I had driven down to Coral Gables to meet some friends after work last week and got there a bit earlier than anticipated. I decided to park, walk around and kill some time. While doing so, I stumbled upon a chalkboard on the sidewalk that read, "Happy Hour 1/2 off all drinks." Being that I had just survived a horrible day at work, this peaked my attention heavily and I decided to go in. The restaurant was relatively small and only had a few patrons inside, I decided to sit at the bar and grab a drink. The place has the look and feel of a modern and inviting pub, not what we're really used to here in good ol' Miami.
They had an impressive beer selection and I decided to go with the Dogfish Head 90 Min IPA (India Pale Ale). The bartender was very friendly and suggested I try their Avery Breweries Maharaja Imperial Double IPA; he even gave me a sample of a couple different beers to try before settling on my beer. I ended up going with his original suggestion and having a glass of Maharaja Imperial. The bartender was really helpful and definitely knew his beer. The Maharaja Imperial is definitely not your typical Corona Light, it has a very strong pine and citrus aroma and taste with a dark amber color. Definitely what I needed after my long day.
Even though I was meeting some friends, I decided to take a gander at their food menu. They had an interesting selection of snacks and entrees. Since I was killing time I decided to get a small snack and decided to go with the Salt Cod Chicharrones. I genuinely didn't know what to expect, but I felt adventurous and decided to take a chance. When the chicharrones finally came out, what I got looked like a bowl of funky chips. I took a bite out of one of the chips and sure enough... I got a burst of salt cod flavor in my mouth. How they had transformed salt cod (or as my Cuban counterparts know it, bacalao) to what had the feel, look and texture of a chip was beyond me. The salt cod also came with fresh malanga chips and a parsley aioli that cut the saltiness of the cod wonderfully. I inhaled my chips and debated on a second beer. When the bartender came and asked how it was all I could say was, "Great!" The staff was very knowledgeable about how the food is made and how they try to buy from local farms. They were even nice enough to answer my questions about how in the world they made the chips and without giving me too many secrets, he stated the chicharrones are a 3 day process that is all done in-house.
While I was there, I was also lucky enough to overhear chef Cabrera mention that he is looking to start offering Brunch in the near future and is on the hunt for a pastry chef. If their brunch is as creative as their dinner time offerings, I plan to definitely check it out. Next time it won’t be a mistaken find.
The Local-Craft Food & Drink
150 Giralda Avenue
Coral Gables, FL 33134