On the heels of a wildly successful preview during Art Basel, Beaker & Gray in Wynwood officially opens its doors to the public on Thursday, December 10, 2015. Named after key culinary tools – the Beaker, used to concoct libations, and a Gray Kunz spoon, used to execute dishes – Beaker & Gray will be the neighborhood’s new hotspot for globally-inspired cuisine and a vibrant bar scene. The playful restaurant concept, which tips a hat to refined, elegant dining with a menu rooted in inventiveness and approachability, comes to the artsy neighborhood courtesy ofChef/Owner Brian Nasajon and Bar Manager/Owner Ben Potts.
A veteran of Lure Fishbar in Manhattan, Wish in Miami Beach, and former executive chef at SushiSamba, Nasajon assumes his first role as chef/restauranteur, utilizing worldly ingredients and blending them with the freshest crops of the season. For this small plates concept, Nasajon begins to build his dishes with the basics – garden fresh ingredients straight from his family’s backyard. The menu, sectioned into Bites ($8-10), Colds ($12-15), Smalls($13-19) and Not So Small ($24-36), takes diners on a culinary journey around the world with everything from sandwichitos to curry to gnocci. Standout Bites include savory Churros with shrimp, chorizo and ginger; Nasajon’s take on Pan Frito with guanciale, Spanish olives and stracciatella; and Oaxaca garnished with wax pepper, oregano and tomatillo. Colds contenders include Glass Noodles with green papaya, chayote and Valencia peanuts; Spanish Octopus with cilantro, watermelon and palmito; and Baby Beets with strained yogurt, key lime and pistachio. Smalls run the gamut from Pumpkin Gnocchi with pork rib, lemon and red shiso; and Turkey Legwith red cabbage, potato cream and sage to Yellow Curry rice noodles with snow crab and Chinese sausage. Not So Smalls round out the menu with Piggy – suckling pig with mofongo, mustard seed and lardon; Whole Fishbasted with cardamom butter and served with pomelo and watermelon radish; and Wagyu Ribeye with baby fennel, leek and daikon.
In keeping with Nasajon’s style – elegant, complex dishes composed with technical precision but rendered in a fun and approachable manner – Potts, a Broken Shaker and Blackbird Ordinary protégé, ensures his crafted concoctions delight, intrigue and refresh. Keeping things elemental, the cocktail menu is divided into two primary sections – Shaken ($12-$14), Stirred ($13-$15). Each drink description features ingredients and helpful descriptors, which guide guests by revealing the libations’ notes and flavor profiles. Shaken cocktails feature lighter, refreshing options such as The Halliwell, a spicy and fruity blend of Stolichnaya vodka, Cocchi Americano Rosa, ginger, strawberry and fresh mint; the Lavagave, a floral yet creamy mix of Don Julio Blanco, Fidencio mezcal, lavender, egg white, grapefruit and vanilla bitters; and the rich, aromatic Blast Furnace with Basil Hayden’s, Funky Buddha Floridian and apricot preserves. Stirred libations cater to those with boozy and bold palates including the WW? made with Avion Anejo tequila, crème de cacao and a house-made Thai chili syrup; the malty yet fruity Billy Club with Monkey Shoulder whiskey, Solerno, Drambuie and Lillet Blanc; and Super Vin Santo with Michter’s American whiskey, manzanilla sherry and Faretti Biscotti.
Next, there is a featured Strange drink option that caters to master drinkers seeking an off-the-wall experience with the Inside Outside In – Santa Teresa Gran Reserve, Luxardo Maraschino and madeira transfused with a fresh pineapple and a house spice blend in a vacuum, then served with a side of cocktail-laden pineapple sticks. Potts will also curate Aperitivo ($9-$12) and Digestivo ($10-$13) options such as Rosé-Colored Glasses, rosé topped with watermelon, rosemary and elderflower soda; the classic Sbagliato, a Beefeater gin, Campari, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, and sparkling wine starter; Caife Fuar, an Irish coffee riff made with Tullamore Dew, Argyle cold brew and hand-whipped cardamom cream.
A jewel box nestled in the heart of Wynwood, the 120-seat restaurant – designed by Saladino Design Studios – presents a rustic charm with wonderfully-selected, softer touches. The skeleton of a former ice factory, rich wood beams and aged Chicago brick walls frame the space, while two grand bronze chandeliers, matching bronze table finishes and Calacatta marble countertops add warmth to the space. The 3,600-square-foot restaurant features an open kitchen with an eat-in bar for four, an intimate lounge with cozy ottomans and reclaimed artisanal floor tiles, a chef’s table and an inviting 13-seat bar equipped with built-in cellphone charging stations. An outdoor patio will go live at a later date, perfect for enjoying a bite al fresco. An added benefit rarely found in Wynwood, Beaker & Gray will also offer more than 20 private parking spaces and valet service – a decided plus in this up-and-coming, ever-growing neighborhood.
Beaker & Gray is located at 2637 North Miami Avenue in Wynwood. Dinner will be served Sunday – Thursdayfrom 5PM to 2AM; and Friday – Saturday from 5PM to 3AM. Opening night is Thursday, December 10. Telephone: (305) 699-2637; beakerandgray.com