Food

Arson Brings Fire Front and Center with the Flaming Whole Dorado

Liz Grossman

While most of the live fire dances behind the scenes at Miami’s Arson, one entrée in particular brings the flames front and center in the dark dining room: the flaming whole dorado. “When we sell the first one of the night and it comes out burning, everyone looks at it,” says Chef Deme Lomas of the dish, “and then every other table orders one.” But before its fiery debut, the whole fish is covered with a thick mix of salt, pepper and herbs (like rosemary and thyme) and takes a turn in the charcoal-filled Josper oven in the back. Once the fish is ready, it’s placed on a platter, doused with Pernod, lit tableside and ogled by everyone until the flames go down. “I like a little show in the restaurant,” says Lomas. Once the flames are gone and the last cell phone photo snapped, the server takes the whole fish off to the side to bone, fillet and serve it with grilled potatoes covered with aïoli, chives and olive oil. Lomas prefers igniting the fish with Pernod for the slight hint of anise flavor it leaves on the fish, and he likes how the whole dorado holds up under the flames, retaining its mild, meaty texture when it gets to the table. “I think you have to cook with fire, but not burn things with it,” says Lomas. “You have to respect the product.”

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