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Reinventing Cuban Cuisine: Ariete in Coconut Grove

Posted at 11:46 AM, Jul 09, 2024

Coconut Grove is renowned for its diverse culinary scene, but for those seeking a unique blend of Cuban and French flavors, Ariete offers an exceptional dining experience. Executive Chef and owner Michael Beltran has redefined Cuban cuisine at Ariete, blending his South Florida roots with innovative culinary techniques.

Beltran’s vision was to take familiar Cuban dishes and turn them on their head, offering flavors that Miami had never experienced before. One standout dish is the restaurant's famous duck, which undergoes a meticulous preparation process lasting two to three weeks from arrival to table.

Chef Manny Arredondo guided us through the kitchen to showcase how this renowned duck is made. The process incorporates numerous Miami flavors and involves aging the duck in a special fridge for three weeks. The attention to detail and dedication to quality is evident in every dish on the Ariete menu, reflecting Beltran’s intention for guests to feel like they are dining in his home.

Initially, the idea of reinventing Cuban food faced skepticism. "I remember a guy told me in year one that we wouldn't make it six months," Beltran recalled. Despite the negativity, he remained steadfast in his vision, insisting that Ariete is not just a Cuban or French restaurant, but a unique culinary destination.

Beltran and his team’s perseverance paid off when Ariete won the first Michelin star in Miami, silencing the naysayers and solidifying the restaurant's reputation.

Returning to the duck, after aging, the cooking process is completed in the kitchen. A special cart, humorously named "El Carrito," is used to transport the duck. Any duck scraps are marinated, cooked, and pressed in a French medieval-style press, a technique used by only three restaurants in the country. The drippings are then reduced to create a rich, velvety sauce.

Finally, it was time to eat. The meal began with the finely prepared duck, followed by Cuban-inspired sides such as the glorious duck tamal and duck fricassee pastelito. Each bite was a testament to the fusion of tradition and innovation that defines Ariete.

Beltran’s dedication to making his city, culture, and family proud shines through in every dish. For those seeking a culinary adventure that honors Miami’s heritage while pushing the boundaries of flavor, Ariete is a must-visit destination.

For more information, visit arietecoconutgrove.com.

Inside South Florida

10:49 AM, Jul 26, 2019

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