Miami’s high season is taking shape, and the Four Seasons at The Surf Club welcomes this with returning culinary residencies. Detroit’s modern Lebanese eatery, Leila, named by GQ as one of the best new restaurants in America when it opened in 2020, returns to Winston’s on the Beach, the hotel’s casual poolside dining spot, until May 31, 2023. New York-based Michelin-starred Kosaka has also returned, once again calling the hotel’s Hemingway Tower its Miami home, until February 4, 2023.
The specific locations within The Surf Club were selected to best meet each of the restaurants’ individual operational requirements, and to best reflect their respective atmospheres. “Kosaka is an intimate experience so they needed a small space that they could provide a very individualized atmosphere,” shares Keith Space, President of Fort Hospitality, the ownership of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts’ South Florida Collection. “Eating omakase at a bar counter is very traditional and Hemingway Tower was the perfect fit. For Leila, we needed a location that personified the fresh salads, produce and flavors of the Mediterranean cuisine. The outdoor venue of Winston’s on the Beach, especially during the sunset was the perfect backdrop. The warm open space and fresh air are the perfect complement to Leila’s experience.”
“We are expecting both Kosaka and Leila to return next year,” Space discloses. “In fact, we are currently working on plans to have both restaurants in permanent locations within Surfside.”
Leila, which was founded by chef Samy Eid in downtown Detroit as a tribute to his mother, offers Miami the restaurant’s signature dishes, which were inspired by his mother’s Sunday feasts.
Hummus, muhammara, baba ghanoush and labneh are cold mezze staples. Must-orders from the hot mezze include eggplant fettah, where roasted eggplant and is served with fried pita, pomegranate seeds and molasses—with or without lamb—and batata harra, twice-fried spiced potatoes, which can also double as a side for the mains.
Popular mains include grilled branzino served with chickpeas, tomatoes and jalapenos, and the mixed grill of tawook, kebab and kafta. For vegans and plant-based diners, mjaddara, the spicy Lebanese salad of lentils, cracked wheat, tomatoes and onions is a hearty course, easily enjoyed with a side of green beans dressed with sumac, and served with caramelized onions and chard.
The beverage program is a combination of Leila’s original cocktails—Lebanita (tequila, spiced pear, honey, almond, lemon) and Anne Hathaway (vodka, elderflower, cucumber, lime, mint rose flower)—and Winston’s on the Beach. Lebanese wines from Massaya and Chateau Musar are also available by the glass or by the bottle.
“The Surf Club’s chef Gino Betancourt traveled to Detroit during the summer and trained with us at Leila, where he specialized in all our dishes and fully embraced Mediterranean cuisine. He will be behind Leila’s kitchen together with the constant visits of the Leila team and myself,” Eid shares. “The goal is to bring the authentic Leila experience to Miami.”
Leila at The Surf Club is open Wednesdays to Sundays from 6 PM to 9:30 PM. Kosaka at The Surf Club is open Tuesdays to Sundays, with select seating available from 5:30 PM to 9:30 PM. Reservations can be made for both residencies through Open Table. Accessible seating is also available upon request.