Ines Chattas, the Argentina born and bred chef /owner of Miami’ s popular Open Kitchen, as well as the chef/ operator of restaurants in two residential buildings in tony Bal Harbour, FL, has been appointed the new culinary director of the kosher UN Plaza Grill. She is the first Jewish person (and first woman) to be in charge of the restaurant’s menu since it opened in late 2017; she has been tasked with revitalizing the menu to make it more contemporary and expand its international influences.
Both goals are right up the alley of a chef who is a big fan of revisiting classics to make them more modern and who credits her love of traveling, as well as a multi-cultural heritage which includes Lebanese, Georgian / Ukrainian and Italian antecedents, with the fact her menus are eclectic and globally inspired. Chattas’s menu for UN Plaza Grill ( executed in concert with chef de cuisine Raymond Sanchez) will incorporate new Eastern Mediterranean and Eastern European accents and feature such dishes as:
Spiced Kefta Meatballs, tomato-roasted garlic sauce, parsley, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon
Mezze Platter, served with pickled vegetables and zaatar pita chips – traditional hummus, beet hummus, babaganoush
Chicken Matzoh Ball Soup, zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, dill
Pickled Beet Salad, baby arugula, cherry tomato, pistachio, tahini dressing
Veal Chop Schnitzel, baby arugula, cherry tomatoes, baby cucumber, Kalamata olives, roasted potatoes
Braised Boneless Short Ribs, prunes, red wine, balsamic, mashed potatoes
Roasted Half Duck, apricot-lemon zest sauce, herbed cous cous
Pan Roasted Alaskan Salmon Fillet, Asian glaze, sesame jasmine rice
Spaghetti with vegetables, lemon-garlic-white wine sauce, zaatar, parsley
Potato Gnocchi, short rib ragout, spiced tomatoes
She has also reimagined the UN Plaza Grill’s sushi offerings with the likes of a Nigiri Flight, tuna, salmon, spicy tuna, caramelized teriyaki salmon and a Sushi Tower, salmon, tuna, avocado, spicy mayo, Teriyaki, sesame. In addition, Chattas has devised new sauces for the restaurant’s grilled specialties, including rosemary fuego aioli for the Center Cut Rib Eye, mint pesto for the Lamb Chops and lemon-tarragon sauce for the Boneless Grilled Chicken.
Chattas describes her cooking style as straight forward, based on a respect for ingredients and their natural flavors. She notes the food she prepares for her restaurants is what she likes to eat. That embraces a broad spectrum of cuisines with which she has experience and she is always exploring the utilization of ingredients and techniques new to her. Indeed, Chattas’s interest in food as something beyond fuel began as a child. She was drawn to trying unfamiliar flavors, never afraid to experience new dishes. And she’s proud to see the same is true of her 14-year old son, since he was a very small child.
A graduate of the International Buenos Aires Hotel & Restaurant School, Chattas moved to the U.S. in 1997 to embark on a hospitality career that included management positions at Coconut Grove, FL’s Wyndham Grand Bay Hotel and Miami Beach’s Icebox Café before launching Open Kitchen in 2011. There, she developed a loyal following, drawn to restaurant’s stylishly homey food and ambiance, and built a robust catering operation. Her keen restaurant business acumen and the popularity of her globally influenced food prompted Bal Harbour’s Majestic Tower to recruit her to take on its residents-only restaurant as chef / operator in 2015. Her success there brought Chattas to the attention of the nearby Balmoral Condominium for its private restaurant, where she became chef / operator five years later.
The owner of UN Plaza Grill resides in the Majestic Tower and frequents its restaurant, where he met Chattas and became enamored of her food. Desirous of revitalizing the menu of his own restaurant he sought her advice. His conversations with her led him to engage Chattas as his new culinary director.