Art Basel Miami Beach is poised to take over more than 200 galleries and venues in South Florida from Dec. 7-10, but if it’s performance art you’re after, you may have a chance to see the Salt Bae himself in action at Nusr-Et Miami.
Nusr-Et Miami is the first US restaurant from Nusret Gökçe, the meat impresario known to the internets as the Salt Bae, in honor of his particular brand of flair for seasoning meat. The man may be a meme, but he’s also a very successful Turkish restauranteur, who opened his first spot in 2010 in Istanbul, and now has 12 locations around Turkey, the Middle East, and now in Miami. Plans for restaurants in New York, London and Berlin are in the works. Larry Carrino, a publicist for the Miami branch, said in an email that it wasn’t a sure thing whether or not Gökçe will be in town for Art Basel, “but indications are he will be.”
What does it matter whether the Bae himself is holding forth when you go? When he’s in residence at one of his restaurants, Gökçe goes from table to table, slicing giant steaks and finishing them with his signature flick of the wrist and shower of salt. Reviews on Yelp range from incandescently gleeful to underwhelmed, but one thing seems clear: the Salt Bae will be happy to pose for a photo with you. If you want his attention, be sure to get one of the large steaks to share, rather than say, meatballs and sucuk, a Turkish sausage. Also, be prepared to pay for the experience. It may have Turkish trappings, but Nasr-Et is a steakhouse, which is never really a bargain dining experience.
Looking on Open Table, Nusr-Et is mostly booked on Friday and Saturday nights during Art Basel, unless you want a very early bird steak dinner. Thursday and Sunday though, have plenty of reservations available.
Remember, whether it’s Salt Bae or another slicer, that tableside action is pure performance art, and yes, it’s part of price of admission. I once paid good money to see Karen Finley get naked and jump into a kiddie pool full of warm honey, and there wasn’t even a cocktail list.