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red light-Kris Wessel's Highly Anticipated New Spot on Biscayne

I had a chance to chat informally with Owner and Chef Kris Wessel yesterday, and he told me that he hopes to open in three weeks. This is great news for the neighborhood. The New Orleans native, who moved to the area to attend FIU fifteen years ago, and never left, will be offering a mid-priced menu, no white table cloths, with an emphasis on seafood, cooking with a Florida, Caribbean leaning, and a FULL BAR. I was aghast at how beautiful the Little River looks; how clean and dynamic-I hadn't been down there in a while, but the river is now flowing in and out with the tides. He had a lot of overgrown brush cleared away that was impeding the river's flow, and trapping the garbage. There will be a beautiful outdoor, waterfront area, with a bar. The interior, which, miraculously, also has a bar, is spare, with hanging lamps, red patterned walls, and mustard colored booths. I have some photos at www.dailycocaine.blogspot.com of the chef, who seems surprisingly relaxed. I predict this place will be THE hit of 2008. You heard it here first.

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  1. *I predict this place will be THE hit of 2008. You heard it here first.*

    Glad to see the change of heart from all the naysaying you were doing a couple weeks ago ->
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/47397...

    Actually several of us who knew from Kris Wessel's prior restaurants have been telling folks to look forward to this opening for some time now.
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/410290
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/463500
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/47397...

    Thrilled to hear he's close to opening, thanks for the update. There was a good article - maybe in the Biscayne Times - several months ago about all the work he's done cleaning up the river behind the property.

    Who remembers when there was a sign for some dinky little Chinese restaurant hanging on the outside of that space?

    Edited to add - a link to the Biscayne Times article is included in one of the threads above (warning - huge download).

    8 Replies
    1. re: Frodnesor

      I just want it to open already! Michael's and Michy's are starting to get impossible to get into!

      1. re: lax2mia

        Yeah, I'm mercurial. This is going to be tougher than either so get ready to start shmoozing.

        1. re: Miami Danny

          Incidentally, on the thread Frodnesor references, I was merely asking for someone with knowledge of Wessel's food to describe dishes they had eaten. Not in some ethereal way, but the actual food descriptions. That I never got, even with all the nudging I was doing. And I AM surprised at the cleanliness of the Little River. Believe me, it was a shock.

          1. re: Miami Danny

            MD - I wish I had a better recollection of specific dishes that I ate about 5-8+ years ago.

            Here's some sites that give descriptions of some of Liaison's and Elia's dishes ->
            http://www.miaminewtimes.com/2000-08-...
            http://www.miaminewtimes.com/bestof/a...
            http://www.miaminewtimes.com/2003-07-...
            http://www.miaminewtimes.com/2004-02-...
            http://starchefs.com/news/press_relea...
            http://starchefs.com/news/press_relea...

            Having had my recollection refreshed, I do fondly recall the New Orleans style "BBQ" shrimp and the grillades and grits at Liaison. I think Liaison was possibly more representative of Wessel than Elia, where he had come in to rescue a floundering restaurant that already had the Mediterranean concept in place. I suspect Red Light is going to be yet again something different from either of these.

            1. re: Frodnesor

              Liaison was totally Kris' menu and cuisine.. at Elia he had to work around the limitations set by the owner and a then existing restaurant. Red Light will be totally Kris' menu -- but, not the same menu as Liaison...for example there will be a raw bar and and outdoor barbecue/smoker area as additions to the menu items... I can hardly wait for the smoked oysters... can you?

              1. re: karmalaw

                One of my co-workers was recently in New Orleans and was raving about the barbecued oysters - to the point of saying he was going to hire an oyster shucker to come to the house and do a BBQ oyster party. In a few weeks (hopefully) that won't be necessary.

                1. re: Frodnesor

                  I know this is an old post but noticed that Shuck N Dive (Ft Lauderdale) had barbecued oysters on the menu and recalled this post.

            2. re: Miami Danny

              BTW, the funniest part of the Biscayne Times article was this inadvertent typo in the caption under Kris' picture:

              "The best part is the river, which abounds with wildlife and waterfoul."

              Fortunately, that water's not so foul any more.

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. The original comment has been removed
            1. Opening: Red Light

              Good news: Kris Wessel has been given the go-ahead from Tallahassee and will be opening Red Light tonight at 5 p.m. No menu yet, though we'll try to have one by the weekend.

              source: menupages

              1 Reply
              1. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

                It's a limited menu for the next 2 weeks -- then full menu.