miami | Drink + Dine

Our Exclusive Interview with LEYNIA’s Executive Chef Jose Icardi

May 8, 2017
Written by: Yasha Wallin

As a native of Buenos Aires, and a culinary background that includes years at the helm of Katsuya at SLS South Beach, it comes as no surprise that Jose Icardi’s latest venture is a fusion of Argentinian and Japanese influences. LEYNIA at the Delano, which opened last month, is already receiving accolades from the likes of Eater, who named it one of “Miami’s Hottest Restaurants Right Now” because of its innovative menu which includes everything from Crab Benedict to traditional meats cooked on a wood-fired grill. To find out more, we caught up with Chef Icardi, below.

What can guests look forward to about dining at LEYNIA?
Great ambiance, the smell of the wood fire Parrilla, the amazing cocktail program, and, of course, a food journey from Argentina to Japan.

How did you decide to marry Argentinian and Japanese cuisines?
I was born and raised in Argentina, and I have been cooking Japanese food for the last ten years. They are my two favorite cuisines.

What’s a quintessential dish to try at LEYNIA?
All the dishes at Leynia are unique in flavor and cooking technique. For an appetizer, try the Provoleta or the smoked salmon cones with caviar. From “La Cosine Caliente,” the octopus and the empanadas are fantastic. And from “La Parrilla,” the meats are out of this world. The smoked chicken is one of my favorites.

How would you describe your food philosophy?
The concept is dynamic Argentinian cuisine with Japanese ingredients. Mine is based on seasonal, always fresh and sustainable ingredients. It’s all about seasoning and cooking with love.

When did you know you wanted to be a chef?
I believe I was in love with food since I was a baby! I started working in my family restaurant when I was ten years old. That’s when I realized that I wanted to be a chef and that I wanted to do that for the rest of my life.

How did you end up with sbe and what do you love about working with the company?
Four years ago they called me to offer me a position at the Katsuya at SLS South Beach. It’s been an amazing experience ever since. sbe is growing so fast, and we are all growing with the company. That’s the good thing: we never stop, it’s always a new challenge.

What’s your go-to when you’re just cooking for yourself?
Parrilla, that’s what I love to cook the most.