Jonathan Eismann is certainly not new to the restaurant business. The chef, who is a James Beard Best Chef Nominee, has brought us everything from Pan-Asian at Pacific Time to Q ,Miami Barbecue. His latest idea, however, was leaving a lot of people wondering if he was thinking too far outside the box. Spartico may not be what you normally see at a luxury hotel like Miami’s Mayfair Hotel and Spa, but the idea is working.
While chef’s are making bacon out of duck and adding foam to just about everything, Eismann went in the opposite direction , bringing back the simple. “The owners of the restaurant (at Mayfair) have been after been after me for a couple of years to design a restaurant for this hotel,” explains Eismann. “They were focused around doing something that was fine dining, or a steakhouse. I convinced them to do something somewhat revolutionary and put a casual restaurant in the lobby of a four diamond hotel.”
Eismann is no stranger to Italian food. The pizza he created at Pizza Volente was voted the best in Miami. Just like in that restaurant, he is particular about using “ridiculously high quality ingredients,” even when it comes to the yeast and flour, though he freely admits that you wouldn’t know it by the (very) reasonable prices. The pizzas are also cooked in wood-fired ovens. “Pizza is a hot commodity now, so we create some really great pizza” says Eismann, who also giving pizza classes at Spartico.
“This isn’t a pizzeria,” clarifies Eismann. “but it centers around that. We do a lot of handcrafted pizzas.” You won’t run out of options to try at Spartico, including some with unusual toppings: a Capricciosa is sprinkled with shitake mushrooms, artichokes and marinated black olives; SOBE Vegetarian, which is full of wood-roasted vegetables; and Bianca is a white
pizza with four cheeses, baby arugula and crushed thyme. For those a little less adventurous, the standard Margherita has fresh and local tomatoes, mozzarella from a top cheese maker in Boca Raton, and basil just out of the garden. Old Italian favorites, like Eggplant Parmesan , and Spaghetti Bolognese can also be found on the menu.
There’s even breakfast pizza if you hit the restaurant early in the day. Uova Strapazzate comes with scrambled eggs and a choice of up to three toppings, but don’t worry if you want something a bit more old fashioned as you will find a breakfast buffet with lots of fresh fruit, cereal and yogurt here also. For lunch, the menu also has Italian sandwiches like a Panini Caprese and Chicken Parmigiano on a sub.
Jonathan Eismann is officially the food consultant at Spartico. He designed the restaurant and the recipes. He keeps a close eye on things, but relies on Chef Walter Delibero to execute his dishes. and has been quite happy with the results. Great Italian food isn’t the only thing you will find at the Mayfair Hotel. Don’t leave without also trying some of the cocktail
creations of Del Mendez, Head Bartender of the Mayfair Hotel, and a super mixologist.
by Marcia Frost