St. Roch Market is a re­fined food hall

12 di­verse ven­dors co­ex­ist in Mi­ami De­sign District

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - Showtime - Broward - - DINING - By Michael Mayo

Food halls and av­o­cado toast are two of the big­gest food fads go­ing in South Florida. Things al­most have got­ten to the point where one can­not throw a piece of av­o­cado toast with­out hit­ting a food hall. I’m not sure if av­o­cado toast is of­fered at St. Roch Market in Mi­ami, be­cause I be­came too dis­tracted (and stuffed) eat­ing other things on re­cent vis­its: tuna tira­dito from Ita­mae, foie gras dumplings from Yuzu, roasted chick­peas with sumac from Jaffa, and freshly made fet­tuc­cine with poached lob­ster from Dal Plin. I could live 10,000 years with­out see­ing an­other hunk of av­o­cado toast, but sim­i­lar bore­dom should not soon set in for those who take the food-hall plunge at St. Roch.

The market has enough tasty di­ver­sity and in­trigue to keep the culi­nar­ily cu­ri­ous com­ing back. St. Roch, which opened ear­lier this year in the swank Mi­ami De­sign District, is a spinoff of a his­toric New Or­leans food market that re­opened ear­lier this decade af­ter be­ing shut­tered by Hur­ri­cane Ka­t­rina in 2005. The Mi­ami out­post fea­tures a dozen ven­dors tucked in a com­fort­able, util­i­tar­ian room, in­clud­ing a cen­tral bar with cock­tails and wines (the May­haw), a premium cof­fee shop (Sa­bal) and a ve­gan bak­ery (Chloe). Each restau­rant fea­tures at least a dozen dishes. You can do the math — there are more than 150 items avail­able. Many dishes are cre­ative and well pre­pared.

The other nine eater­ies in­clude Elysian Seafood, a raw bar and fish house from New Or­leans; Ita­mae, a Pe­ru­vian-Ja­panese restau­rant with qual­ity sushi and tira­di­tos from tal­ented chefowner Fer­nando Chang and his chil­dren Nando and Va­lerie; Yuzu, a Ja­panese-Asian eatery with ra­men, dumplings and bao buns from chef An­drew Zar­zosa; Jaffa, an Is­raeli-Mediter­ranean eatery with ex­ot­i­cally spiced hum­mus and veg­etable dishes from chef Yaniv Cohen; Dal Plin, an Ital­ian kitchen spe­cial­iz­ing in fresh pas­tas; and the Coop, a South­ern restau­rant fea­tur­ing deviled eggs and chicken sand­wiches. There is also a Viet­namese restau­rant (Tran An), a Latin restau­rant with ta­cos and ce­viches (Hot Lime), and a juice bar-acai bowl-salad joint (Sweet­blendz).

If an eater does things cor­rectly at St. Roch, a sat­is­fy­ing feast awaits. Even if your group does things in­cor­rectly, putting the puz­zle pieces to­gether and knock­ing back a few cock­tails at the May­haw should make for a fun evening.

For those who en­joy con­trasts, you can go from cool — a $17 ce­viche bowl with raw fish, leche de ti­gre and zuc­chini noo­dles at Ita­mae — to hot, a $14 Lil’ Hot­tie spicy fried chicken sand­wich at Coop. I was hot and cold on Yuzu, ad­mir­ing the duck bao buns ($12), but dis­ap­pointed in the foie gras dumplings ($14), which had good, firm wrap­pers but a fill­ing that was more like minced pork or duck (with barely a hint of foie gras) and a sauce that was too heavy on grape­fruit. I was ex­pect­ing a fat­tier, more lus­cious dish.

I liked many things more than ex­pected, in­clud­ing all the fla­vor­ful hum­mus spreads and veg­etable dips with pita at Jaffa, and a ve­gan cup­cake ($4) from chef Chloe Coscarelli with rain­bow sprin­kles, moist bat­ter, and “cream cheese” frost­ing made from oils and other thick­en­ing agents that had good con­sis­tency

St. Roch Market

140 NE 39th St., Suite 241, Mi­ami 786-542-8977 or Mi­ami.StRochMar­ket.com Cui­sine: Cost: Mod­er­ate to ex­pen­sive. Most items cost $10 to $20, with some more ex­pen­sive. Hours: Reser­va­tions: No Credit cards: All ma­jor Bar: Noise level: Sub­dued, with mild clat­ter when crowded Wheel­chair ac­cess: Park­ing: Valet, garage and metered street and fla­vor. Un­like many ve­gan baked goods, this one wasn’t sickly sweet.

A meal at St. Roch Market will come in dribs and drabs. In­stead of get­ting wal­loped with a huge bill at the end, one can eat (and spend) as much or as lit­tle as one wants. Most dishes are priced in the $10-to-$20 range. Din­ers or­der and pay for their food at each stall. In most cases, the ven­dor will de­liver the dish to your ta­ble if you point out your seat when or­der­ing. Some­times, when things are busy, a diner may have to go back to a counter to pick up food. It a loose, free-flow­ing ar­range­ment, fine din­ing ren­dered palat­able for an im­pa­tient, in­for­mal world. Those who hate wait­ing for a check af­ter eat­ing (such as my teen daugh­ter) should ap­pre­ci­ate the free­dom. Those who en­joy loaf­ing, sip­ping more wine or eat­ing an­other cup­cake (or a dozen more char­broiled

JIM RASSOL/SUN SENTINEL PHOTOS

Nando Chang of Ita­mae in the St. Roch Market holds the tira­dito apal­tado (tuna, onion, av­o­cado, ca­pers, gar­lic leche de ti­gre olive oil). The St. Roch Market is lo­cated in the Mi­ami De­sign District.Up­scale food hall with di­verse of­fer­ings in­clud­ing Ja­panese, Pe­ru­vian, Viet­namese, Is­raeli-Mediter­ranean, Ital­ian, Mex­i­can and Amer­i­can.9 a.m.-10 p.m. daily (un­til 11 p.m. Fri­day-Satur­day). Hours at in­di­vid­ual stands may vary, with some open­ing at 11 a.m. Craft cock­tails, beer and wine at cen­tral bar, the May­hawEl­e­va­tor or es­ca­la­tor to sec­ond floor, ramp to bath­rooms

The St. Roch Market in the Mi­ami De­sign District fea­tures 11 eater­ies and a cen­tral bar, the May­haw, with craft cock­tails, wine and beer, where din­ers can sip and eat.

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