The underground pop-up Benh Mi served Vietnamese home meal kits throughout the pandemic, drawing the attention and loyalty of customers who found the Vietnamese specialties on Instagram.
Now, joined by his New York-based friend Michael Kaplan, Executive Chef Benjamin Murray is opening a brick and mortar restaurant on Española Way in Miami Beach.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Murray, fomerly Chef de Cuisine of Azul at the Mandarin Oriental, started reimagining the iconic Banh Mi sandwiches.
“I started creating Banh Mi sandwiches during this time because it is my favorite sandwich. It’s savory, sweet, acidic, crunchy, and soft bite after bite,” he says. “I call it a flavor bomb.”
Scheduled to open sometime in February or March, Benh Mi restaurant will serve the popular sandwiches, which come on baguettes with fillings like lemongrass meatballs, herb roasted pork and char siu mushtrooms. You’ll also be able to order sides like spring rolls or green papaya salad with mango. All ingredients are made in-house except the bread.
You can even order extra crunchy and spicy chicken tenders with one of Benh Mi’s famous sauces: Yuzu Kosho Ranch, Roasted Banana Ketchup or Tamarind BBQ.
Because Benh Mi will be open for breakfast as well as lunch, dinner and late-night dining, Murray and Kaplan are collaborating with Helen Kim of Oori Bakeshop for baked goods.
The restaurant will connect directly to the lobby of Esmé Miami Beach, a new boutique hotel scheduled to open in early 2021, and Murray and Kaplan plan to unveil pop-up events and other local collaborations once it opens.
Kaplan, who owns and operates New York City’s Two Forks, looks forward to working with his old friend.
”As terrible and tragic as this pandemic has been for everyone, especially our beloved restaurant industry, reconnecting with old friends and collaborating on exciting new projects has been a bit of a silver lining,” he says.
Where: 1436 Washington Ave., Miami Beach (Española Way)
Opening: February or March 2021