The Setai Miami Beach is one of the world’s great hotel – an 81-year-old, Five-Star architectural masterpiece that defines South Beach’s Florida’s Art Deco expression and movement.
It’s only fitting, therefore, that the hotel be complemented by an equally celebrated restaurant. Welcome to Jaya at The Setai, a Pan-Asian restaurant that shows off dishes from Thailand, Vietnam, Korea, India, China and Japan, each under the direction of Executive Chef Vijayudu Veena.
Veena, from Hyderabad, India, joined the hotel’s team in 2008 and quickly moved up the kitchen hierarchy. He was named executive chef his past November.
Veena’s menus reflect his spicy and flavorful background by creating dishes inspired from his childhood and using his classically trained techniques to develop new flavors while maintaining culinary harmony. His combination of classic, rich Indian flavors along with ingredients from other regions of Asia, including China, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan and Malaysia, create dishes that make Jaya one of the Miami Beach “must-visit’’ restaurants.
For Miami Spice, which goes through Sept. 30, Veena’s has created a deep, three course menu that includes four choices of appetizers and entrées, as well as three dessert options.
“We have focused the (Spice) menu on different countries from Asia – not so much fusion,’’ said Executive Sous Chef Ivan Monzon.
My favorites? The Pork Dumplings appetizer; Thai Duck Curry; and Cheesecake. If you’re looking for a beef entrée, go with the Black Pepper Beef with Shishito Peppers.
Off the Spice menu, Jaya also serves breakfast (go with the Eggs Benedict) and lunch menus, as well as an outstanding Sunday Jazz Branch that features live carving stations and limitless Louis Roederer Champagne and Bloody Mary’s.
Let’s stay with the dinner menu. The Sashimi plate (Salmon, Hamachi, Tuna, Wasabi, Ginger and Ponzu Dressing is a delicious work of art;. the Hamachi plate (Yuzu Juice, Avocado, Hearts of Palm, Mango, Red Onions and Watermelon Radishes) pays tribute to South Florida’s local farms. If you’re looking for a Dim Sum plate, try the Truffle Dumplings.
Among Jaya’s signature dishes Peking Duck, a must-have entrée’ featuring roasted duck, Scallions, Steam Pancakes, Cucumbers and Bean Sauce. The Lamb Shank, recently added to the dinner menu, features Braised Tomatoes, Cumin, Tumeric, Cilantro and Basmati Rice. It’s full of flavor and a great dish for sharing.
“We want people to enjoy the food,’’ Monzon said. “We want them to have fun and maybe share some dishes.’’
Then again, Jaya’s dishes are so good, you might not want to share.