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Habitat in Miami Beach blends styles of two notable chefs

Correspondent

Habitat

1 Hotel and Homes South Beach, 2395 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-604-6700, HabitatMB.com

James Beard Award-nominated chef Jose Mendin, best known from Pubbelly Sushi, has unveiled a seafood-and-grill venture blending Latin and Asian techniques in the former Beachcraft.

Angel Palacios has returned to South Florida as chef de cuisine 15 years after helming the Miami outpost of La Broche before eventually returning to the two-star Michelin original in Madrid.

“I am much more sensible and well-rounded now,” he says. “A great example of this is the croquetas de jamon Ibérico ($18), which express this new tradition. Plates such as the Caprese ($16), Barba-Papa dessert ($12) or the local wahoo esqueixada ($18) really show our techniques.”

The Barba-Papa’s pineapple-dill sauce is poured tableside over cotton candy, which melts into the pineapple sorbet base. Another sweet touch is a bonbon cart ($2-$6).

“We are having a blast combining our styles,” Mendin says.

Pineapple resurfaces in the Fifth Element cocktail ($15) with tequila, egg white, avocado and lime.

Weekday lunch, nightly dinner and a Sunday brunch buffet ($80) are served amid soft, organic surroundings with firewood stacks, stone walls and a grand central bar. A coffee truck offers window service on the landscaped patio. The second-floor lounge features a raw bar display and tapas.

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