Continuing the Tantra tradition
Miami Beach, FL - Tantra Restaurant in South Beach has drawn
international attention for its grass floor, Feng Shui-inspired design
and aphrodisiac cuisine menu. It is also renowned as the "cradle of
Since Michael Jacobs crafted the initial menu of aphrodisiac cuisine,
Tantra has developed the reputation as a haven for young, creative
chefs in Miami.
They have garnered awards at Tantra and now occupy the helm at premier
restaurants in the United States. Jacobs, for example, was named one of
the nation's "rising stars" by Restaurants and Institutions. His
successor, Michelle Bernstein, is now the executive chef of Azul and is
a Food Network personality. Willis Loughhead, who was nominated for a
Beard Foundation National Award, is now an executive chef at the
Ritz-Carlton in Coconut Grove.
Tantra's current executive chef, Sandee Birdsong, worked as a personal
chef for 15 years, specializing in dishes inspired by Southern herbs
and spices, before joining Tantra.
The floor of fresh cut grass, flowing water walls, the aroma of
jasmine-scented candles, images of Kama Sutra showcased on a big screen
behind the mahogany and copper bar, and a fiber-optic starry sky with a
shooting star are examples of how Tantra enlivens the senses even
before the aphrodisiac cuisine arrives. Birdsong tantalizes the senses
of taste and smell when her menu selections arrive at the table.
Birdsong, who was raised in Georgia on St. Simon's Island, developed an
interest for cooking - southern style - at an early age from her
family, who operated a restaurant that specialized in southern food.
"My grandmother and mother taught me the importance of herbs and spices
in cooking," Birdsong said. "They are the ones who inspired me to
become a chef."
When he developed the concept for Tantra, Tim Hogle was urged by
marketing advisors and restaurant industry professionals to forget his
idea for aphrodisiac cuisine. It was too controversial and gimmicky,
they said. Hogle; however, firmly believed in his concept for a
restaurant based on the ancient Indian/Tibetan art of Tantra, which is
designed to heighten all five senses. This is accomplished through the
restaurant's décor, ambience and cuisine.
In the world's earliest days, when humans were tribal in nature, food
was spiced not for taste, but for virility and for medicinal purposes.
Tantra's menu features aphrodisiacs from around the world, including
filet mignon drizzled in coffee sauce, seared rare tuna with
truffle-foie gras sauce, and ginger kissed salmon.
"We use only the finest ingredients. Many of our vegetables and meats
are organic. So are the herbs and spices," Birdsong explained. "That is
an important component of giving each guest a sensory experience."
The moment you walk through the door and onto the live grass floor, you
discover that Tantra Restaurant and Lounge is different. Yet the fresh
sod is just the beginning of an odyssey that enlivens all five of your
Reflecting an ancient Middle Eastern philosophy that emphasizes
spiritual enlightenment, Tantra has long been a hot spot of
celebrities, jetsetters and curious palates with its acclaimed
aphrodisiac cuisine, sensual new age music, fragrant incense and
jasmine-scented candles. The restaurant's exotic décor includes a
softly illuminated marble water wall, a fiber optic starlit ceiling,
and a copper and mahogany bar.
Tantra's menu features flavors and textures that span the globe, and each dish is created with aphrodisiac elements.
The Tantra Love Apple, boasting a sliced ripe Homestead tomato layered
with Laura Chenel goat cheese, basil oil, and Cypress Grove Bermuda
Triangle garnished with fresh pomegranate seeds, is an ideal starter.
So is the Tantra Plate, a unique blend of the most potent aphrodisiacs
such as Pacific oysters, tender poached jumbo shrimp, thin sliced
Japanese calamari salad, succulent sweet soy grilled eel, twin flash
fried Lobster wontons, a large stone crab claw, and a spicy roll of
sushi tuna and wakame seaweed with wasabi kiwi sorbet.
Examples of main courses include the Chilled Maine Lobster Napoleon,
Grilled Sonoma Foie Gras, Ginger Kissed Salmon or Grilled Filet Mignon
with Cuban Coffee Sauce.
"From the moment you walk in, Tantra is all about sharpening the
senses," Birdsong said. "The décor and ambience heightens the senses.
Then the cuisine fulfills the complete Tantra experience."
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