660 at The Angler's delivers global heat to Miami's food scene

  • Anglers' courtyard. Credit: Anglers Resort Anglers' courtyard. Credit: Anglers Resort
  • Chef Carlos Torres Chef Carlos Torres
  • 660's courtyard dining. Credit: WTC staff 660's courtyard dining. Credit: WTC staff
  • Heirloom tomatoes at 660. Credit: WTC staff Heirloom tomatoes at 660. Credit: WTC staff
  • Ropa Vieja at 660. Credit: WTC staff Ropa Vieja at 660. Credit: WTC staff
  • Lechon Asado : WTC Staff
Lechon Asado : WTC Staff
  • Deconstructed Key Lime pie. Credit: WTC staff Deconstructed Key Lime pie. Credit: WTC staff Photo by: WTC staff
  • Dulce de Leche Pastelitos at 660. Credit: WTC staff Dulce de Leche Pastelitos at 660. Credit: WTC staff
  • Al fresco dining. Credit: The Anglers Resort Al fresco dining. Credit: The Anglers Resort
  • Bar at the Anglers. Credit: Anglers Resort Bar at the Anglers. Credit: Anglers Resort
  • Inside 660. Credit: Anglers Resort Inside 660. Credit: Anglers Resort

MIAMI, June 18, 2013 — Just around the corner from the famed Ocean Drive in South Beach, you will find a tucked-away tropical respite, 660 at The Angler’s Resort.  For a few hours, it was great to get a much-needed reprieve from the Lincoln Road shoppers and the Deco district’s frenzied nighttime vibe.

If you blink, you might miss the charming Anglers, with its unassuming exterior, palm trees in tow. Once inside, the romantic courtyard, dotted with foliage, candle-lit sconces, and subtle pools of water, beckons. Soon, you are sipping one of 660’s jalapeno margaritas (is that a cucumber undertone?) and your cares begin to slip away.  

Yet the serene landscape is a contrast to Chef Carlos Torres’ spicy globally-inspired Latin menu.

“660 at The Angler’s is focused on bringing new flavors to the scene,” Torres says. “With my menu, I bring new flavors and different techniques where guests can experience the trend of Latin food.  I don’t just prepare a dish that represents a single country.  I combine Latin ingredients and cook them with all this different worldly techniques including French, Italian and Asian.  I like to create new memories with flavors.”

And memories are what Torres does best at 660.

But Chef Torres also carries a reservoir of his own food memories that influence his cuisine; one in particular stands out.

“I recall as a child always being in the kitchen, more eating than cooking. I was side-by-side with mom always asking what’s for lunch or dinner.  I love big flavors, flavors that pop in your mouth and that’s what Latin food is all about,” Torres explains. “When I was nine years old, I remember spending an entire day in the kitchen with a friend of my father’s. He was preparing Bolognese Spaghetti. I was so intrigued that I took time to write out the recipe, focusing on details like preparing Tomato Concassè and writing down special techniques, some of which I still use today.  I recreated this special recipe three months later for my family. My dad said the dish tasted the identical to my friend’s dish.  That was the coolest thing ever.  It was then that I knew I had a passion for cooking.”

And a passion for cooking is what Torres truly has.

That passion brought him to NYC nine years ago to work under Chef Maximo Tejada of Lucy Latin Kitchen and Pipa Restaurant. There he was shocked to see Latin food served as fine dining, a way he had never seen before. He asked Chef Maximo who had mentored him and was told that Chef Douglas Rodriguez in Miami was his inspiration.

“Shortly after, I made the decision to move to Miami and work for the best— ‘The Godfather of Nuevo Latino Cuisine’ Chef Doug Rodriguez, and I did for five years,” Torres explains.

Now it was time to sample some of Torres’ inspiration.

The meal started with heirloom tomatoes with basil and sherry reduction; the locally-grown beauties have always been must-haves in Miami. The dish was delicious in its earthy simplicity, the sherry balancing out that tart tomatoey goodness.

Then came the Pandebonos or Columbian cheese bread with guava better. This is so sweet and good you could have it for dessert. The hot bread takes like warmed-over butterscotch and has a unique - read decadent - creamy consistency.

A wise man once wrote, “Man cannot live by bread alone.” That man must never have tasted 660’s Pandebonos.

The scallop in passion fruit juice with sweet potato, avocado, and pepper combination gave the succulent shellfish a sweet-spicy kick. The passion fruit juice was a compelling choice with the sweet potato.

That is why Torres says he appreciates the culinary layer ceviche brings to the Miami food scene.

 “Ceviche is one of my favorite dishes, not only because it represents the South American Latin food culture,  but because the flavors are so delicate and fresh.  You can get creative with no limitations to create your signature ceviche dish.”

The main courses came next starting with a tangy Ropa Vieja - braised skirt steak with sun-dried tomato ragu and a yuca mash that was crispy on the outside and velvety soft on the inside.

The Lechon Asado, an apple-braised pork with root chips and congri rice was delicious. The pork was fork-tender. The brussel sprouts with citrus molasses reduction was also a surprise with its infectious candy-like zest. This is one way to get kids to eat their veggies.

The assistant manager Domonique Lindo (what a sweetie!) suggested a pairing with some intriguing craft beers. Her choices: an exotic Golden Monkey Beer and a White Rascal spiced with coriander and Curaçao orange peel.

If you have some time, it is worth it to have the charming Lindo, also a Brooklyn-trained chef in her own right, recount her adventures in cooking with her grandmother in Jamaica. Her grandma who grew her own sugar cane, potatoes, papaya, and chayote, who made sure that no visitor left “empty-handed,” and who identified the pleasantly plump with “being strong.”

“Food has always been my life,” Lindo says.  

The meal sat well with any number of 660’s decadent dessert cocktails - including a Salted Carmel Brulee and Chocolate Rasberry Martini.

But, finally, it was time for dessert, including a deconstructed Key Lime Pie. More like a sundae than a pie, a spoon is much more helpful than a fork in clearing the plate.  

Then it was time for a South American favorite, Pastelitos de Dulce de Leche, or phillo dough caramelized with almond. 660’s version of the dessert is not pastry but a plate of buttery toffee pieces. Some may prefer the pastry version but it was a refreshing change.

660 at The Angler’s is a difference slice of South Beach. It’s a romantic little spot that - though close to the action - offers an exclusive intimate oasis. Combined with Chef Carlos Torres’ globally-influenced Latin cuisine, it is a hidden gem and not one to be missed.

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Laura Kelly

Laura Grock is an award-winning TV producer and wry observer of life. A native of Chicago's North Side, this recovering lawyer and Diet Pepsi addict shares her quirky adventures in and around the vibrant, eccentric, and sometimes downright confounding Windy City. This is Chicago, baby.

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