First Images: The Extravagant New Como Como Opens at the Moxy South Beach
In a seemingly rare case of good news actually being credible and dependable, the easing of social distancing recommendations in bars and restaurants seems to be happening without any corresponding increases in COVID infection rates. We’re not sure if this is going to lead immediately to another Roaring ’20s – but especially expect any exciting new restaurants to be a tough reservation in the coming months.
One of these is definitely the plush new Como Como at the also new Moxy South Beach, which follows on from the February opening of Serena at the same hotel. It bears the unusual title of marisqueria, which is actually the Mexican version of a seafood focused restaurant, complete with corresponding raw bar. But it’s also characterized by the sort of extravagantly designed space that suggests we’re ready to throw pandemic-imposed caution to the wind.
And indeed, Como Como (the name of which plays on the Spanish phrase for “how I eat”) is a thoughtfully devised “experience” restaurant. The gorgeous interiors are the handiwork of Miami’s Saladino Design Studios – responsible for such local “statement” eateries as Aqualina and Paris 6 – and Studio/Design Director Sean Saladino explains, “When we design a restaurant, we don’t just focus on how it looks. 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.”
And so at the center of the action is a copper-and-wrought-iron “fuego” (fire station), that allows for the opportunity to observe one’s choice of fish being cooked over a wood-burning grill. Executive Chef Scott Linquist (who lords over the Coyo Taco empire), then conjures appropriately theatrically presented dishes – and let’s face it, we definitely need theater after fifteen months of cooking at home. There are even tableside presentations of everything from Tartar de Pescado to, well, Caesar Salad.
Locally caught fish dishes are front and center on the menu, including Pescado a la Talla, snapper that is butterflied, grilled, and painted on both sides with different marinades, and Tikin-Xic, a Mayan preparation of whole branzino flavored with bitter orange, habanero chiles, and achiote, cooked in banana leaves.
Como Como also notably boasts a rough-cut stone barra cruda (raw bar), where one might enjoy oysters with pineapple-vinegar mignonette, or a selection of coastal ceviches. And, because why not, a dramatic “tequila tree” sculpture fashioned from copper pipes and hand-blown glass spheres dangles elegantly above, and dispenses – yes – actual tequila. A sultry, intimate mezcal lounge, Mezcalista, will open with a different entrance sometime in June.
So yes, it’s precisely the sort of restaurant we need right now: sexy, spectacular, fun and absolutely fabulous. And, well…the tequila tree.