Minty Z, the plant-based restaurant concept showcasing Asian fusion cuisine, has been a Coconut Grove mainstay since opening in 2021. Now, chef/owner Alex Falco along with his wife Huimin Zhu (aka Minty Z and the restaurant’s muse) and partner Ignacio Lopez-Mancisdor have opened a second location of the dim sum destination in the heart of Midtown Miami at 3451 NE First Avenue. With an indoor/outdoor seating capacity of 50, the full-service restaurant is now open daily for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, delivering cuisine that is wholly plant-based.
According to Falco in a statement, “We consider Minty Z to be an Asian dim sum restaurant that also happens to be vegan. I think that if they still exist, we are doing a great job of disproving any stereotypes about plant-based cooking. There is so much creativity and flavor and substance in all of our dishes that no one leaves hungry. You don’t need to be vegan or vegetarian to enjoy our food.”
The menu includes items such as Bao Buns which are made fresh and in the traditional Chinese-style. Classic buns are pan fried and filled with “prosperity beef” filling – Minty Z’s version of plant-based beef, glazed with hoisin sauce and a side of coconut yogurt dipping sauce. The steamed King Oyster Mushroom Bao are stuffed with mushrooms, jalapeno and crispy onions and served with a chili mayo sauce for dipping. Sesame Seitan Wings with a sweet sambal sauce are spicy and tender; Kung Pao Tofu offers a classic Chinese dining experience made healthy but no less delicious with snow peas, chiles and peanuts, served with brown rice. Larger dishes include standouts such as Thai Curry Cauliflower with coconut Massaman, peanuts, pickled herbs and chili oil; Wok-fried Wild Mushrooms comprised of a variety of fresh king oyster, shiitake and hon shimeji mushrooms and Massaman Curry Noodles, a customer favorite of thick noodles, crispy tofu, snow peas, peanuts, chili and lime. All are served with a variety of perfectly spiced house-made sauces.
Minty Z is a labor of love for chef/co-owner Alex Falco. After more than a decade working in acclaimed restaurants in both the UK and New York, Falco’s palate began to evolve and he became vegan in 2018. Minty, also a hospitality professional, embraced a fully plant-based diet as well in 2019 and the two decided to move to Miami to open a business that reflected their twin culinary passions and inspirations: plant-based cooking and Asian cuisine. After a brief foray with a vegan food truck, they began selling their creations at farmers markets, particularly the legendary Coconut Grove Organic Farmers Market where they gained a devoted following for their made-from-scratch kim chi, bao buns and dumplings. The pandemic arrived and although it limited their public-facing opportunities at first, it afforded them time for research and development to really perfect their recipes, creating dishes that took plant-based Asian cuisine to the next level. In December 2020 they opened Minty Z at 3206 Grand Avenue in Coconut Grove with an opening menu that expanded well beyond their farmers market fare.
Encouraged by the success of the restaurant and with the support of Lopez-Mancisdor, who had become a Minty Z superfan and ultimately became friends with the couple, the team decided to expand.
“I love to bring non-vegan or non-vegetarian friends to Minty Z just to watch their reactions when they realize how delicious the food is,” concurs Lopez-Mancisdor. “Once I discovered the restaurant in Coconut Grove I knew that I wanted to be part of any future plans for the concept. Midtown is such a wonderful spot for our new location. It has a great mix of residents and visitors and is already established as a restaurant Mecca. We’re thrilled to be open and to see folks embrace what Minty Z has to offer.”
The restaurant has a whimsical vibe, awash with a central mural, bright colors and cheerful Asian-accented decor. Wine, beer, sake and sake cocktails are served. There is also the online shop which offers up many of the restaurant’s housemade signature sauces and products including black sesame caramel, cauliflower kimchi, dragon sauce and ginger tamari sauce as well as frozen bao buns.
Minty Z is open seven days a week serving lunch and dinner daily with brunch on weekends. Minty Z Midtown is located at 3451 NE First Avenue. Minty Z Coconut Grove is located at 3206 Grand Avenue.