Miami Nice

A look at a few of Miami's newest and trendiest destinations.

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Special Issue
WWD Swim issue 07/07/2008


This story first appeared in the July 7, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Indomania’s secret is out. A little more than a year ago, the Indonesian eatery began as an underground haven for foodies, the city’s top chefs and homesick Southeast Asian hotel workers, but great food and reviews couldn’t stop its coming-out party. Lines now form outside the denlike locale in Miami Beach, but owner Pieter Both said the food makes up for any stomach growling or sore feelings.

“Somehow my wife’s [Ineke, a professional chef] cooking washes away all memories of long waits, since patrons can tell it’s made with love,” said Both, a former photography agent and producer from Amsterdam.

“I have so much respect for her working in this industry all her life, because it’s the hardest I’ve ever worked,” said Both, who mans the front while his wife concocts her complex, fragrant cuisine. “People ask for recipes, but each dish has about 17 ingredients.”

Soto Ayam, chicken soup with bean sprouts and egg ($6), and entrées like duck ($20) or red snapper ($18) steamed in banana leaves are popular, but most diners order a rijsttafel (rice table), a traditional Indonesian feast of more than a dozen small plates such as beef coconut stew, lemongrass rice, spicy green beans and shrimp crackers ($16 to $26 per person).

Indomania, 131 Northeast 26th Street, Miami Beach; 305-535-6332; indomania­restaurant.com.

New Wave

The Delano Hotel’s Agua Spa has changed its tune, literally. Dumping hippie-dippy sounds such as flowing water and chirping birds, the speakers now pipe the softer songs of edgy artists like Feist. And that’s just one tweak within the major overhaul of this spot atop the hotel.

Its original concept with sheer white curtains as makeshift walls — though falling in line with the property’s theme — didn’t allow privacy or simultaneous hetero treatments. Curved and linear walls of white, rustic wood or glass mosaic tiles have solved both issues.

“This way you don’t hear girls gabbing, and men and women can be in the spa the same time,” said Christina Russillo, corporate director of spas for Delano parent Morgans Hotel Group.

Eight treatment rooms offer mix-and-match services for facials, couples massages or the signature milk and honey massage ($140), given in the wet room, which houses a Vichy shower. Based on India’s ayurvedic system of natural healing, honey mixed with sesame oil hydrates skin, followed by a milk sponge bath to lock in moisture.

“We’re very supportive of East-meets-West therapies,” said Russillo, who also has a passion for innovative technology like the state-of-the-art oxygen machine used during the radiance facial ($180). After the face is cleansed and exfoliated with Luzern products, drops of vitamins A, C and E are rubbed into the cheeks, chin and forehead. Pure oxygen is applied for more than five minutes to seal pores.

“It’s great for acne, since it’s hypoallergenic, and great for aging because it holds in moisture,” she said.

A green paint-drenched solarium also is new. Decorated like a garden tea party, its daybeds, floral pillows and potted plants call for Champagne, lunch or a good book.

“People stay all day, and I don’t blame them,” said Russillo.

Agua Spa at the Delano Hotel, 1685 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; 305-674-6100; delano-hotel.com.

More Pacific

South Beach’s loss is the Design District’s gain in Pacific Time. Chef and owner Jonathan Eismann’s popular restaurant fell prey to Lincoln Road’s rising rents. So he closed shop, took a hiatus and resurfaced bigger and better across the bay.

His Miami Beach roots aren’t totally forgotten though, witnessed in the striking, backlit alabaster bar as an ode to Morris Lapidus’ prototype in the Eden Roc hotel.

“I wanted to send a clean, simple message across the board — tall banquettes, soft lighting and a small, open kitchen, and food that combines our classics and fresh additions,” Eismann said.

The menu features what Eismann calls Pacific Rim cuisine, with such dishes as local snapper steamed in lemongrass, sake and lime leaves and served with shitake mushrooms and broth. Small plates, a new twist, can be doubled or tripled for entrées or large parties, and lean toward the light side.

“I’ve always been into fitness and health, so rich foods aren’t my niche,” said Eismann.
Desserts range from fresh apricots and peaches in lavender syrup to a warm bittersweet chocolate bomb, the popularity of which has spread like wildfire since appearing on his menu in the Nineties.

“So many restaurants have it now, but I still think ours is one of the best because the key to chocolate is temperature, something a pastry genius taught me,” said Eismann.

Small plates cost $8 to $14, entrées $21 to $32 and desserts $5 to $8.

Pacific Time, 35 Northeast 40th Street, Miami; 305-722-7369; pacifictimemiami.com.

In the Swim

Gansevoort South is upping the ante on all-inclusive resorts here. And unlike Las Vegas’ show ponies full of casinos and spectacles, this one is geared toward the pool and beach lover. The refurbished Sixties compound boasts a beach club designed by Stephane Dupoux of Nikki Beach fame, along with and three pool decks, all overlooking the Atlantic — a surprisingly rare occurrence in South Florida.

“Unfortunately, other hotel pools were installed at ground level, thus dunes obstruct water views,” said Elon Kenchington, chief operating officer of Gansevoort Hotel Group.

Since each offers distinct qualities, it’s all about pool-hopping. With its proximity to the hotel’s David Barton Gym + Spa, the South pool is relegated to children’s and fitness activities like water aerobics. The center, the largest layout, feels more like a grand, plein air hall with homey accents like teak chaises and elephant side tables and dining service by New York’s The One Group, which plans to open STK in the hotel’s northwest niche by year’s end.

“Most important though is our brand’s signature rooftop pool and lounge, called Plunge,” said Kenchington of the not-so-easy design feat. “We had to completely restructure the building to support a 22,000-square-foot deck with 110-foot pool.”

Its 360-degree views and wood slats give the illusion of being on a cruise ship. No amenity was spared — cabanas feature flat screens and music components, a DJ booth instantly fosters a club vibe, which slowly escalates beginning at sunset, and the bar’s sushi menu includes a decadent chocolate roll for dessert.

Back on the beach at the largest private club of its kind in Miami, according to Kenchington, daybeds, tiki torches and a lit, glass wall with cascading water sets the scene. “This is the premier VIP playground,” he said.

Gansevoort South, 2377 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach; 305-604-1000; gansevoortsouth.com.

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