Andu Restaurant & Lounge - Behind The Line - Kitchen Pictures

Andu Restaurant & Lounge is located on the ground floor of the Neo Vertika building in Brickell. It is owned by brothers Antonio and Juan Pablo Viejo and serves an eclectic Mediterranean cuisine with Spanish, North African, and Italian influences. Executive Chef Nate Martin, formerly of Nikki Beach, Pearl, and the now closed 8 1/2  saw the restaurant being built, approached the owners, introduced himself, and got the job as top chef. Says Martin: "I lived in the building and bumped into Antonio and Juan Pablo in the lobby. We started talking, and it went from there. I started off in Dallas, never went to school, and I've worked with chefs from all over the world." Check out these images from a recent Friday night dinner service at Andu.

Here's Chef Nate Martin behind the line...

Owner Antonio Viejo says: "It's a tough responsibility but a very nice challenge. It's exciting but scary, this recession. People decided to quit eating. Every day is different; we never know what's gonna happen next. It took us two or three years to build this place. We had to get a special assessment for the liquor license. The guy who did the concept for the art design was like 500 pounds. He had a heart attack and died right here. This is the last project he worked on."

The design on the place is impressive and includes hundreds of hand-blown glass bubbles hung floor to ceiling. They play off the lighting in an interesting way and were created by local working glass artist Terje Lundaas.

Fernanda Kuchkarian is a server at Andu. She says: "Since it's privately owned, it feels more close knit, like a family, than at a corporation. Everybody works together, and it makes my job easier when people are blown away by the cuisine."

"I thank Nate for everything," line cook Arturo Carrion says. "Happy cooking makes good food." Junior Sous Chef Ivan Mackliff agrees then grabs the dishwasher in a headlock before they break into a slap box session. It's all in good fun in the kitchen at Andu, but all staff seem to take their responsibilities seriously as the food comes out looking incredible in a timely manner. Here are some shots of the process.

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Jacob Katel