Celebrating the hospitality, warmth and conviviality synonymous with all-things-Italian and serving a moderately-priced menu of honest updated Italian classics, Dolce is the new restaurant slated to open its doors in the heart of South Beach in January 2013. Located at 1690 Collins Avenue, at the newly-renovated Gale South Beach, Dolce will share its entrance with the sleek, revitalized hotel, welcoming guests with the sights and tantalizing smells of its bustling café, just one of its many food & beverage elements. With seating for close to 200, diners can choose the landscaped enclosed outdoor terrace, the lower level café and bar, or the restaurant’s upper level dining room; breakfast, lunch and dinner will be served daily. The restaurant will also feature a semi-private dining room, accommodating 20.
LDV Hospitality, one of the fastest growing restaurant groups in the country, is the driving force behind Dolce. Partners John Meadow and Curt Huegel, the company’s co-founders, have found success in New York, Atlantic City and Miami Beach with award-winning fine dining destinations including American Cut, Azure, Scarpetta and Veritas as well as upscale-casual restaurants Lugo Caffé and Lucy’s Cantina Royale. The team also derives considerable cachet from its lounge and nightlife operations, including Amy Sacco’s New York celebrity hotspot No. 8; they will operate the Regent Cocktail Club at the Gale as well. The Dolce concept is LDV’s newest innovation, created specifically for the Miami market – equal parts chic dining destination and neighborhood haunt, the perfect spot for a bowl of pasta, a great glass of wine or a quick bite in the café.
“We are excited to expand in South Florida with a new concept,” offered Meadow. “Dolce will encompass what we’ve come to think of as the LDV trademarks – great service, a welcoming, polished environment and high quality cuisine prepared with care. The restaurant will strike a balance squarely between the more casual restaurants in our portfolio, such as Lugo Caffé, and our upscale brands, with approachably priced, made from scratch Italian cuisine.“
Indeed, Dolce offers Miami diners the best of both worlds – a casual café on the restaurant’s lower level, which doubles as the hotel’s entryway – and a more formal, yet still relaxed environment on the upper level. Italian-born Executive Chef Paolo Dorigato (41), who joined LDV as executive chef of Azure at Revel Resorts in Atlantic City in 2012, and has served as executive chef in legendary restaurants including The Rainbow Room, Cipriani Wall Street and other iconic dining spots, will oversee culinary operations. Dorigato blends cultural influences from this hometown of Trento, Italy with techniques learned from renowned chefs he’s worked with stateside including most recently, Alain Allegretti. General manager Dean Tsakanikas, a seasoned industry professional, comes to Dolce from LDV’s American Cut: A Mark Forgione Restaurant.
The menu, still in development at this time, will include a delicious assortment of salads and hot and cold antipasti ($9-$19) perfect for a shared meal at the café or a wonderful start to an Italian culinary journey. Generously sized platters bear brightly colored roasted red and yellow beets, endive, goat cheese and orange segments; cured meats served with crostini and pickled vegetables; a creative take on burrata, served with Boston lettuce, cherry tomatoes, crispy shallots and apple wood bacon. Hand-pulled mozzarella, made to order at the mozzarella display bar will be served simply with cured meats or gardinere; hot antipasti selections include irresistible choices such as meatballs with soft polenta and Parmigiano Reggiano and a perfectly flavored grilled octopus with chickpeas and farro, served with a ginger pistachio vinaigrette.
Pizza & pasta ($13-$19) are the stars of the menu; with choices that range from familiar to intriguing. Spaghetti al pomodoro made from fresh ingredients showcases how, simply prepared dishes can shine; other standouts include shortrib cannelloni with porcini cream; pappardelle with duck ragu, baby spinach and pumpkin ravioli with smoked ricotta, among others. Pizzas from the wood-burning oven include one that’s bound to intrigue truffle lovers – the Tartufata made with a blend of mozzarella, fontina and robiola truffle cheeses; while purists will relish the Marinara served with tomato sauce, capers and anchovies or a Zingara – spicy salami, roasted peppers, onions and fior di latte mozzarella.
Entrees are bursting with rustic Italian flavors – from the roasted red snapper served with clams to a classic Veal Milanese served with endive and apple salad with Tuscan fries, or Lamb “scottadito” rib chops served with a white bean panzanella. About 20 wines by the glass will be offered as well as a comprehensive wine list of around 120 bottles, comprised primarily of Italian and American selections.
With interior design By Peter Oleck of ADD Inc., the restaurant is light and airy in the downstairs café, capturing the aesthetic of a classic, Italian sidewalk café, including outdoor seating beneath shady umbrellas. The restaurant’s bar, located in the café, will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Upstairs, the design is simple and modern, with wood paneled walls, crisp white lines, banquettes and tables of dark wood, all surrounding a lively open kitchen, which will feature the mozzarella action station and a wood-burning oven. Dinner will only be served in the dining room.
Scheduled to open to the public January 2013 for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week, Dolce will open with a limited preview menu available in the café during Art Basel 2012 (Monday, December 3 – Sunday, December 9, 2012). All major credit cards accepted; valet parking available.
Founded in 2008, LDV Hospitality oversees 15 restaurant, bars and lounges across the country, partnering with notable celebrity chefs including Scott Conant, Marc Forgione, Alain Allegretti and nightlife trailblazer, Amy Sacco to develop multiple critically acclaimed brands.