrats, and were not disappointed. From the Josper Grill, we ordered the Dover sole at $52 a pound. Our fish fed four people nicely. The giant prawns were also juicy and under a finger-licking good sauce. There is a variety of fish, seafood, and steaks done on the Josper as well. We had some patas bravas, I would prefer mine a little more crispy. The seasonal vegetables were colourful and had a nice variety.
Also noteworthy, was the friendly and attentive staff, unusual for a lot of Miami restaurants.
We ordered a wonderful Meursault from their curated list of international wines, that went beautifully with our fish and shellfish-focused dinner.
There was a varied selection of desserts and we went with the recommendation of our server. They were both outstanding, one was a manchego cheese fondant with vanilla ice cream which was heavenly. The other was an arroz con leche socarrat, also with vanilla ice cream. It was like a creamy rice pudding inside a crispy crepe, which was also a standout.
Executive chef Gabriela Guitrón has done an exemplary job using simple preparations, detailed culinary techniques, and creativity of Basque traditions to bring Miami an impressive restaurant.