Many people ask why chefs feel compelled to open multiple restaurants. Isn't one location work enough? Besides the financial imperative to expand, some chefs have a culinary vision that can be realized only if they have the opportunity to express themselves in a variety of ways. Robbin Haas is such a chef, and he has been given his creative outlets by the Noble House chain of luxury resorts. Installing a team of talented chefs and instilling them with his creative, sun-drenched vision of what fine regional dining should be, Haas has created some of the most interesting hotel restaurants in the country, three of which we welcome this month to the Beard House.
Haas established himself as a trendsetting chef at nationally acclaimed Miami restaurants like Bang and The Colony Bistro. He gained hotel experience at the luxurious Turnberry Isle Resort. His last solo venture, Red Square, made it to John Mariani's list in Esquire of the best new restaurants of 1998. He has also been selected by Food & Wine as one of the top ten "Best New Chefs" in the country.
Haas's first project for the Noble House group was Baleen in Miami's Grove Isle Club & Resort, where chef Jeffrey Nimer now mans the stoves. Nimer worked with many of South Florida's best-known chefs, including Douglas Rodriguez (who moved on to New York's Patria and is now working on Único), Mark Militello, Norman Van Aken, and Haas. After attending Johnson & Wales University in Miami, Nimer worked at Martha's Tropical Grille in Hollywood, Florida, and then at Lure in South Beach. From Lure, he landed a spot on the opening team of Blue Door in the Delano hotel. It was there that Haas tapped him for the Baleen brigade. Writing in Gourmet, David Rosengarten called Baleen a "wonderful restaurant...focusing on intrinsic ingredient quality and perfect execution." Miami Herald dining critic Viviana Carballo characterized Baleen as a "magical setting for extraordinary cuisine." And the accolades are still rolling in.
Haas and Tim McLean have received similar praise across the country for their work at Pooch's in the Portofino Hotel & Yacht Club in Redondo Beach, California. "I had a terrific meal at Pooch's," wrote Daily Breeze restaurant critic Merrill Shindler. "In fact, I had one of the best meals I've had in the South Bay in awhile." Despite the name, which is the nickname of one of the property's owners, the theme is Italian seafood, and in Shindler's words, it's "the sort of food that's no big deal-if you happen to live on the Adriatic."
Back in Florida, Adam Votaw was recently named executive chef of the Relais & Châteaux-affiliated Little Palm Island. Votaw's five-star pedigree includes stints at the Boca Raton Resort & Club, The Point in Saranac Lake, New York, and the Ocean Grand Hotel in Palm Beach. He apprenticed for three years with the Roux brothers at the Michelin three-star Le Gavroche in England. And his impact has already been felt in the exquisite food served at this exclusive resort.
Please join us at our humble House for this Noble House event.
Seasonal Hors d'Oeuvre
Maine Shrimp and Celery Root Bisque
Crab and Risotto Cake
Florida Black Grouper with Warm Salad of Apples and Sweet-and-Sour Apple Cider Vinaigrette
Seared Sand Dabs with Roasted Tomatoes, Fennel, Olives, and Beets
Lobster and Monkfish with Beluga Lentils, Blood Sausage, and Foie Gras Emulsion
Pistachio Financier with Key Lime Curd