I was recently invited to the media preview for the new iPic Theater in North Miami Beach. I’ve never heard of iPic Theaters before. Apparently, there has been one in Boca all this time. I was given some background information on Hamid Hashemi, President and CEO of iPic Entertainment and this man knows the entertainment business.
Over 25 years experience to be exact. Mr. Hashemi is one of the motion picture industry’s most innovative business developers. He founded Muvico (which was later sold) and was one of the first theater companies to offer amenities like childcare centers, assigned seats, valet, and luxury dining experiences. Mr. Hashemi is also the founder of award-winning restaurant and nightlife establishments. This becomes evident when you walk into an iPic, beautifully designed for a fun night out.
I’ve been to similar concepts. They just do not do it as pampering as iPic. In other theaters you may only be able to order food before the movie begins. At iPic the seats are designed so you can easily call for service throughout the movie with a handy service button. No one needs walk in front of you! With a clever seating layout, no one’s view is obstructed. The details they cover to make your experience as perfect as possible are unmatched.The seats are huge, and baby they fully recline! They also offer you a cozy blanket and pillow. It is like being at home comfortable in bed, only a million times better. They realize that it’s easy to watch movies anywhere you are. So they knew they had to build an experience around watching a movie worthy of venturing outside of your home. If you love food by award winning and detail oriented chefs, you’re covered. If you are all about the farm to bar unique and delicious drinks, you’re covered. If you just want to be soooooo crazy comfortable, YOU ARE COVERED!
The first two lower rows they are going to install unique chase lounges. Those seats are currently at a little lower price point, so they want to make sure they are as fabulous as possible for a fully reclined relaxing experience.
The drinks are epic and you can thank Advanced Sommelier, Mater Mixologist, Adam R. Seger CCP for them. This award-winning mixologist uses a chef’s approach to the bar. Call it farm-to-bar if you will. He’s the top three Mixologist in the Country by Playboy Magazine and “Chicago’s Godfather of Craft Cocktail’s” by TimeOut.Full disclosure, I’m not a drinker. I hate alcohol. The taste…awful. From chemical tasting mixes, to sickly sweet, too strong, etc. Something is always very wrong and I won’t drink anything unless it tastes great. It has to be worth it for me. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised by Adam Seger. Everything was fresh tasting, beautiful ingredients, and perfectly balanced. If cocktails tasted like this everywhere I might not have had such a complete disgust for alcohol. Not only did I enjoy his fabulous take on the Mojito…I went right on back for a second. Same deliciousness was true for the other drinks I sampled. Everything really knocked it out of the park.
Not only was the taste out of this world, but the technique and ingredients were impressive. For the first time ever I saw a Buddha Finger Lemon in the flesh! The Mojitos were the highlight for most of us and they offer several types. I chose the Strawberry Mojito, and it was not just all mashed chunky berries, but a fresh explosive flavor strawberry puree. The mint leaves are pulverized in liquid nitrogen and then the drink is mixed using a huge vase. This incorporates the mint into every yummy sip. They top it off with more fresh mint leaves and a real sugar cane stick. YASSSSS!
If the atmosphere, drinks, and service aren’t enough for you…they seal the deal with culinary delights. Enter Sherry Yard, Vice President, Culinary Director at iPic Entertainment. This chef is full of surprises and multiple accolades that include two James Beard Awards for “Outstanding Pastry Chef of the Year” and “Best Baking Book”. She was Wolfgang Puck’s Executive Pastry Chef for nearly 20 years.From top to bottom:
Chicken Kabob – zucchini squash, marinated eggplant, cherry tomatoes, basil emulsion
Chicken Caesar Salad – petite romaine, shaved parmesan, crips, caesar dressing
Warm Biscuit – black forest ham, cheddar cheese, maple butter
Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese Sandwich – BBQ pork, smoked gouda, spicy pickled peppers, caramelized onions, Texas toast
Everything was yummy, but my favorite was the Warm Biscuit!Dessert was equally memorable. The amazing Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bar has bittersweet chocolate cake, peanut butter mousse, chocolate glaze, and caramel crunch. It either comes with the amazing huge melt in your mouth chocolate cookie + smaller cookies or they were given to us extra. The large chocolate chip cookie was a favorite, but the smooth texture of the Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bar was dreamy as well.
HATE that it’s so far! That’s about it for the negatives. Please please please make one in South Miami. Mr. Hashemi mentioned Coral Gables as a possible future site and I my ears perked up with delight. Come on down, sir! It seems every fantastic place to go to in West Kendall, for example, is packed beyond belief. We have the need down in the Kendall – Pinecrest – Hammocks areas for high end entertainment options, but no one comes out here. Thankfully there is Chef Adrianne’s tucked away restaurant, but little else. The closest option to something like iPic would be the Cinebistro in Dolphin mall. Still a bit north and with the unbelievable mall traffic, huge wait for valet, and crowds, those of us who want a relaxing night out avoid it. It just doesn’t compare to the experience of an iPic theater anyway.
I’ve already bought tickets to come back for Star Wars, and I suggest you do the same. There was talk about using iPic Theaters for video gaming events, and that looked like a great idea. So gamers look out for that! Mr. Hashemi said that in some of the theaters they have invited the cast of movies out for openings to do a Q and A with the audience. Such an experience would be great to have here in Miami.
I’m really hoping for child care services in the Miami locations, so I would be able to go more often. As someone with a young child I know how welcome such a service would be to have. Give parents a much needed date break and allow them the peace of a night out knowing their children are safe doing fun activities. The one place in South Miami that does such a service is always booked up and terribly unorganized. If one ever doubts the demand for entertainment with childcare combined you need only visit the packed to the brim Cool De Sac at Dolphin Mall. I walked in and immediately walked right out, it was so crowded and unorganized. Nice idea of dining and indoor play areas, but poorly executed. Real relief sounds more possible with childcare in a restaurant or theater.
I highly recommend iPic Theaters if you’re a foodie, like comfort, want quality service, or are in search of the perfect drink.