Behind every great restaurant, there’s a creative, talented force that brings forth passion, dedication and excellence to every bite. The partnership between Chef Sean Brasel and co-owner David Tornek exudes such dynamic force that after 13 years together they continue to create the hottest see-and-be-seen restaurants in the business, by virtue of Brasel’s exquisite cuisine, Tornek’s innovative concepts, and their combined talent for exceeding diners’ expectations. Their award-winning creation, Meat Market – a sizzling contemporary American steakhouse with a bustling vibe that has taken the Miami and beyond, by storm.
Born in Colorado, Brasel dreamed of being a chef as a young boy. He got his start as a sous chef at Cliff Young’s in Denver, taking the helm shortly thereafter. The talented chef soon won a prestigious scholarship to Madeline Kamman’s School for American Chefs in Napa Valley, beating out more than 2,000 applicants. Upon graduation, Brasel returned to Denver to start a restaurant-consulting business, and it was while he was working at an Italian concept, that he met his future business partner, David Tornek. In 1994 they opened several successful restaurants in Colorado before relocating to South Florida, launching Touch in the heart of South Beach on Lincoln Road. The restaurant went on to garner acclaim for Brasel’s ambitious contemporary American cuisine as well as a well-earned reputation as a see-and-be-seen hotspot by virtue of its sexy ambiance, celebrity diners and offbeat entertainment.
As Touch restaurant quickly gained notoriety, Brasel became a go-to talent for off-site catering, eventually leading to the creation of Touch Catering in 2005. A wildly successful venture from the get-go, Touch Catering has drawn big name clients (the Super Bowl and BMW to name a few) and positioned Chef Brasel and David Tornek as superstars in South Florida’s catering circuit. After taking an amazing offer and selling the building where Touch restaurant was situated, Brasel and Tornek focused much of their work on bringing the contemporary American steakhouse into the 21st century with Meat Market. “Touch had such an amazing run and remained successful since it opened in 2000, but it was time to bring forth a new, fresh concept to the South Florida dining scene,” says Tornek.
Since its inception in 2008, Meat Market has been a staple on the Miami Beach scene and was even touted by Condé Nast Traveler as one of “Miami’s Buzziest Restaurants.” For Meat Market, Brasel has created a menu that embraces the staples of a classic steakhouse – a variety of prime cuts, generous portions of innovative seafood, amazing sides and appetizers, top notch wine list – but infuses it all with an artful, contemporary spin. “We want to appeal to those looking for a more ‘traditional experience’ as well as more adventurous diners,” he says. To that end, Meat Market also features a posh Crudo Bar, an eclectic, sumptuous raw bar featuring seafood delicacies, as well as an affordable bar menu ideal for a light bite or dinner, with a perfect perch for people watching. Menu standouts include White Truffle “American Style” Kobe Tartare with capers, chopped egg, red onions and parmesan flatbread; Roasted Cauliflower with lemon, parsley, capers, parmesan, evoo and cauliflower puree; Prime Short Rib featuring Certified Angus Beef, Niman Ranch Prime, parsnip pudding, coffee demi and sour cherry tropical braised; Buffalo Tenderloin Steak with a chili and espresso rub, topped with bittersweet chocolate mole butter; and Umami Half Duck featuring leg confit, coffee crusted breast, bittersweet chocolate sauce and doughnut ginger marmalade. Sides also delight with truffle creamed corn, scalloped potatoes with goat cheese, lobster mac and cheese, truffle mashed potatoes, and Gouda tater-tots.
Meat Market is a see-and-be-seen dining destination and as a result, Brasel has cooked for some of the most well-known celebrities in the world, from professional athletes like Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Scottie Pippen and Alex Rodriguez and Hollywood big-names like Jerry Bruckheimer to famed culinary personalities like Emeril Lagasse and Guy Fieri.
A well-known name in the culinary scene, Brasel is not only a go-to chef/restauranteur in the South Florida broadcast market but he has also appeared on a number of national television shows including The Food Network’s Chopped, Esquire Network’s Knife Fight, and TLC’s Miami Ink, where he did a cooking demonstration on-air for Kat Von D. Brasel can also navigate his way in a galley, thanks to his experience as a celebrity chef on Royal Celebrity Cruise in the Caribbean in 2011 and Holland America’s Alaskan cruise in July 2013.
A long-time ambassador for Certified Angus Beef and Goya Foods, Brasel is a well-respected name in the culinary community. He contributes, not only his talent, but his time to a number of non-profit organizations, including March of Dimes, No Kid Hungry, Share Our Strength, FLIPANY, Diabetes Research Institute Foundation, among others.
Meat Market is located at 915 Lincoln Road on South Beach and in Palm Beach at 191 Bradley Place. www.meatmarket.net Meat Market is also located in Puerto Rico at the El San Juan Hotel.