It was another of those lovely Miami nights….no humidity, a warm soft breeze and walking into the barely 2-month-old Café Roval just off Biscayne and 54th felt like I had traveled many days to this green oasis of coral, wood, lush vegetation and small pools and ponds. But, the feature on Café Roval is a whole other story saved for a later date, as last night, Café Roval and it’s chef, Peter Fred, played host to internationally acclaimed, Israeli Chef and Hotelier, Uri Jeremias of Uri Buri in Acre.
Uri Jeremias, most recognizable for his long flowing white beard, is a bit of an old soul, who not only shared with us his menu of 8 courses of authentic Israeli cuisine, but his wise thoughts on relationships, the current state of the world and offered hope for a future of living together peacefully in these complicated times.
It was an evening of food and friends with a dash of philosophy, and I am not sure which I enjoyed most.
Joining Chef Peter Fred was Chef Daniel Ganem, newly named chef at Quality Meats and co-creator of the Zuuk Mediterranean fast casual menu. Sara Liss put together the evening using her Saffron Supper Club “know how” and guests ranged from local media to members of the Israeli Consulate, The Ministry of Israeli Tourism, representatives from El Al and Turkish Airlines to a CNN documentarian. Intimate conversations at my table included everything from lack of good falafel and hummus in Miami to the Israeli family who has lived here for four years and their plan to return to Israel.
The many courses were fresh and flavorful, simply prepared with each course featuring fresh fish. The starter was a local striped bass crudo in orange sauce, Main dishes included Local Hog Snapper over brown rice with watermelon slices and a yogurt sauce, Grouper in a garlic and lemony sauce, and Israeli cous cous with Fruits de Mer including shrimp, squid, and mussels. My favorite side of Brussels sprouts was topped with goat cheese and dried cherries.
But it was the conversations that were among the most satisfying. As we were served a dessert of Rosewater Malabi, a sort of not–too sweet liquid tapioca-like pudding, Chef Uri invited us into the outside garden to hear about his life, his new cookbook and his travels in the US to help raise money to build a cooking school in his hometown of Acre to teach children with disabilities like ADHD and dyslexia the art of cooking.
But, his most profound story was on his decision to choose Acre as his home and to open Uri Buri and his hotel, in a primarily Muslim area.
He talked about honor and respect as being the keys to living peacefully in Acre. And encouraged us all to not give up regardless of political situations and to work towards a future that is more respectful and understanding of differences. It was an inspiring evening with new friends and a new perspective on food and the world around us.
Lucky for Miami, Chef Uri will be in Miami a few more days, hosting an intimate dinner at Cecconi's at The SoHo House on Thursday 2/23 as part of SOBEWFF. Use the Saffron Supper Club discount code SSC17 for 20% off. Tickets available at www.sobefest.com
And on Saturday 2/25, at 27 Restaurant/ Broken Shaker Chef Buri will be in the kitchen cooking up some of his favorite seafood dishes from 6:30 pm until close. Reservations are required.