Chef’s Corner with Nate Martin of Andu
Since the anticipated February opening of Andu Restaurant & Lounge, Executive Chef Nate Martin has become a well-known name in Miami.
Growing up just outide of Dallas, Chef Nate was surrounded by fresh seasonal vegetables and game that he, himself, hunted on the family land. With an impressive background in the culinary world, Chef Nate has worked at the Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas, Nikki Beach, 8 1/2 in Miami and quite a few other big-name restaurants.
Today, Chef Nate has used his knowledge and passion for food to entice the most discerning palates at the new sensational restaurant Andu. Using Mediterranean ingredients, Chef Nate creates the perfect plate night after night. Favorite dishes include Spiced Lamb Gyro, Shellfish Escabeche, Rioja Steamed Black Mussels and Lobster Mashed Potatoes.
journeyPod had a chance to chat with this culinary mastermind…
How did you get your start in cooking? How did you develop your culinary expertise?
Well, I guess you can say I started cooking with my family at a young age. I even remember imitating a chef making mud pies as a child, chopping wild green onions that grew in our yard with a gardening hand shovel. During high school I took a food science and technology class and simply started to fall in love with cooking. Luckily at this time my father worked with the wife of an Executive Chef in Downtown Dallas. So after meeting with the chef, he offered me a job and the rest is history.
Have you traveled anywhere that has influenced your flavors and recipes?
Everywhere I go I find influences. I would have to say I have never been a huge fan of some Latin American cuisines, but being in Miami the past few years I have found many ingredients that have great flavors and textures. I like to use yucca (cassava) and guanabana in certain dishes at restaurant.
What on the menu for ’08?
What I try to accomplish at Andu is an eclectic mesh of Mediterranean Cuisine. I use local as well as many imported products to create a wide ranged menu. As of now our menu varies from different dips and spreads; such as, sundried tomato tapenade and white bean bruschetta to large family-style dishes like a 10 oz Cedar Plank Baked Salmon with Bing Cherry Mustard and a 20 oz Rib-eye with Worcestershire Maitre d Butter for only $32. Anything in between includes many salads, carpaccios, ceviches, as well as signature dishes like the Porcini Mushroom Cannelloni and our homemade Yukon Gold Potato Gnocchi ranging from $13-$27. I want people to come in and enjoy themselves as well as the food and spirits, and not rip them off for it.
If you were ever on Iron Chef, what ingredient would you hope would be the themed ingredient for the cooking battle?
I honestly don’t care. Just bring it on!
Name three things you cant cook without.
Fresh lemon, herbs, and a great olive oil
What’s an upcoming trend in cooking?
I would say simplicity. I would say that the majority of true diners are tired of the stuffy restaurants with true haute cuisine. I believe they are looking for great, clean, and simple food without being short of the creativity.
What’s your favorite indulgence food?
I would say sandwiches. I could eat a sandwich everyday for the rest of my life. There are so many possibilities, and their quick and easy. You can put any meat, fish, vegetables, or cheese on any kind of bread and you’re set.
What would we find in your refrigerator at home?
Normally it’s a loner twelve pack of beer, possibly some dill pickles and juice. That’s pushing it!
Is there anything you won’t eat?
Ill try almost anything once!
What advice would you give an aspiring chef?
Hold on to your love and passion for food. Many obstacles will come, just stay true and focused.
If you didn’t do this for a living, what would you do?
I once had thought of being a youth counselor or minister. I have always enjoyed working with kids.
It’s 1 a.m. and you’re leaving work. where do you head for a cocktail or a bite to eat in Miami?
I am fortunate enough to live in the building in which the restaurant resides, so a quick stroll to a nearby pub and back home is done with ease. Two blocks down from my building is Tobacco Road, the oldest bar in Miami (95 years old and counting). You can’t go wrong with a place that has a giant smoker out back, ice-cold PBR, and live music till 5am. The one problem, oddly enough for a name like Tobacco road, there is no smoking in the bar!?
Andu Restaurant & Lounge:
Located in the Neo Vertika building on the Miami River (at 141 Southwest 7th Street), Andu is the area’s newest hot spot – featuring Chef Nathan Martin (of Nikki Beach and 8 ½) and a Mediterranean cuisine menu infused with International influences that will drive anyone to salivation! The space is open, modern and comfortable – but the VIP Oval section is what’s really eye-catching, encased in gorgeous floor-to-ceiling strands of hand-blown glass bubbles. After an abundance of tastings, our favorites included the: (not-to-be-missed) Moroccan Spiced Calamari, Goat Cheese Crusted Lamb Loin, “The Best Fries In the Universe” with key lime chipotle aioli, and the Slow Baked Mac & Cheese with manchego crust. For dessert, the scrumptious Florida Orange Glazed Doughnuts with white hot chocolate and finger-licking-good Liquid Chocolate Cake with pistachio gelato, strawberry coulis hit the spot.
For a complete list of journeyPod’s favorite restaurants and lounges, check out our Miami Destination Guide!