Firm, glistening cubes of watermelon bear a striking resemblance to high-end raw tuna, which is precisely why chef Todd Erickson chose the juicy fruit as the foundation for the restaurant’s vegan poke ($7). To make the dish taste like the Hawaiian raw fish salad, he enhances the watermelon with Asian ingredients such as kombu broth, yuzu vinaigrette, sweet tamari, nori shavings, and sesame seeds. Baby mushrooms and crunchy lotus flower root help round out this refreshing, umami-laden starter.
Erickson is the executive chef at GLAM, which is short for “Green Living Animals Matter.” It opened in midtown earlier this summer, marking the well-known toque’s first foray into helming an exclusively vegan kitchen. Erickson isn’t vegan, but the restaurant’s vegan owner, Janette Miller, sought him out, and the two instantly connected. A former interior designer, Miller recognized that Miami lacked an eatery serving elevated plant-based fare that was also approachable and affordable.