Introducing Mezcalista, an Intimate Mezcal Lounge at Moxy South Beach
Two new dining and drinking venues debut at the newly opened Moxy South Beach developed by Lightstone. The stylish, playful, and cosmopolitan hotel that opened in February is already making waves for its exciting dining concepts from the founders of 1-800-LUCKY and Coyo Taco. Joining the already bustling Serena and Los Buenos, Como Como, a marisquería (seafood restaurant) and raw bar opens to the public today. Mezcalista, a sexy mezcal lounge opens for private events today and to the wider public in June. Both venues will round out the hotel’s dynamic and colorful dining and drinking scene.
“Following the successful debut of Serena, we’re excited to bring the creative talents of the Coyo team to Moxy South Beach,” says Mitchell Hochberg, President, Lightstone. “The marisqueria and lounge reflect what the hotel is all about, combining sophistication with a theatrical flair to create a one-of-a-kind experience for both locals and guests. There is truly nothing like either of these venues in Miami.”
Como Como, a marisquería (seafood restaurant) and raw bar channels the flavors of Puerto Escondido, Los Cabos, Acapulco, and other seaside destinations, offering an authentic new perspective on a traditional marisquería. The restaurant’s interior, by Saladino Design Studios, is a reverential space lined with stone and brick walls displaying Mesoamerican artifacts. Carved wooden doorways and wrought iron archways lead to the main dining room, where custom furnishings are crafted from leather, carved wood, and embroidered and woven fabrics. The restaurant also features outdoor dining in a lush courtyard layered with colored tilework, hanging plants, and stone gardens.
The name Como Como is a play on the Spanish words for “how I eat” — a winking reference to the high level of interactivity. “When we design a restaurant, we don’t just focus on how it looks,” says Sean Saladino, Studio and Design Director, Saladino Design Studios. “It's about how the whole experience ties into the cooking itself. How the food is created becomes part of the show, becoming one living, breathing organism for the diners.”
The centerpiece of the dramatic dining room is a striking copper-and-wrought-iron “fuego” (fire station), where diners can watch the whole fish they’ve selected being cooked over a wood-burning grill. Executive Chef Scott Linquist has created dishes that elevate traditional techniques with a theatrical dining experience. Many dishes feature whole grilled fish caught in local waters, such as Pescado a la Talla: snapper that is butterflied, grilled and painted with two marinades - green on one side and red on the other. Tikin-Xic is a Mayan preparation of the whole branzino flavored with bitter orange, habanero chiles, and achiote, cooked in banana leaves, and unwrapped, fragrant, and steaming, at the table. Tableside presentations add to the show, whether a traditional Caesar Salad (a dish born in Tijuana, Mexico) or hand-chopped Tartar de Pescado (fish of the day), tingling with spices.
A barra cruda (raw bar) sits on a monolithic, rough-cut stone in the middle of the dining room. Dishes from the barra cruda come with a Mexican twist like oysters served with a pineapple-vinegar mignonette or a picadillo made with tomatillos and cucumbers. Como Como also features traditional coastal varieties of ceviches. At the center of the bar is a spectacular “tequila tree” sculpture made of hand-blown glass spheres and copper pipes, symbolizing the distillation process that transforms the blue agave plant into tequila and mezcal. Tequila travels through this dramatically lit forest of glass and metal until it is dispensed by bartenders into creative cocktails.
“At Como Como, we’ve created an unparalleled experience in Miami,” says Alan Drummond, Partner, Coyo Group. “Fresh, local whole fish is prepared directly in front of diners from the fuego, elevating the seafood traditions of Mexico. When you combine that with the immersive design of the restaurant, it provides an environment that truly feels like you are being transported to a different place.”
Other dishes on the dinner menu include Alambre al Pastor: scallops or pork tenderloin grilled on skewers with pineapple and spring onions, a variation on Mexico City’s beloved al pastor tacos; a rotating selection of traditional Oaxacan-style mole sauces; and meat dishes, including Chuletón (ribeye steak), Filete (filet mignon), and adobo marinated rack of lamb all of them flame-grilled in the fuego and served with a variety of house-made sauces and condiments.
Vegetable dishes are roasted in the fuego’s Josper charcoal oven and served in cast-iron pans, including Esquites, roasted corn with homemade garlic aioli, morita chile, and cotija cheese; and Charcoal Oven-roasted artichokes with roasted jalapeño aioli, buttery herbed bread crumbs, and charred lemon. Many dishes are accompanied by tortillas, ground and pressed in-house and cooked on a comal, the traditional Mexican griddle.
Opening for private events today and to the wider public in June is Mezcalista, a sexy, intimate lounge featuring an impressive collection of 100 mezcals and its derivative, tequila. Space is accessed by a discreet entrance in the back of Como Como. Expert mezcaliers will be on-hand to engage with guests and explain the different floral and smoky notes. The lounge’s vibe ranges from intimate and relaxing early in the week, with mezcal connoisseurs sipping attentively, to fun and exclusive on the weekends, with performances from some of the world’s top DJs and perhaps some late-night dancing on the walnut and leather banquettes.
Saladino Design Studios designed Mezcalista as a catacomb-like space dedicated to the ancient traditions of mezcal, the revered spirit first distilled by the Pre-Hispanics centuries ago. Copper shelves hold beautiful glass bottles of mezcal and tequila. From the foyer, guests proceed past an arched doorway into a seductively lit lounge with banquettes upholstered in leather and velvet. Behind a bar topped with black Nero stone, a terracotta wall displays mezcal bottles illuminated from below. Adjacent to the lounge, a velvet-draped, stone-walled tasting room provides an intimate setting for private parties.
Award-winning mixologist Christian Rubio, whose hospitality experience ranges from Europe and Mexico to Miami, created Mezcalista’s specialty cocktails. Rubio is known for deftly combining Mexican herbs, fruits, and spirits in his cocktails.
For more information on Como Como or to make a reservation, please visit http://www.comocomomiami.com. For private event inquiries at Como Como or Mezcalista please call 305-423-8004.