When I met Chef Dale Talde a few months ago at his Talde Brooklyn restaurant, he left me with this bit of advice inscribed in his cookbook: “Please Don’t F-up the Rice.’’
Those six words, which Talde told me were given to him by mother when he left for culinary school, pretty much sum up his slightly irreverent culinary philosophy. That is, take the food seriously but never yourself.
The son of Filipino immigrants, Talde, a “Top Chef’’ alum, and his partners, David Massoni and John Bush, opened Talde Brooklyn in 2012. It’s been on the “must dine’’ list for locals and borough visitors ever since.
In 2015, the trio (thankfully) opened Talde Miami Beach in the Thompson Hotel on Collins Ave. The hotel’s name recently changed to The Confidante – part the Unbound Collection by Hyatt – but the Pan-Asian themed restaurant with a speakeasy vibe – under the guidance of Executive Chef Janine Denetdeel – is as eclectic (featuring murals of New York City street scenes and a shipping container as a centerpiece) and delicious as ever.
With the exceptions of a few Florida-centric dishes (with Asian twists), much of the menu at Talde Miami Beach is the same as it is at Talde Brooklyn.
For me, each menu begins and ends with Talde’s classic Korean Fried Chicken. You’ll never look (or eat) fried chicken the same after you’ve had Talde’s Korean Fried Chicken, which is fried twice (for double the crispiness) in rice batter and served over Kimchi Yogurt with sliced grapes.
Some contrarians say the Kimchi Yogurt overpowers the flavor of the chicken, but I’ve never found that to be the case. The Korean Fried Chicken is sliced for two, but can easily be handled by a single, hungry chicken lover.
A couple of other Talde favorites: Pretzel Pork and Chive Dumplings with spicy mustard (Talde learned to make pretzel’s while working at the legendary Buddakan restaurant in New York City); and Benton’s Bacon Dumplings with shrimp, kale, and soy-chili vinegar. The Bacon Dumplings, by the way, are also part of Talde’s Late Night Noodle menu that serves from midnight to 4 a.m. every Friday and Saturday night.
For sea foodies, the Chili Garlic Shrimp with pineapple is essential. And the Jerk Peking Duck with cucumber and chives is equally as tasty.
In short, like its namesake, Talde Miami Beach has a style all its own. Nothing F-upped about that.