When you're a watch collector and a foodie, a visit to one of Nusret Gökçe's restaurants Nusr-Et Steakhouse is a must. Better know as #Saltbae, Nusret is one of Instagram's biggest hit stars with more than 10 million followers. However, what makes Nusret more interesting to us, is his fascination for watches, specifically Patek Philippe timepieces that we've spotted a dozen times on his wrist throughout his posts on the gram. All the way from a Patek Philippe Aquanaut ref. 5167 in steel to a rose gold one, and different Nautilus watches —including a 5711/1R and a vintage yellow gold 3700/1 with Gübelin dial that we lately spotted on his wrist—, #Saltbae has made a big name for himself in a very short period of time through a somewhat 'gimmicky' way of serving and salting the meat at his restaurants, but also because of his charismatic and very unique personality and looks.
A Turkish chef of Kurdish origin, who is only 34 years old and the father of nine children, Nusret Gökçe owns thirteen restaurants that include his first restaurant opened in Istanbul back in 2010 as well as restaurants in Ankara, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Miami and a soon to be opened location in New York City.
Driven by our passion for watches and the constant search for exceptional steaks, last week we decided to visit Nusret at his recently opened location in Miami, Florida. A short distance from ICON Brickell where we were staying, we wanted to meet the man, the myth and see if his food really lived to the hype of his social media presence. After securing a last minute reservation and making sure #Saltbae would be there to meet us, we made it to the restaurant around 2:30ish pm.
As we walked into the restaurant sporting our Patek Philippe Aquanaut ref. 5167/1A and seeing #Saltbae wearing his gold Nautilus, we knew we had made the right choice by wearing what appears to be his favorite watch brand.
Once we reached our table, we said hello to Mr. Gökçe and handed him a copy of our magazine; right there, we already knew we were in for a real treat not only from a watch collecting standpoint but as the foodies we are. As he greeted us in the friendliest way possible and took a close look at our Aquanaut ref. 5167/1A on stainless steel bracelet, he then proceeded to give us a quick smirk in sign of approval. After sitting down, checking out the menu and ordering one of our favorite Spaniard wines, we left the rest to #Saltbae and his restaurant manager.
After the restaurant manager and #Saltbae pretty much decided what we were going to eat, the food started to arrive at the speed of light. With #Saltbae walking around our neighboring tables cutting meats for the VIPs around us, we kicked-off our meal with his famous Mediterranean Salad garnished with pomegranate seeds and a very mild goat cheese. While the salad was really good and a great way to open up our palates, it was a tad too sweet and honestly, we couldn't wait any longer for the first meat dish to arrive. At the end of the day, that's what we were eager to try.
Following the salad, the first two meat dishes made their way to our table along with some cream mashed potatoes and char broiled wild mushrooms. The first meat dish called "Spaghetti", were super thin extra tender steak strips meant to be rolled on your fork like pasta, while the second one named "Saslik" was a beef tenderloin marinated in milk and spices and also served in thin strips.
Pleasantly surprised by the first dishes, finally the most important steak on the menu arrived at our table. The "Ottoman Steak", a Tomahawk bone-in Rib steak marinated with mustard and spices is ultimately the steak that made #Saltbae the Instagram sensation he is today. Seconds later, #Saltbae arrived at our table sharpening his knife and getting ready to cut and salt our steak. On his wrist, a legendary vintage Patek Philippe Nautilus 3700/1 in yellow gold with blue dial retailed by Gübelin —not shabby at all.
As he finished cutting and salting the meat in his very 'suave' style, he then proceeded to put the first bite in our mouths with the end of his sharp knife, without a doubt, this was one of the best steaks we've ever had and one that has now made it to our top five list.
After enjoying slice after slice of this perfectly cooked steak with a nice 'mustardy' finish, we can say that Nusr-Et's Ottoman Steak comes only second after The Benjamin Steakhouse in NYC, and being the huge fans and longtime customers of The Benjamin, Nusret should be really honored.
As we rushed through the end of our meal in order not to miss our flight out of Miami and with barely any time left to make it to the airport, we still had to order two 'must haves' at Nusr-Et before leaving. The legendary Nusret Baklava served with ice cream and a cup of a traditional Turkish coffee, were definitely a must and we would've regretted it had we not tried either one of them.
As we left the restaurant literally running —but not with the check—, still with a bite of Baklava in our mouth, we could only wish for our flight to be delayed and make it to Miami International Airport on time. With luck on our side, our flight was indeed delayed and made it to the gate by the pin of a spring bar. With a big smile on our face and the rich memories from a memorable meal at Nusr-Et, all we did on our flight home was to scroll through the pictures from our meal and daydream of one day owning a Nautilus like the one on #Saltbae's wrist. Until the next adventure from our #watchlife!