Miranda – A Love Story
(Originally published on thelatinkitchen.com, copyright August 2012)
As soon as Mauricio Miranda and his wife, Sasha, signed the lease for their namesake restaurant, buyer’s remorse set in. “…We started realizing next door is an abandoned building where homeless people lived and we’re like, ‘what are we doing? What is wrong with us?’ But…we loved it here”. Today, the scene could not be more different. That abandoned building is now a high-rise apartment building, the streets are busy late into the night, and Miranda is one of the best meals in the city, Brooklyn or otherwise.
The menu at Miranda draws on Sasha’s classic Italian training at CIA, as well as her love of the Latin flavors and techniques she grew up with in Queens as the daughter of a Dominican father. Sasha’s interest in Italian cuisine was sparked by childhood dinners at an Italian family friend’s house, “I would go over to do homework and [dinner] was a whole production… antipasti and pasta, meat, cheese, fruit and dessert. I enjoyed the idea of not just having everything on one plate”. Mauricio, who was raised by his grandparents in Guerrero, Mexico, says his biggest culinary influence was watching his family harvest salsa ingredients from their vegetable garden. “Tomatoes, chile peppers, corn, watermelon, anything that would end up on the table, we would grow it”.
Crowds flock to Miranda for Sasha’s innovative Latin-Italian fusion cuisine. Dishes like Ñoqui Verde — potato-kale dumplings with chipotle-braised chicken is a fun play on the classic primi course, spicy and hearty. The arancini, stuffed with chorizo, is second to none. Throw in Mauricio’s new cocktail list with seasonal ingredients and there’s little incentive to leave!
Sasha and Mauricio met while working at Verbena, in New York. Although they can’t agree on who wooed who, they do agree that it was their love of food that brought them together. As Mauricio remembers, “The most important thing I noticed about Sasha when we met was all we talked about was food. Stuff we liked. Stuff we’d… tasted, different styles of cooking. We would cook. That’s when I started noticing, this was the girl.”
Miranda is located at 80 Berry Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 718.387.0711; www.mirandarestaurant.com. Reservations accepted; accepts all major credit cards.
Photo Credit: Anne-Laure D’hooghe