A Definitive Guide to St. Roch Market Food Hall
May 31, 2018Pola Bunster
If it feels like food halls are popping up all over the place, it’s because they are. Whether they’re themed to a specific culture or more traditional in variety, food halls are the perfect way to taste a spectrum of flavors in one sitting. Among Miami’s current spring is St. Roch Market, shining brightly among the rest. The New Orleans-originating food hall veers toward a more classic setup that serves an all-encompassing selection of cuisines from Southern Comfort to Japanese, Italian, and Mexican.
The cleanly designed, light-filled interior brings the incredible dishes and their talented chefs to the forefront. No frills, no fluff, just food. A perfect compliment to its Miami Design District home. But what most people forget to explain when first visiting a hall of this magnitude is the torturous uncertainty of what to order. Regardless of how confident you might feel in your decision, FOMO will always rear its ugly head. What did you miss? What did you overlook? So we’re here to break down the food hall not just by each of its concepts, but the can’t-miss items that characterize them.
Chef Chloe and the Vegan Café
Because who says you can’t start with dessert? Cupcake Wars winner Chef Chloe Coscarelli truly understands how to make vegan eating decadent for every taste. Her intricate yet comforting sweets bring you back to childhood, birthday parties, and the smiles that only can follow pleasing a needy sweet tooth.
What to get: The Sprinkle Cake. The subtle blend of vanilla and almond extract is out of this world. You forget that the generous slice is vegan, even down to the sprinkles. It’s also Prism’s favorite cake in the city.
A one-stop-shop for all things Mediterranean. At Jaffa you’ll find creative twists on classic regional dishes inventively served and thoughtfully prepared. Chef Yaniv Cohen is a spice master, balancing each item with the nutritional properties that our bodies need and the flavors our souls yearn for.
What to get: The Eggplant. It’s their take on a deconstructed baba ganoush, using the entire vegetable as the bowl. The communal dish is filled with unsuspecting ingredients like pomegranate and sumac and transforms the traditional dip into an extraordinary adventure.
This Vietnamese outpost will make you feel at home from the first bite of banh mi. Chef John Nguyen wanted to make comforting and homey dishes that make you feel loved. At Tran Am he has fused his learned skills (Momofuku Ssam Bar, Le Cordon Bleu) with his homegrown Hanoi roots and serves them up by the bowl.
What to get: Chicken Pho. Possibly the most definitive Vietnamese dish with some clever tricks stirred in. The chicken is confit, cooked in garlic and scallion and the flavors are immediate. It’s a hug in a bowl.
The best of two worlds, we’d say. Hot Lime is the love child of three high school friends, Daniel Gonzalez, Jaime Villanueva, and Carlos Padilla–all food fanatics. Their collection of roots from Mexico and Peru have blended together to make one mouth-watering gourmet take on classic dishes from both countries.
What to get: Causa & Effect. A traditional Peruvian dish with their own cheeky flare. Avocado sandwiched between a mix of potato and aji amarillo and topped with fresh corvina ceviche.
Another concept birthed from a trio, but this time it’s brothers Robert, Ruben, and Giancarlo Rodriguez and their love for Southern cooking. What started as a popular pop-up at Hollywood’s Yellow Green Farmer’s Market became their first (almost) brick and mortar concept.
What to get: Of course everyone knows Coop for it’s stellar fried chicken biscuits, but we’re aiming you at their summer kale salad. St. Roch’s top-selling salad dish, it’s topped with edible flowers, cucumber rolls, chickpea croutons and in-house white balsamic.
Every food hall has an Italian concept and Dal Plin is among the freshest. Hailing from Milan, Massimo and Elisabetta Tundo are proud of their homemade pastas and sinful desserts. Their menu is highly traditional, with recipes passed down through their families for generations and finding a home at St. Roch.
What to get: All things pasta. We had the bucatini pomodoro topped with the deliciously creamy cheesiness that only burrata can provide. Garnished with fresh basil, the dish is a culinary representation of Italy’s national flag.
Another highly lovable family spot with home-cooked dishes and generations of experience taking center stage. Itamae is the impeccable concept helmed by Fernando Chang, one of Miami’s foremost chefs in the art of Nikkei–Japanese-Peruvian fusion. Breathtaking bowls, rolls, and a whole lot of fresh fish.
What to get: You can’t go wrong here. Whether it’s the tuna tataki submerged in ponzu and garlic or the chiclayo bowl topped with fresh ceviche. But our favorite was the tigre roll, their vegan alternative topped by grilled peppers and bursting with unexpected flavor.
The only concept in both the New Orleans and Miami branches of St. Roch Market, with good reason. Their oysters are go-to back in The Big Easy and their limitless knowledge of seafood is not to be questioned. Elysian’s menu features many of their original New Orleans items, revamped to fit Miami’s tropical character.
What to get: The crab cake. Their most popular item along with their oysters. While the New Orleans version might feature potatoes and heavier add-ons, Miami’s boasts avocado, fresh veggies, and almonds.
Yuzu’s identity spans an entire continent, with traditional dishes stemming from Japan, China, Thailand and beyond. The menu is a travel log of Chef Andrew Zarzosa’s culinary experiences in Asia, featuring traditional regional cuisine reimagined for his hometown. A Miami native, Zarzosa emphasizes fresh, local ingredients in every dish.
What to get: Umami Ramen. And boy is that aptly named. Brimming with deep, comforting flavors, the ramen is an hommage to the mushroom, using upwards of six varieties in both the broth and on the grill. Aromatic and a perfect blend of savory and sour, you’ll never guess that it’s entirely vegan.
Another Farmer’s Market originator, Sweetblendz is among South Florida’s fresh fruit and acai bowl royalty. Korean owner Chef Inbae Jin brought the concept down from Michigan in 2015 and has been expanding ever since. Aside from their signature acai, they have everything from smoothies to poke.
What to get: The Amazon Bowl. You might go for the original, but this one is their most colorful. It’s topped with fresh strawberry, banana, blueberries, mangos, coconut, and granola for a full spectrum of texture.
Brought to you by local coffee aficionado, Chase Rodriguez, Sabal Coffee is his way to honor the bean and leaf. The concept pushes local artisans to the masses through their partnership with Miami-based roasters, Counter Culture, and the locally successful, Jo Jo Tea.
What to get: The trifecta. It’s your way of getting it all in without getting too hyped.
What were our favorites?
Izzy: Yuzu’s ramen and Sweetblenz’ acai bowl. Because bowls.
Pola: Itamae’s tigre roll and Chef Chloe’s sprinkle cake. *it must be noted that she is not vegan.
Janel: Chef Chloe’s sprinkle cake and Elysian’s crab cake. All of the cakes, basically.
Fuji: Yuzu’s ramen and Elysian’s crab cake. This is after her Itamae family bias, of course.
Emily: Elysian’s crab cake and Sweetblenz’ acai bowl. Not original, we know.
Overall winner: Elysian Seafood’s Crab Cake!