Delicious. Soulful. Elegant. These are but a few terms easily employed to describe the cuisine at TUR Kitchen in Coral Gables. A dazzler since it opened 2½ years ago in a gorgeously-appointed space on Giralda Avenue, TUR Kitchen is a culinary gem in Coral Gables’ crown, the type of casually elegant restaurant equally fitting for a Tuesday night dinner – grazing your way like the restaurant’s namesake through the generous a la carte menu, serving both lunch and dinner – as it is for a special occasion indulging in one of Chef Christian Chirino’s finely-calibrated, transportive tasting menus. A night at TUR Kitchen is not soon forgotten. Despite critical acclaim and a diehard local fanbase, how has the beautiful, refined, and thriving dining destination maintained a status as an under-the-radar gem?
The man behind the magic in the kitchen is Chef Christian Chirino, one of the region’s unheralded culinary talents. Born and educated in his native Chile, during his first professional position in Paris, he fell in love with the flavors, textures, and possibilities inherent in Mediterranean cuisine. “The Mediterranean kitchen was my first step after school. The years I spent training overseas informed how my cooking style evolved and how I grew as a chef. The memories and experiences stay with me to this day.” Those memories, anchored by Chef’s love affair with intelligent, sustainable, and local-when-possible sourcing, are the foundation for every bite that leaves the kitchen.
And from that kitchen, a dazzling array of more than 20 menu items can be enjoyed in various ways. Share plates are perfect for kicking start a meal, or as a meal itself, wanted family style with a couple of Pides, Turkish-style filled bread. Standouts from the Share section include baked-to-order lavash served with Maldon sea salt-speckled butter and crème Fraiche laced with Aleppo pepper; Manti – Turkish dumplings, which are a must at TUR Kitchen, filled with lamb and dressed with labneh, tahini and finely chopped pistachios; and salmon crudo– sourced from Florida’s own Bluehouse Salmon and dressed with an Ajo Blanco soup, pickled mustard seeds, grapes, and guindilla chili peppers, and more.
Four varieties of Pides continue the journey, including Key West shrimp, local organic mushrooms, eggplant, and braised lamb. A bit on the heartier side than the Share plates (lest you order more than one helping of Manti; no judgment), they transition nicely to the Mains. Traditionalists can enjoy these eight offerings as a standalone entree (perhaps complemented by a savory a la carte side dish) or as a heartier addition to a family-style feast. Chief amongst them, octopus with fingerling potato, jalapeno, cocoa nibs (for a hint of sweetness), and olives; braised goat with curry, charred leeks, purple potatoes, and preserved lemon (for a hit of citrusy brightness), and of course, lamb chops – Moroccan mint tea infused, perfectly grilled and served with carrot puree, crispy Yukon gold potatoes, and green peas.
The pro behind the pours and certified Sommelier is General Manager Luca Delogu. He held a Masters of Culinary Arts from the Italian Chef Academy of Rome and was a graduate of the British Bartending Institute and boasting more than 25 years of experience. Delogu brings to the mix a winning manner equal parts tour guide and masterful maitre’d. Rounding out his skill set: a dizzying knowledge of wines – a must considering the restaurant’s impressive wine list, which is sourced from family-owned wineries and small producers who have chosen the path to sustainable, organic, biodynamic, and natural farming.
The Spirit of Time – the oldest and rarest distilled spirits collection on earth – is now available at TUR Kitchen, offering adventurous imbibers a rare opportunity to journey through 134 years of exquisite brandies from the Armagnac region of France.
TUR Kitchen is located at 259 Giralda Avenue in Coral Gables. Lunch and dinner are served daily. Happy Hour is offered Monday through Sunday from 5 PM to 7 PM.
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