River Yacht Club: On the Miami River with Guest Chef Alex Chang
By the time Google Maps or Waze finally directs you under the highway and around the block to River Yacht Club you are amazed at what is happening in the historic Miami River District. Set on the Miami River surrounded by abandoned warehouses and empty lots, River Yacht Club (RYC), a unique and beautiful waterfront venture, opened this past winter featuring a fine dining restaurant, stunning outdoor garden & lounge, marina and the first ever Van Dutch Lounge on the roof. River Yacht Club aims to be a lifestyle destination that combines gastronomy, entertainment, maritime activities and art into a special retreat for all urbanites.
With limited options in waterfront venues in Miami, River Yacht Club aims to enrich the local boating culture and set a significant tone for the future of the Miami River District. “We would like to rewrite the local boating culture,” “Boaters have very few options for sophisticated experiences on the water.” said Stephane Dupoux, the CEO of Dupoux Partners, the team behind concept and development. A boat ride up the Miami River is a special and invigorating experience as you boat between the tall buildings on either side.
To offer an innovative and creative approach to the restaurant’s epicurean profile, River Yacht Club’s culinary ideology revolves around its seasonally driven menus executed by a stellar roster of rotating, in-residence chefs.
Kicking off the revolving chef concept, River Yacht Club commissioned Chef Michael Lewis, who formerly helmed the kitchens of Zuma and Jean Georges restaurants, to design the inaugural winter menu. The successive chef for the spring tenure was Australian born, award winning Chef Christopher Rendell with prior endeavors at the Surf Lodge, Montauk and Public, NoLita as well as Mews and Whitehall in London.
The most recent chef-in-residence is local Miami talent, former Vagabond Restaurant and Rising Star Chef 2016, Chef Alex Chang. Chef Alex who came into his own in the Miami food scene creating unique and favored dishes like chapulines and peanuts, fried sweetbreads and burrata with green pea and leek oil, has taken a slight departure with this understandable but still creative menu.
We were invited as guests for a special dinner featuring Chef Alex’s cuisine, which leans heavily on the fruits of the sea and complemented by signature sides
Featuring a Crudo Kitchen, Grill and Pastry Lab, the menu melds European techniques with local fresh ingredients served family style in a tableside presentation. A likeminded beverage program supports the effort to celebrate an ingredient driven agenda that works in harmony with the menu to create a memorable culinary experience.
The menu, served family style to a group of food writers and bloggers featured starters of Chilled Tomatillo and Mango Gazpacho, a Tuna Tataki with Avocado,
and our favorite, a spicy Thai Style Ribeye Carpaccio with crispy shallots, key lime vinaigrette and fresh herbs.
Entrees included a nicely seasoned Half Roasted Peruvian Chicken with sweet corn bread,
A Whole Roasted Yellowtail Snapper with shishito peppers and
an Almond and Tomato salsa topped Grilled Shrimp.
Dessert was a sweet and spicy treat with Baba au Rum Sundae with jalapeno infused pineapple and ice cream and a decadently rich Chocolate Fudge with vanilla ice cream.
The restaurant’s design features subtle maritime references including color palette, materials, ornamental details like seahorses and anchors and other visual nods to the immediate environment and vegetation with nautical materials like copper and brass.
River Yacht Club has also partnered with VanDutch Yachts for the prestigious brand’s first ever VanDutch Lounge. Located on the rooftop terrace, the lounge boasts exquisite mixology and unwinding options set against the backdrop of some of Miami’s most inspiring views.
The restaurant at River Yacht Club is open to the public, however, there is a membership component. Members are granted preferred reservations and docking privileges plus access to club events.
Additional amenities includes a transitional gallery featuring a wide range of visual arts curated by Alvaro Perez Miranda and sculptural art from Jean Pierre Botella (JPB) Art Gallery from Saint Tropez.
401 SW 3rd Avenue Miami, FL 33130
( Photo Credit: Andrew Giambarba for MIAbites )