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With so many gastropub-inspired places
popping up all over town, it’s hard to
distinguish the fly-by-nights from the here-to-
stays. Read on to discover a few places you
should add to your culinary itinerary.
T E X T BY R O NY M O
ipley himself wouldn’t have believed the gastropub
concept started in the UK, a country of cruel jokers where
smoked herring and scrambled eggs complement a side
of beans for breakfast. But just 10 years ago, there were basically 2
types of indigenous eating establishments: family restaurants and
fine dining. Casual eateries didn’t boast much variety, and enjoying
a bite at a jacket-only joint meant boa-constricting clothes. Then
the gastropub stole the show by taking the casual vibe of the
former fused with the techniques and tastes of the latter. With their
emergence, Miami left its past as a dining desert behind and became
flooded with celebrity chefs looking to make their mark.
OTC’s Executive Chef, Jacob Anaya, has a resume packed with
brand names including the Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton and Mandarin
Oriental, but he’s never let success get to his head…or his food.
Over The Counter offers approachable fare with flair such as smoky
Charred Eggplant Dip spiced w/ French Espelette Peppers over
Grilled Rustic Bread. His take on tartar, Tuna Poke, combines the
Hawaiian recipe for sashimi-grade fish, Haas avocados and finely
chopped macadamia with a chili, sesame oil and white soy sauce
dressing. Don’t miss the trio of freshly fried Brioche Beignets oozing
either chocolate ganache or dulce de leche paired with strawberry
milk, or better yet a creamy chocolate stout; OTC-Restaurants.com.
Traveling to West Miami could be considered culinary tourism if
FINKA Table & Tap is the destination. It does to your mouth what
an expertly mixed mash-up does to your ears. You didn’t know
that combinations like Vaca Frita vs. Wood Fired Pizza, Calentado
vs. Korean Bibimbop, and Carne Asada vs. Mac & Cheese could go
so well together. Most gastropubs would offer you a craft beer to
round out the experience but these folks throw a full liquor bar
at you. Try the classic Moscow Mule with vodka, paper-thin slices
of lime and fiery ginger beer in a copper mug. If Eddie Fuentes is
tending bar, ask him for the experimental Monkey-Negro No. 5
with Monkey Shoulder Scotch and a bunch of liquors staring with
the letter A: Absintine, Amaro Montenegro Liqueur and Angostura
Orange Bitters; FINKARestaurant.com.
Kush Wynwood shares something with the Design District it
represents; you can pluck rare art pieces right off the walls for a
price. Except instead of friezes or frescoes, this pinnacle of plates
and pints trades in limited releases from the world’s most revered
breweries. For those who like to sip and swirl with their meal, 8
expertly curated wines from Monterey County to Mendoza stock
the shelves. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, devour the Kush
& Hash Burger blanketed by American cheese, local bacon, diner-
approved hash-browns, and a fried egg stuffed between Belgian
waffles…it’s brunch in every bite.
The Spanish have their taperías that serve wine and bocaditos, the
Japanese have Izakayas pouring Sapporo drafts and rolling sushi,
and now we have a world of homegrown comfort foods fusing on
our plates and in our bellies.