Chef Michael Beltran is blazing a trail in Miami’s culinary world by fusing the flavors of his Cuban roots with contemporary farm-inspired cooking. Boasting a proud pedigree consisting of impressive stints at revered eateries such as Tuyo, Norman’s 180, Local Craft Food & Drink and most recently Cypress Room, Beltran certainly knows his way around quality ingredients, diverse dishes and expert execution. At Ariete he proudly pioneers his “New World American” approach to cooking along with partner and restaurateur Jason Odio in their Native Sons projects.
Beltran grew up in Little Havana where every night his family would gather around the table for a traditional Cuban meal, except on game nights. He learned the ins and out of working a dining room and kitchen (from bartender to line cook) at Miami institution Casa Juancho in Little Havana. Stints followed at Red Fish Grill, Norman Van Aken’s Norman’s 180 in the Gables, and Alberto Cabrera’s Local Craft Food & Drink.
Under the tutelage of founding father of New World Cuisine Norman Van Aken at his Norman’s 180 restaurant, Beltran was not just able to learn the foundation for fine dining — from curing charcuterie to use of acids to the stratification of sauces- but to master proper technique and flawless execution. That perseverance and attention to detail earned him the title of sous chef at Tuyo and subsequently at Michael Schwartz’s Cypress Room where Beltran was part of the opening team alongside Thomas Keller prot?g? and chef de cuisine Roel Alcudia. Akin to Norman’s, Cypress Room received a three and a half star rating from the Miami Herald during Beltran’s tenure as sous chef.
In summer of 2015, Beltran left Cypress Room to chase his dream of helming his own kitchen after reconnecting with high school friend, nightlife veteran, and Sidebar owner Jason Odio. They hit on a spot in Coconut Grove and named it Ariete – an homage to his grandparents, who worked at a restaurant by the same name in Cuba.
At Ariete, which opened in just January of 2016, Beltran works with seasonal and native ingredients as well as global flavors to present dishes like foie gras and plantains cut with sour orange reduction and a pastrami-cured grilled short rib, already garnering a cult following amongst the food obsessed. The young restaurant has already garnered its share of accolades, earning a three-star review from the Miami Herald. And when the restaurant was only open three months they were invited to participate in SBWFF’s Best of the Best by festival founder Lee Schrager who was so impressed with Beltran’s sophisticated cooking.
Shortly after opening Ariete Beltran and Odio teamed up again to open Baby Jane, a neighborhood bar offering remastered classics in a comfortable tavern-style setting. Working within the canon of gastropub cuisine Beltran composed a menu of approachable-yet-elevated dishes like duck and foie gras croquetas, pork belly with plantains and burrata with pine nut salad.