Miami Living Magazine

Emily Procter

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FOOD You Can't Beat City Hall This exceptional eatery does your palate justice Words by Marla E. Schwartz • Photo credit: Andres Aravena City Hall, The Restaurant is the newest sensational dining establishment to enter Miami's foodie scene. And just as the role of city hall is to organize a town, owner Steve Haas and Executive Chef Tom Azar have judiciously created their own distinctive province. Haas, a native Miamian, has government experience as the first board chairman of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. Azar, a Chicago native, began working with Master Chef Emeril Lagasse right after graduation from culinary school. His career took him to New Orleans, Orlando and Miami, where he presently pleases patrons at City Hall. The revered executive chef took some time to answer some questions about his signature dishes, Emeril and more. Miami Living: You're creating a huge buzz at City Hall, how were you approached for the job? Tom Azar: Steve and I met through a mutual acquaintance. We met in-person and I agreed to do a food tasting for Steve at my home. Steve asked that I make a Timpano, which I had heard of but never actually made. To Steve's surprise, my first time making it was a success and the next day he offered me the position. ML: It's my understanding that the Timpano is becoming your signature dish. TA: I guess you can say this dish is a signature due to the uniqueness of it and how people relate it to our restaurant. It's a big baked pasta dish with Italian sausage, meatballs, three different types of pasta, three different types of cheese and marinara sauce, all baked in a pasta shell. ML: Tell me about the House Blend Meatloaf. TA: This is a dish designed for City Hall. We found the perfect recipe through trial and error and ate a lot of meatloaf in the process. One of the major components that makes ours special is combining beef, pork and veal with chorizo macaroni and cheese. ML: Tell me about your participation in the 2012 Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival. TA: City Hall – the Restaurant will be participating in Thrillist's BBQ & The Blues. ML: Emeril will be attending this year; do you have any plans to reconnect? TA: It sure would be nice to spend some time with Emeril but he's a very busy man. ML: What is the most essential component of the food industry that you learned from Emeril? TA: Chef Emeril is a very detail-oriented individual. If there was one thing I took from him in the sixteen years I spent with him in the kitchen, it's the importance of details and tasting and the seasoning of the food, among many other lessons. ML: What's your favorite dish? TA: My all-time favorite dish is a big pile of boiled crawfish with corn on the cob, new potatoes, and Andouille sausage with a pitcher of Abita Amber. I'm also Lebanese, so I enjoy authentic Lebanese food as well. My favorite dish at City Hall is both the House Blend Meatloaf and the fried chicken. ML: Do you have advice for people starting out? TA: Don't be in such a hurry to become a chef. Take the time to really learn the craft; eat out a lot, read lots of magazines and cookbooks. ML: Please feel free to add anything at all. TA: City Hall is a great restaurant to visit before or after performances and concerts in the area. Also, during Art Walk, we're a perfect dining option, since we are located just blocks away from the hustle and bustle of that monthly event. If you want to meet this culinary phenom, he'll be at the Eden Roc Renaissance, February 25th via For information about City Hall call 305-764-3130 or go to ML MIAMILIVING 71

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