As the recently launched Moxy South Beach marks a new chapter for hospitality in Miami Beach, one of the first dining experiences to debut is Serena at the Moxy South Beach. Serena, an open-air rooftop restaurant and bar, designed by Saladino Design Studios, channels the enchanting rooftop and patio restaurants of Oaxaca and Mexico City. Serena has a laid-back yet sophisticated vibe, lounge and table seating plus an expansive menu of shareable classic dishes combined with a modern interpretation of traditional Latin and Mexican cuisine.
The outdoor kitchen features a large circular stone mill for grinding the blue and yellow nixtamalized cornmeal that spills out of burlap sacks, as well as a comal, the traditional griddle for cooking tortillas. Diners can watch freshly ground cornmeal shaped by hand into fresh tortillas, cooked to order on a traditional comal, and transformed into delectable dishes such as Uni and Crab Tostadas and Squash Blossom Quesadillas.
The menu also features classic dishes like Caesar Salad, Steak Tartare, and Tuna Tartare. These are complemented by an array of ceviches, and cooked dishes highlighting fresh local seafood, as well as small plates, salads, burgers, and sandwiches.
Culinary authenticity comes by way of Chef Scott Linquist, who started his restaurant career as a busboy in Los Angeles but developed a passion for Mexican food while cooking at Santa Monica’s seminal Border Grill. Later, Linquist created and developed New York’s Dos Caminos as the Executive Chef and wrote a best-selling cookbook, Mod Mex. In Mexico, he has cooked in homes from the mountains of Oaxaca to the jungles of the Yucatán, tracking down traditional recipes and techniques and leading culinary tours. “I always say that I’m a gringo on the outside, but my heart is Mexican,” he says. “I’ve traveled all across the country to study the characteristics of each region’s cuisine.”
Linquist and his chef’s source white, yellow, and blue corn, to make nixtamal in-house, grind it by hand, press it into tortillas or other shapes, and cook it on a traditional comal.
Creative cocktails devised by the acclaimed mixologist Christian Rubio, along with beers and wines, are prepared in the greenhouse-like bar, whose glass garage-style doors open to the warm beach breezes.
A live music series at Serena features regular poolside performances by up-and-coming local acts in the warm Miami air. Prism Creative and Tigre Sounds showcase the rhythms of emerging Latin American musicians. On Sundays, the Golden Tingz Sunset Hour features live DJs spinning Latin and world music.
Serena is part of a diverse culinary lineup all operated by the founders of Miami’s uber-popular Coyo Taco and 1-800-LUCKY. They include Como Como, a marisquería (seafood restaurant) and raw bar; Mezcalista, a sexy mezcal lounge; Los Buenos, a taco stand/bodega in the lobby, complemented by Bar Moxy, and The Upside, a rooftop bar on the eighth floor exclusively for hotel guests and private events. Serena is now open daily from 11 a.m. to midnight. For more information call 305-306-0776.
Serena is located at The Moxy Hotel South Beach 915 Washington Ave, Miami, FL 33139