CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) -- Zitz Sum is a hip hidden gem located inside the Citi Bank building in Coral Gables. What started out as a pop up idea in COVID lockdowns soon became a permanent restaurant after it quicky drew a cult following.
It is owned by acclaimed Chef Pablo Zitzmann and his wife Natalie, who is the pastry chef. It's the ultimate mom and pop restaurant with their two young kids serving up cuteness.
"It's quite the mom and pop, literally," said CBS4's Lisa Petrillo.
"Yes, that's the way it is. It's mom and pop and then sometimes (my son)Nico is helping me clean basil and (daughter) Emma is running around the kitchen. That's the way it is," said Zitzmann.
In March, Zitz Sum was recognized by the James Beard Foundation as a nominee for "Best New Restaurant."
The menu is Asian Inspired, but there's more.
"So, it's very Asian, but at the same time I am a quarter Mexican. I was born and raised in Columbia," he explained. "My wife is from Chile. I went to an Italian school in Columbia, so I'm used to Italian flavors and that's the kind of food we grew up eating in my house."
As for the look of the 40 seat restaurant with dining inside and out, it's all Pablo's favorite things.
"I wanted to give a vibe like rock 'n' roll. I like tattoos. I like skateboarding. I like that punk rock vibe and we thought Coral Gables needed a little bit of edginess," he said.
Back in the kitchen, chef Zitzmann prepares his famous Wonton en Brodo, a dish inspired by the Italian Tortellini en Brodo. It's moist chicken dumplings, parmesan & a soup-like soy dashi with chives.
"It's elegant. The broth is just comforting, and the chicken thighs give it that extra depth and heft to it. Like a comfort food," said Petrillo.
"It's soul hugging food, you feel me?" asked chef.
"Yes, I feel you," said Petrillo. "That's what it is."
Next, a spectacular spring salad with stracciatella cheese, cucumbers and papaya topped with a miso ginger dressing.
"It's delicious and super different. I love how the cheese gives a little soft smoothness and then you have so many flavors in this dressing," said Petrillo.
Finally, Sheng Jian Bao with mushrooms, pickles and sesame. You dip in the yuzu hoisin sauce.
"There's a sweet and savory in there and I love the crunch with the vegetables in between. I feel a tiny bit of a kick and that fluffy bao bun is so nice," said Petrillo.
"We roll 30 or 40 of these a day. They sell out almost every single night," said chef.
Zitzmann Sum is open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner. Happy hour is from 5pm to 7pm, For more info:www.zitzsum.com
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