On Display at Jaya at The Setai Miami Beach
By Steve Pike
The Setai Miami Beach is one of the world’s great hotels, an 81-year-old, five-star architectural masterpiece that defines South Beach Florida’s Art Deco expression and movement. It’s only fitting, therefore, that the hotel be complemented by an equally celebrated restaurant. Welcome to Jaya at The Setai, a Pan-Asian restaurant that shows off dishes from Thailand, Vietnam, Korea, India, China, and Japan, each under the direction of Executive Chef Vijayudu Veena.
Veena, from Hyderabad, India, joined the hotel’s team in 2008 and quickly moved up the kitchen hierarchy. He was named executive chef this past November. Veena’s menus reflect his spicy and flavorful background by creating dishes inspired from his childhood and using his classically trained techniques to develop new flavors while maintaining culinary harmony. His combination of classic, rich Indian flavors along with ingredients from other regions of Asia, including China, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan and Malaysia, create dishes that make Jaya one of the Miami Beach “must-visit’’ restaurants.
Jaya also serves breakfast (go with the Eggs Benedict) and lunch menus, as well as an outstanding Sunday Jazz Brunch that features carving stations and limitless Louis Roederer Champagne and Bloody Mary’s.
Let’s stay with the dinner menu. The Sashimi plate (salmon, hamachi, tuna, wasabi, ginger, and ponzu dressing) is a delicious work of art. The Hamachi plate (yuzu juice, avocado, hearts of palm, mango, red onions, and watermelon radishes) pays tribute to South Florida’s local farms. If you’re looking for a Dim Sum plate, try the Truffle Dumplings.
Among Jaya’s signature dishes is Peking Duck, a must-have entrée featuring roasted duck, scallions, steam pancakes, cucumbers, and bean sauce. The Lamb Shank, recently added to the dinner menu, features braised tomatoes, cumin, turmeric, cilantro, and basmati rice. It’s full of flavor and a great dish for sharing. “We want people to enjoy the food,’’ said Executive Sous Chef Ivan Monzon. “We want them to have fun and maybe share some dishes.’’ Then again, Jaya’s dishes are so good, you might not want to share.