After a slight hiatus and some slack from my friends, SoFlaFoodie’s eatery reviews are back. I apologize for my real job getting in the way. I’ll try not to let it happen again. I can only imagine, you have been waiting with bated breath for our most recent review. Hope we don’t disappoint.
Growing up in a household where pork in any form was disavowed and my first entree into the underbelly didn’t come until college, I feel that I have missed out all these years. No disrespect to my heritage, culture and my forefathers Isaac and Jacob, but I just don’t think they knew how to cook the damn thing. In their defense they didn’t have truffle oil.
A few weeks ago we took our palates to Pubbelly in South Beach. Away from the hustle and bustle of Lincoln Road, Collins Avenue and Ocean drive, this Asian inspired gastropub is tucked away in the residential section of south beach on 20th street and West Avenue. With stores and restaurants coming and going faster than Dolphins quarterbacks, this section of town has been a tough nut to crack. Chef and owners Andreas Schreiner, Jose Mendin and Sergio Navarro, with now four restaurants amongst the group (Pubbelly, Pubbelly Sushi, Barceloneta and Macchialina), opened Pubbelly almost 2 years ago with little to no fan fare, no advertising and have grown their devoted clientele simply by word or mouth. And now I know why.
If the sign out front is any indication, its all about the pork, in this small, dozen or so tabled, exposed brick walls, steel beam ceiling and an open kitchen hidden gem. We took a seat at the bar and Melissa gave us the lay of the land and walked us thru the daily printed tapas style menu. If the 2000’s were large plates, over the top meals, the 2010’s have gone the opposite direction. It’s now all about small plates with explosive unique flavors. I am fully committed to this band wagon.
We started with the Foie Torchon (sea salt seasoned foie gras, onion blueberry marmalade and sour dough toast). What an amazing blend of salty and sweet, combined with the rich buttery flavor of the Foie.
I am not one to lick my plate clean (unless it’s the Spaghetti Pesto at the Hotel Splendido in Portofino Italy), but that is exactly what I did with the Short Rib Tartare. The combination of the finely chopped short rib, combined with the tart apples, salty capers and mustard, topped with a quail egg, created a delicately creamy and complex dish. A must have! Another must have are the dumplings. Ever changing on the menu, that night they had a selection of four, each uniquely creative. Duck and Pumpkin, pork belly and scallions and my favorite, short rib and corn with black truffle soy and a hint of parmigiano. Outstanding!
But then came the “pièce de résistance,” the BBQ Pork Wings. Holy s***t. It’s essentially a trimmed down pork shank from the fibula, but pork wing sounds much better. Slow cooked in a smoked teriyaki glaze and accompanied by a pickled cherry, oh forget what it was accompanied by, it’s pork on a stick and it’s outstanding. Who doesn’t like meat on a stick? Picture the tenderness of a drumstick with the flavor of a baby back rib.
Everything we tried that evening, from the bacon wrapped dates to the deconstructed smores desert, it was all fantastic and a welcome addition to this part of town. I know it might seem like a schlep for you Palm Beacher’s, but if you happen to find yourself in South Beach or maybe you are just an hour drive away, get in your car and go, you must try this place.
1418 20th Street
Miami Beach, FL
Phone: (305) 532-7555