Amara is Fired Up for a Proper Argentine Feast at South Beach Wine & Food Festival

Food in Argentina is not just a piece of meat.  And TGHG executive chef Bradley Herron along with Michael, Tamara, Director of Ops Eric Larkee and Amara at Paraiso executive chef Michael Paley had to wait until the last stop of their menu R&D trip to Buenos Aires this summer to find out at Proper Restaurant.

“They were the ones doing the fresh approach,” Brad explains of the Argentine capital’s brightest chefs. “No one else was doing it at the couple of newer places we visited.  We missed the vegetables, and it was one the the last meals we had. The one that almost got away.”

Now while Amara’s food is not exactly Argentine, nor meant to represent fully the traditional cuisines of Latin America, it is informed by the flavors and the techniques that make them unique.  This decidedly Schwartzian approach to what is largely known as a meat-centric culture felt familiar and exactly the inspiration — or connection — they didn’t even know they were looking for.  It was the last thing the team would have expected to encounter in this journey — which is precisely what journeys are for.

Now, of course to miss the meat would also be to miss the point of traveling to Argentina in the first place.  And there was plenty to be enjoyed, and it too came with discoveries to be made, especially in how beef is processed and butchered, and how this can affect what’s on a menu.  “Beef is processed for efficiency in America, cut in half and hung. There they get the whole animal and so cut a little bit differently and can get better steaks,” Brad continues.  “They have access to certain things from certain places that you just don’t see in the US. Things in our kitchens would just go into the wood chipper for burgers, which is delicious, sure, but we don’t benefit from access to the full muscles, to pull them apart and find the special places that can be featured in a dish.”

If there was an iconic cut of the Argentine menu it would be ribeye, and so at Amara there will be one that eats like it’s not the grass-fed you may have tried and sent back.  Read about that in our post on Joyce Farms. “If they had a big steak on the menu, that’s what they had,” Brad remembers. “We like ribeye, too.  It’s our favorite steak with the right amount of fat to meat ratio.”

Joyce Farms ribeye on the wood grill at Amara.

Michael and the team were so fired up about the eye-opening experience and simpatico team they met at Proper Restaurant that they had to share it with Miami in person. Huge thanks to Lee Schrager for getting on board, as well as our sponsors Esprit Du Vin Fine Wine Merchants. Join us South Beach Wine & Food Festival on Saturday, February 24 at 7 p.m.  Inspired by experiences in their travels to develop Amara’s menu, Chef and Amara executive chef Michael Paley will collaborate on a menu celebrating a new bright and fresh approach to traditional South American flavors and ingredients with Augusto Mayer and Samuel Alex Fitzgerald of the much buzzed about Buenos Aires-based eatery Proper.  $250 (gratuity included, tax is not) includes a waterfront reception with the chefs putting out snacks off the wood grill at sunset, followed by a three course dinner including dessert and paired wines from the Esprit du Vin Fine Wine Merchants portfolio, in the heart of downtown Miami. Click here for tickets and check out the menu here first!

Reception on the Beach Terrace
Grill Items: 4  items
Proper 1 – Provleta cheese with pickled dates and roasted onion and peppers
Proper 2 – Lamb cutlets with roasted eggplant and chermoula
Amara 1 – Amara Chorizo: Red, Verde, Seafood with mother sauces
Amara 2 – Grilled Oysters, farofa, vinaigrette

Dinner
First Course: Amara
Local Flounder Tartare, blood orange aguachile, radish, toasted pumpkin seed

Second Course: Proper
Dish 1 – preserved olives with roasted haricot vert
Dish 2 – Grilled calamari with broccoli and fermented bean aioli
Dish 3 – leek with pea purée fried garlic and pecorino
Third Course: Amara
Grilled Joyce Farms Grass Fed Ribeye, bone marrow, domingo rojo beans, malibar spinach, preserved sour orange

Dessert: Proper & Amara (alternating)
Proper- Flan of dulce de leche with soft cream
Amara- Ginger Guava Mille Feuille