New York City’s retro-glam restaurant Carbone has opened in Miami’s South of Fifth neighborhood for its fourth location worldwide. Global hospitality empire Major Food Group (founded by Jeff Zalaznick, Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi) has expanded its celebrated red sauce-focused menu and brought on interior designer Ken Fulk to design the interiors. “We were looking for a space that made sense for the last couple of years and we finally have found a perfect place,” says Major Food Group co-owner Jeff Zalaznick. “Carbone was made for Miami and I’m living here full time now.”
Part of the allure of Michelin-starred Carbone in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village is its star-studded clientele that has included stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, David Beckham, Kate Hudson, Kendall Jenner and Taylor Swift and the throwback vibe of the space. Even during the Covid-19 pandemic, the restaurant has catered to a well-heeled crowd inside its heated dining structures curbside on Thompson Street.
Ken Fulk, who collaborates on almost all of the brand’s new projects including Sadelle’s at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, has brought Carbone Miami’s interiors to life by drawing inspiration from Carbone New York. “What we love about Ken particularly for Carbone, is that he’s able to not make cookie-cutter iterations to the concepts,” says co-owner Mario Carbone. “He is able to take the identity of it and make it work for a specific location or city so that it feels indigenous to where it is. The aesthetic here is very much Carbone New York on vacation.”
The lush, beachy vibe mirrors the new outpost’s surroundings on Collins Avenue. “It is more tropical and the color palette changes from blues to greens while still maintaining that theatrical mid-century spirit,” says Carbone. The space was previously home to Upland restaurant. “It’s a magical location in one of the best neighborhoods in Miami Beach,” says Carbone. “Jeff found the location first, and like many of our other projects this space spoke to him and he knew instantly that this needed to be Carbone.”
From the eclectic furniture and verdant greenery to ornate chandeliers and custom tuxedos for the staff designed by Zac Posen, no detail has been overlooked. The artwork is always an especially important detail for Carbone and was curated by longtime collaborator Vito Schnabel. “Vito, of course, is bringing the classic pasta paintings by [his father] Julian Schnabel, along with an assorted collection of works by a range of artists from rising star Robert Nava to Gus Van Sant and Harmony Korine,” says Zalaznick.
The Carbone team has planted roots in Miami with team members, including famed mixologist Thomas Waugh and executive chef Jonah Resnick, making the move down south for the new outpost. “Miami is very much a sister city to New York,” says Carbone. “To bring this restaurant down here felt comfortable and natural and something we’ve always wanted to do. I don’t know if we are filling a missing void in the culinary scene here necessarily, but I’m excited to bring our style of fun fine dining to the scene here.”
While the ambiance and design elements are signature to the success of Carbone, the food is truly a top priority. With Carbone and executive chef Jonah Resnick at the helm, Carbone Miami will offer signature dishes like the rigatoni in vodka sauce, veal chop parmesan and Cesar salad prepared tableside, with a few seasonal items mixed in. “There are a few additions to the raw bar, including a warm stone crab knuckle sandwich,” says Carbone. “We’re also working on a new pasta or two. Chef Stephanie Prida has a few new desserts here including a coconut lime chiffon cake and chocolate hazelnut cake.”