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A destination in itself
With its inventive cuisine, stunning architecture and surreal nightlife,
Karu&Y is expected to be the reason people flock to Miami when the highly anticipated restaurant and ultralounge opens in fall 2005
Miami – Amid a visual masterpiece where the architecture and cuisine create a culinary experience, guests at Miami’s most anticipated restaurant and ultralounge will have all five of their senses enlivened at Karu&Y, which represents the most expensive restaurant development project in Florida’s history.
With chef Gerdy Rodriguez’s version of author’s cuisine popularized in Spain - and an ambience of stunning elements like flowing water, frosted glass, rich colored marble and African wood – Karu&Y is the vision of Brazilian entrepreneur and international jetsetter Cesar Sotomayor. Karu, an upscale restaurant, and Y, a lavish ultralounge, will create a destination where guests can have dinner followed by cocktails and entertainment – in two separate locations under one roof.
Situated on the same property occupied by the Ice Palace, Miami’s renowned film and production facility, construction on Karu&Y is already underway. The $10 million 19,000-square-foot project – which also includes an 8,000-square-foot special events facility connected to the restaurant and ultralounge – will be a significant part of Miami’s rapidly emerging Entertainment District, which also includes the Performing Arts Center, a venue also under construction. Karu&Y also represents the latest chapter in the story of the man who is bringing the innovative destination to life.
A two-time Olympic swimmer for the Brazilian national team and a former commercial airline pilot for Varig, the stylish and charismatic Sotomayor developed the idea for Karu&Y from his passion for the South American Aborigine culture. He intends for Karu&Y to attract so much attention that it is the reason travelers visit Miami, not just a hot spot to experience while in Miami.
Fluent in five languages and the son of a U.N. diplomet, Sotomayor travels the world attending the elaborate parties in exotic locales. The 30-year-old Sotomayor’s frequent travels to the world’s finest restaurants and night spots hatched an idea for a concept of his own.
After leaving Varig to remain in Miami in 2001, Sotomayor accepted an offer from The Holiday Organization, one of the nation’s most prominent real estate development companies. He worked in the advertising department of the firm’s country club division before president Elliot Monter asked him to create a restaurant in Miami for Holiday’s Arrso Restaurants Co.
Karu&Y is not Sotomayor’s first foray in the hospitality industry. His family operated two restaurants, La Casa de la Esquina in Madrid and Lemone in South America. In the project that is Karu&Y, Sotomayor initially planned a restaurant alone. Then he discovered the cavernous space at the Ice Palace, and envisioned an immaculate destination consisting of an upscale restaurant on one side and a posh ultralounge on the other.
Popularized in Spain but unfamiliar to many Americans, author’s cuisine is one of the Karu&Y’s most innovative elements. The cuisine is brought to life in Miami by the Cuban-born Rodriguez, who was raised in Miami and perfected his trade working alongside some of the best chefs in town at Norman Van Aken’s Mundo and the former La Broche Miami.
Author’s cuisine includes a combination of science and artistry. Dishes prompt you to experience and contemplate the purity of each flavor. “Experience” is the operative word in this type of cuisine. Flavors are carefully introduced through mechanisms like smelling napkins that have been spritzed with aromas to enhance the dining experience. In the case of Spain’s chefs, the dishes incorporate unusual textures, aromas, flavor combinations, and contexts while stimulating the senses, pleasing the palate, and provoking thought.
“It’s different than traditional cooking. It’s like a science where everything is exact,” the Cuban-born Rodriguez said. “It's about taking fine ingredients and utilizing a progression of techniques, textures and temperatures in order to extract flavors without altering their taste. Once you have the unaltered flavor it can add new dimensions to accompanying ingredients.”
Designed by Miami architect Pepe Calderin, Karu&Y will have an aquatic theme with a futuristic feel. "Y" means "water" in the aboriginal language, Sotomayor explained. Visitors will enter the facility by crossing a bridge over a reflecting pool surrounded by thick glass walls. Water will fall from a glass roof above a bar into a reflecting pool in an outside patio. Bubble domes protrude from the ceiling of the lounge; and chandeliers designed by artist Dale Chihuly will dangle above dining room tables. Montreal artist Richard Boprae is creating a piece that will resemble flowing raindrops and cover an entire wall.
"We're creating an icon," Sotomayor said. “It will be a destination that will attract people from South Florida, across the country and around the world.”
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