Sep 6, 2022 - Things to Do

Take date night to the next level at Leku and the Rubell Museum

Wagyu veal cheeks served with sweat potato mash.

Wagyu veal cheeks from Leku (left) and a silicone sculpture by Cajsa von Zeipel at the Rubell Museum. Photo: Martin Vassolo/Axios

When you eat at Leku in Allapattah, the thick walls of trees and plants block out the surrounding industrial neighborhood, making you feel like you're in a secret Spanish garden.

  • Everything else will make you feel like a true Spaniard, too. Jamon iberico is sliced by hand from a giant pig's leg. Order a Basque-inspired kalimotxo that tastes like a sangria crossed with a rum and coke.

State of plate: Go for Miami Spice ($28 lunch) and make sure to order the melt-in-your-mouth wagyu veal cheeks, which are so tender you don't need a knife, and the physics-defying basque cheese tart ($6 extra).

  • If you're feeling frisky, go off the Spice menu and order a shot of cider with an empanadilla as an appetizer. Finish the meal with a cafe con leche. You're going to need the energy to appreciate what comes next.

Leku is connected to the Rubell Museum, a contemporary art museum, which makes this the perfect place for a date, weekend hang or family outing.

  • The Rubell has it all — paintings, sculptures and multi-media mashups — and its exhibits feature work from the likes of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, to Miami artists Hernan Bas and Reginald O'Neal.
  • General admission is $15 for adults or $25 if you want access to two Infinity Rooms by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. (The Infinity Rooms are cool to try once, but the GA ticket will get you more than enough art to admire.)

My picks: I spent four hours at the Rubell and still feel like I needed more time to fully absorb it all, but here were some of my favorite moments from the museum.

  • "Untitled (Branches)" by Urs Fischer: One of the first things you see at the museum are two tree branches dangling from the ceiling and spinning in opposite directions. Candles on the branches drip wax, which over time leaves a trail on the floor in the shape of a Venn diagram.
  • Black cowboys: Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe, a 2021 Rubell artist-in-residence, explores the history of Black cowboys in America with a series of large-scale portraits. The vivid colors of the triptych draw your eye, and their gaze keeps your attention.
  • A silicone future: Cajsa von Zeipel's freakishly realistic silicone sculptures play on themes of dystopia, fantasy and consumerism. My favorite ("FLUFF YOU, YOU FLUFFIN' FLUFF") shows a dog mom riding a futuristic motorcycle with her fur babies tucked into both ends of her cleavage, wearing bedazzled high-heel Crocs and skewering a macaron with her acrylic nails.

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