John Iatrellis stood on the patio outside of Lure Fishbar at Loews Miami Beach and spread out his arms.
“How could you not like this?’’ Iatrellis said as he looked over the South Beach resort’s pool area and Atlantic Ocean.
Iatrellis, executive chef at Lure Fishbar, is a bit bias, of course, having been born and raised in Miami. Seafood and Latin and Caribbean flavors (as well as his Greek heritage) are parts of his DNA.
“Being here in South Florida, with such a large Hispanic community, I want to serve good quality foods that people can relate to and enjoy,’’ said Iatrellis, who opened Lure Fishbar two years ago after more than 10 years at the legendary The Forge restaurant in Miami Beach.
There’s no better time to enjoy iatrellis’ creations at Lure Fishbar – one of Miami’s great seafood restaurants – than during Miami Spice, which goes through Sept. 30.
Unlike many other Miami restaurants participating in the annual culinary event, Iatrellis’ Miami Spice dinner menu ($39) doesn’t skimp on portions. That is, Lure’s Miami Spice menu serves the same size portions as on its regular menu, which is one of the deepest in South Florida.
“That wouldn’t be fair to our customers,’’ Iatrellis said. “And I never bring in inferior products. I want people to come in and get a three-course meal at a really good price.’’
Lure Fishbar’s Miami Spice menu is one of the best of the event and, naturally, features a variety of seafood options, Yellowtail Snapper with mango-jicama salad, boniato cake and spiced passion fruit reduction.
“Very Caribbean, very Latin and very light,’’ Iatrellis said.
Other seafood entrees are a Shrimp Risotto with confit of tomato, scallions, chorizo and cilantro, uni-crème; and a Miso Glazed Salmon with sugar snap peas, shiitake mushrooms and sesame seeds.
Lure’s Miami Spice appetizers includes a Raw Bar platter of dressed oysters, shrimp and middleneck clams.
“A beautiful way to start the Miami Spice experience,’’ Iatrellis said.
If you’re looking for a seafood specialty on Lure’s regular menu, try the Grilled Whole Daurade with watercross, grilled lemon and agrodolce – great flavors and great presentation.
Want beef? The Miami Spice menu offers a Skirt Steak with leek chutney, spicy guava reduction and yuka tostones.
“It has a couple of the same flavor profiles as the Yellowtail Snapper,’’ Iatrellis said.
Some days Lure’s Bash Burger is substituted for the skirt steak. Just in case you’re wondering what a seafood restaurant knows about cooking a burger, consider that Iatrellis won the 2014 South Beach Food & Wine Festival’s Burger Bash with this same burger that features three blends of meat, caramelized onions, bacon jam, shaved pickles and American cheese. The 2014 Burger Bash trophy is on display just inside the restaurant’s front doors.
“It’s a very simple burger but packed with flavor,’’ Iatrellis said.
“Packed with flavor.’’ That’s pretty much the mantra for everything on Lure’s menu.
“This restaurant operates very clean, very clean and very fresh,’’ Iatrellis said. “We don’t like to mask our foods. We like to let our proteins speak for themselves and let them take center stage.’’
And receive a standing ovation.