You have to get to other downtown Miami power lunch spots by noon or you won’t find a seat. That’s not the case at PM Fish & Steakhouse, where the lunch crowd doesn’t really show up until 1 p.m. — but sometimes stays until midnight.
It’s the Latin American way, explains general manager Levy Gomez.
“The Latin American people come for power lunch at 1, and they stay here very late sometimes — sometimes until midnight,” Gomez said. “They mix business with socializing.”
PM Buenos Aires Fish & Steak House at 1453 S. Miami Ave., next door to 600 Brickell, has definitely captured the Latin American crowd of power brokers in town to cut multimillion-dollar deals. But the restaurant, with a new lunch menu, has made great strides in winning over Miami’s power elite, including former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, Holland & Knight managing partner Steve Sonberg and high-powered private banker Alfred Bunge of JPMorgan & Co.
The eatery has also gained popularity with athletes like Michael Jordan, who downs tequila shots and ribsteak, and Scottie Pippen, and celebrities like Enrique Iglesias.
“They do a nice job of hitting all the crowds,” said Lida Rodriguez-Taseff, a partner at Duane Morris in Miami. “It’s a great place to see and be seen.”
Rodriguez-Taseff recently hosted a dinner at PM for Latino Justice, a New York-based civil rights group with which she is affiliated.
“They were coming to Miami from New York and wanted me to pick a restaurant,” Rodriguez-Taseff said. The group lingered “for many hours.”
“They’ve gotten a lot better in catering to the business crowd,” noted Rafael Ribeiro, a partner at Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod, located next door. “It used to be incredibly expensive for lunch, but now they offer lunch specials. There are two crowds that go there, the ones that have to be in and out in an hour and those that stay for awhile with a bottle of wine.”
PM, short for Puerto Madero, a port in Buenos Aires, opened in Miami in December 2011. The owners own other PM restaurants in Mexico City and Cancun.
As you’d expect from an Argentinian eatery, steak has a prominent place on the menu — including skirt steak, short ribs, tenderloin, ribeye and New York strip. But the real star at PM is the fish.
The restaurant is known for its grilled octopus seared in a touch of olive oil, sea salt and fresh pepper. It’s the most popular item on both the lunch and dinner menu. Tuna steak and whitefish of the day also are popular, Gomez said.
Starting with no advertising, the restaurant has slowly grown its business through word of mouth, he said. “The owners had a vision, and they wanted to be on Brickell,” he said. “Now the area has grown so big, and we have grown with it.”
On a recent visit with Holland & Knight partners Jose Sirven, Robert Pupo and George Mencio, we shared two appetizers, the tuna tartare with citrus soy sauce and the octopus carpaccio. Both were prepared in a way I had never seen before — sliced paper thin and stretched across a long plate. I would definitely order them again. We also shared the restaurant’s signature side of souffle potatoes — a spud version of popcorn with tiny pieces of potato somehow blown up with air. What a fun accompaniment to the meal.
After diving into the trio of appetizers, I opted for a light lunch — the fragata salad featuring smoked salmon, portobello mushrooms and brie cheese over hearts of lettuce and drizzled with a balsamic reduction.
My companions ordered the fish special, branzino, which came with a side of freshly cooked vegetables.
“The fish was fresh and simply grilled but was very tasty and matched up well with the vegetables,” said Sirven, who knows a bit about fine dining since his son is a gourmet chef.
“I like the fact that you can get fresh seafood and a variety of it, and you can also get good cuts of beef,” he said. “At some beef places, you can’t get fish or vegetarian. It’s either beef or more beef, so you can’t take people who don’t eat red meat. I like the variety they offer.”
Sirven and Pupo recently hosted clients from New York, Hermes Growth Partners, at PM for lunch. The group of six sat outside on a back patio that features a fountain.
“It was a mutual choice,” noted Sirven, who also power lunches at Truluck’s, next door to his office.
For Ribeiro, PM is a good place to talk business with clients, woo prospective laterals or associates, or enjoy a celebratory lunch. He recently feted his departing secretary there.
“I have fish or steak,” he said. “It’s definitely quieter and nicer than Novecento and not as geriatric as Edge at the Four Seasons. I think it will make it.”