Pubbelly Sushi brings funkdified sushi to SOBE: PART 2

October 26, 2011

As promised, here is the second half of my Pubbelly Sushi review. As mentioned in the last post, when I went to this restaurant we ordered so much food it was almost embarrassing. Since my date and I had such a gluttonous amount of food, I decided to break up the review into two different posts. I’m going to pick up exactly where the last post left off.

After the Wedge Salad, we decided to try their BBQ Short ribs and Pork Belly. The short ribs are served with a nashi pear remoulade and were great. The flavor was fresh and different from any short ribs I’ve had in recent memory. The Pork Belly though, I completely fell in love with. The pork belly is seasoned with orange peels and tobanjan and was cooked perfectly crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. The pork belly is skewered for hand held ease. I loved the tiny hint of orange flavor that went along with the saltiness of the pork belly and the tobanjan. After all of this food I was left wondering how I could have a wheelbarrow delivered to the restaurant so I could be carried out to my car.

The next roll we ordered was the Wagyu Beef roll. This roll consists of Wagyu beef tartare, gochujang, mustard, avocado, sesame with a poached egg on the side. This was probably my least favorite dish out of the 200 dishes we had. There was a lot going on flavor-wise and the flavor of the beef is completely lost in my opinion. When you first bite into the roll you taste a slight sweetness from the avocado and then the spiciness from the gochujang and mustard kicks you in the back of the throat like a Jackie Chan sequel. The poached egg that came alongside this roll didn’t seem poached at all and in all honesty seemed completely raw. None the less, this may have been the least favorite out of the milieu of plates we had, it was still better than most of the sushi out in the rest of the community.



If that wasn’t enough food, my date also dug into two New England style rolls. First he had the rockshrimp roll, which is tempura rock shrimp tossed in spicy mayo and served on a homemade toasted bun. He seemed very happy with his roll; he said the bun was perfectly toasted and slightly buttery. Then, he had their spicy tuna roll which is thinly sliced spicy tuna, scallions, and frites on the toasted bun. The tuna was very fresh but according to my date, he did mumble that he would have the rock shrimp roll any day of the week over the tuna roll. I’m guessing these two rolls were very good overall; he didn’t really talk much and just kept nodding his head while he was inhaling them.

We couldn’t leave without having dessert though, even though we were on the verge of having our stomachs burst. The restaurant doesn’t have a printed dessert menu and all of the desserts are written on chalkboard over the bar. We decided to try their Mochi ice cream. You can never go wrong with mochi; Pubbelly Sushi offers three types of mochi, green tea, passion fruit and red kidney bean. Mochi ice cream is a Japanese confection that boils down to a rice paste filled with ice cream. It’s handheld, no mess ice cream. The passion fruit flavor was by far my favorite. Mochi isn’t exactly a unique dessert, but it was good either way.

If one dessert wasn’t enough, we ordered their Green Tea Parfait. This parfait was great and original, from the bottom layer of Mango, to the mascarpone cheese to the green tea cookie crumble over the top; there was no bad bite to be had. The texture was reminiscent to that of a key lime pie, but the flavor was completely refreshing. The green tea crumble over the top was fun and crunchy in contrast to the creamy and soothing texture of the mango and mascarpone. The presentation of this dish was also very neat; it’s served in a cute jar that my date was quick to break. When our waiter asked who broke the jar, I didn’t hesitate in driving that bus straight over him and pointing directly at him. Yea, I threw his ass under the bus and would do it again in a heartbeat.



This place was not only inventive in their presentation of each plate but in their signature twists on each dish. I loved the contrast in flavors and textures. I wouldn’t hesitate to go back to this place in a moment’s notice and would recommend it to anyone looking for a fun and different sushi restaurant. Things to keep in mind is that this place does NOT take reservations and that this place is basically located on Purdy ave (in other words, parking is a raging bitch). I also really liked the graffiti on the walls, the outfits the staff wears and the music this place has playing. Fun place all around.



______________________________________
Restaurant Details:
Pubbelly Sushi
1424 20th st.
Miami Beach, FL 33139
305-532-7555
http://www.pubbellysushi.com

Pubbelly Sushi on Urbanspoon

Pubbelly Sushi brings funkdified sushi to SOBE: PART 1

October 24, 2011

I’ve been putting off this post because I’m a lazy bum and a procrastinator. That and when I went to the newly opened Pubbelly Sushi, my date and I ate through pretty much half of their menu. That being said, this post will be broken up into two, part 1 covering the first half of dinner. The restaurant is a sushi inspired spinoff of its next door neighbor, Pubbelly. The same owners of course, but Pubbelly Sushi is a bigger space with lots of character. There’s graffiti on the walls, the specials are all written on the wall behind the bar. All of the chefs wear bandana-like head garments, which makes them look like they’re about to karate chop you like Bruce Lee. There’s even a posted schedule of the kind of music they play, the night I went was alternative music night.

Our waiter was really friendly. He kind of looked like a jersey shore reject, but none the less was really knowledgeable and eager to answer any questions we had. We ordered a couple of beers off their impressive craft beer list and worked our way through the menu. Our waiter did explain that the way the kitchen is set up, plates roll out as they are ready in no particular order. Our poor waiter seemed a bit overwhelmed with all of the food we ordered, but it was nothing our Pauly D wannabe couldn’t handle.

We rattled off a ton of dishes, but the first one I’ll cover is their Tostones de Pana. The dish itself is himachi ceviche tossed in ginger soy, cilantro and crispy breadfruit tostones. The presentation on this was really cute, the ceviche is served in a small jar with a miniature spoon and the tostones are standing up in a small wooden bin. The ceviche alone was really refreshing and flavorful. Throw the ceviche on a hot and slightly salty toston and the flavor explodes. The freshness of the ceviche beams through when contrasted against the saltiness of the toston. My friend was lucky I let him try a piece, I really wasn’t planning on sharing but lucky for him I’m on this “play nice” kick.



Next up we had the Snow Crab roll. The rolls looks like a little sushi burrito, wrapped in goma soy paper, the inside is filled with perfectly warm snowcrab and served with a small container of ponzu clarified butter. Yes, I said butter. You dip that sucker in butter and call it a day. The crab was perfectly seasoned and tasted great; the ponzu butter went very with the flavor of the crab and didn’t taste greasy in any way. My favorite was double dipping this roll in a little bit of their house soy sauce and then in the butter. I wouldn’t really recommend this dish for sharing because it’s relative small and trying to split it in half gets kind of messy. Plus, it’s really good so you’re not going to want to share it anyway.

Up next, we ordered the Yellowtail roll. This roll was insane, the minute they placed it on our table you could smell the truffle oil emanating from the dish. The roll consists of yellowtail fish, snow crab, truffled yuzu, nori flakes and it’s all wrapped in green soy paper. The yellowtail fish was so fresh and the truffled yuzu exploded with flavor in your mouth it gave the roll a great complexity in flavor. In addition, the nori flakes and yuzu gave a variety in texture to the already flavorful roll. I fell in love with this roll in the first bite, I’m a sucker for anything truffled and this did not disappoint.



My date had their wedge salad. I personally wasn’t going to waste my time (or appetite) on a salad when there was so much food to eat, so I didn’t try it. The salad consisted of baby iceberg lettuce, ginger dressing and thinly sliced radishes. Although out of all the dishes that were had, this one seemed like the only one that didn’t have any pop or surprises. In-between bites, he mentioned the salad was very good and the dressing was light and creamy.


My next post will cover the rest of this dinner. We ate like true fatasses and I'm so proud of that. I will however say that this restaurant is a winner in my book. From the great music and fun vibe to unique food. Stay tuned.


______________________________________
Restaurant Details:
Pubbelly Sushi
1424 20th st.
Miami Beach, FL 33139
305-532-7555
http://www.pubbellysushi.com

Pubbelly Sushi on Urbanspoon

Buttercream: straight up great cupcakes

October 12, 2011

My best friend and I were on one of our usual fatass Sunday adventures recently when he dragged me to South Miami to introduce me to this tiny cupcake shop on Sunset Drive. Buttercream Cupcakes is located on a miniscule plaza on the more residential side of Sunset Drive. The shop is as small as can be with only room for one small table and a couple of stools on the inside, there are also a couple of outdoor patio tables outside of the store. They’re straight to the point and only offer cupcakes, tea and coffee. These people know what they’re good at and stick to it. The place, although very small, is brightly colored and offers a jovial and fun vibe.



The place is owned by a husband and wife duo who opened up Buttercream Cupcakes & Coffee in early 2008. On the lazy Sunday that I went, there were two young and helpful women running the storefront. They were in the process of icing cupcakes and helping other customers. My friend and I got only 3 cupcakes and some coffee. I should mention they offer regular sized cupcakes not these one bite mini’s other places are currently offering. We sat in their only indoor table and dug in, while we ate we noticed a constant, never ending stream of people coming in and buying cupcakes. Just as fast as these girls were putting them on display they were being bought up by eager locals.

My coffee was simple black coffee, nothing extravagant or fancy. Just a good cup of joe. Their cupcakes on the other hand were rich in flavor. The first cupcake we had was their Orange cupcake. It looked simple to the naked eye, but upon close inspection you could see both the butter cream and cake were filled with fresh orange zest. The cake was soft, moist and bursting with flavor. Biting into this cupcake felt like you were standing in the middle of an orange grove in full bloom. The taste of fresh orange exploded in your mouth and is by far the best way to get a dose of Vitamin C that I‘ve ever encountered.



Up next we tried their Vanilla Pumpkin cupcake. The cupcake is a soft vanilla cake and topped with pumpkin flavored butter cream. The taste of authentic and fresh pumpkin really shined through the buttercream along with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. The marriage between the vanilla cake and pumpkin cream went together greatly, in a way that makes you feel like autumn on the inside while you sweat your ass off in Miami on the outside.


Our last cupcake was their vanilla Oreo cupcake. My friend is an Oreo fanatic and his bitch ass only let me get one bite of this cupcake. The vanilla cake was the same one used in the Vanilla Pumpkin cupcake and a few other of their cupcake varieties. The cake is soft, moist and was topped with vanilla buttercream that features giant chunks of Oreo cookies. This cake was probably the simplest in flavor that we had, but great none the less. It was a good, old school cookies and cream cupcake like the ones your mom used to make when you were a kid.


There were several other flavors I wanted to try but was too full. I really liked the small accents some of their cupcakes had, such as the small fondant flower on top of the orange cupcake. It gave the cupcake a delicate and special touch. The freshness of the ingredients being used in their cupcakes really beams through in each bite and I have to admit I’m an instant fan of this place. With so many cupcake options in South Florida, this is a small mom and pop shop dishing out great quality that everyone should check out.



_______________________________________
Restaurant Details:
Buttercream Cupcakes & Coffee
(305) 669-8181
1411 Sunset Drive
Coral Gables, FL 33143
www.buttercreamcupcakes.com

Buttercream Cupcakes & Coffee on Urbanspoon

Not your usual pie at Harry's

October 8, 2011

Chef Michael Schwartz opened up his newest project, Harry's Pizzeria, on September 27th to eager and hungry pizza hounds. I made my way over during the first week and back again a few days after that. So the food I’m commenting on is actually from two separate visits. I went over on their first Friday night and the place was buzzing, packed wall to wall with people laughing, cheering and eating. The space is relatively small and seats approximately 45 people at any given time. There are chalkboards through out the restaurant with hand written messages, the lighting is kept relatively dim and it helps set the welcoming and cozy vibe. They have a small bar with wine and four different local beers on tap. As many people know, Chef Schwartz is very big on sustainable foods from local farmers. So the vast majority of the ingredients that go into their meals are all grown locally.

Between my first two visits I had a total of three different appetizers. The first one I’ll discuss is their Polenta fries. They’re presentation is fun and playful, stacked up like a game of edible Jenga. They’re very crisp on the exterior, creamy and smooth on the interior. They were perfectly seasoned and were great alone without any additional condiments. They’re served with a home made ketchup that tasted somewhat like a ketchup/salsa mix. I didn’t quite understand how salsa came into play at a pizzeria/Italian restaurant, but it tasted great either way.


Next appetizer was their Meatballs in Sauce and the flavor on these things was insane. The flavor popped in your mouth and was all up in your face like a Jehovah Witness at the crack of dawn on a Sunday. The meat was tender, well seasoned and perfectly cooked. The sauce on this dish completely stole the show and left me wondering how I could take an order of these to go so I can make myself a meatball sub later. Maybe at some point down the line, they’ll make meatball subs (HINT HINT!!) Once I was done inhaling them, I caught myself spooning the sauce out of the plate.


The last appetizer I’ve had thus far is their Italian Wedding soup. Their soups vary from day to day and on this lucky day their special was this old school Italian soup. The recipe is simple: meatballs, chicken stock, ditalini pasta and fresh spinach. However, the freshness of the ingredients makes all the difference in this dish. The spinach is bright green and still slightly crisp, the meatballs hold their shape in the soup and taste wonderfully and the pasta is cooked al dente. The flavors make a happy marriage that make eating soup feel like less of a chore and more of a blessing. I ate every last bite of this soup and almost went all Oliver Twist on the waiter by saying, “Please sir, I want some more.”



I’ve only had a couple of pizzas at Harry’s so far, but I plan on making my way through their menu in due time. On my first visit I had their Shortrib pizza. The pizza, like the rest of the menu, keeps it simple. The pizza comes topped with short rib, fontina cheese, arugula, and grilled onions. The crust on the pie is a thin crust and the crust alone is really flavorful. The short rib was well cooked and seasoned. Although I found the flavor of the pizza much more subtle and subdued than the appetizers, it still tasted very good. I would definitely have this pizza again. The combination of toppings was different than your usual pepperoni, but it worked in a great and different way.


The second pizza I’ve had is the Slow Roasted Pork pizza. Again, Chef Schwartz keeps it simple with a thin crust pizza topped with just slow roasted pork, figs, grilled onions, fontina cheese and arugula. The fig and pork worked on that sweet and salty play. The pork is cooked and seasoned well. The grilled onions are cut rather large for my personal liking, but the flavor they bring to the pie is integral and great. Again I found the flavor on this pie more subtle with no big pop in flavor when compared to the appetizers I‘ve had so far. None the less, the flavors of all the different ingredients worked in a harmonious way to bring a party to my mouth.


Finally, I’ve only had one dessert from Harry’s Pizzeria and that is their Zeppole Think Italian beignets. Their take on zeppole comes dusted with confectioner’s sugar and with a side home-made honey whipped riccotta. The zeppole are a bit denser than beignet and were served piping hot. The honey whipped riccotta was sweet, refreshing and also had some lemon flavors shining through. The combination of the dense fried dough with the refreshing and light riccotta worked really well. This was a great ending to my first meal.



The freshness of all the ingredients really beams through and brings a new complexity in flavors that you don’t typically get at other restaurants. The pies served at Harry’s aren’t your usual pizzas and are definitely bringing pizza to a whole new level. The food is not only great quality and fresh, but it’s ridiculous cheap. None of the food items on the menu exceed $15.00. It’s definitely a great place to check out if you’re looking for great pizza and appetizers with a twist in Midtown.




_____________________________________
Restaurant Details:
Harry's Pizzeria
(786) 275-4963
3918 N Miami Ave
Miami, FL 33127
www.harryspizzeria.com



Harry's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

OYE como va?! -CLOSED

October 3, 2011

So it was a lazy day and my friend owed me lunch, so I dragged our asses to Pinecrest to try out Oye Cuban Grill. I had looked over their menu online and a few things had caught my attention. From the look of the menu, they were doing authentic Cuban food with a modern twist. Growing up in Hialeah and being part Cuban, I’m pretty critical of Cuban food and my standards are typically pretty high. None the less, we trekked down south and gave this place a try.

The restaurant is in the large Suniland shopping plaza right on US1. The restaurant has lots of competition with Flanigans, Sir Pizza, Sushi Rock and Chicken Kitchen all located in the same plaza. None the less, when my friend and I got there the place was really busy. They offer indoor and outdoor seating, but we decided to sit inside and enjoy the comforts of air conditioning. The place has a modern look but still manages to hold on to Cuban traditions and customs. Even their bathroom doors have neat pictures of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz to designate male and female restrooms. A large part of the kitchen is exposed and visible from any part of the restaurant. We decided to sit in one of their booths and people watch. Our server was young, energetic and patient with us newbies. He went over the menu with us and gave us his own personal favorites and recommendations.



We decided to start off with some of their chorizo croquetas. I had never had a chorizo croqueta so I was definitely intrigued. Growing up, I’d always had either ham, chicken or cheese but chorizo was a new spin for me. We ordered one each to play it safe and what we got were two plump and large croquetas. We dug in and wow! There were tiny chunks of chorizo throughout the creamy interior of the croqueta. My friend and I looked at each other and without saying anything we both knew we had to order more. They were fresh, piping hot and the seasoning on them was perfect. They were perfectly crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside. They came accompanied with a lime wedge, we decided to throw some lime juice on them and the flavor expanded even more. The lime heightened the flavor of the chorizo brilliantly and I was happy.




When it came time to order we decided to try a couple of their specialty sandwiches. I went with their “Fat Cuban” sandwich. The description read as follows, “Our signature sandwich weighing in at 1.5 lbs! Roast pork, Oye chicken, tavern ham, croqueta of your choice, maduros, Swiss cheese, topped with pickles, tomatoes and potato sticks, served with our creamy mustard sauce on pressed Cuban bread.” This thing sounded heart-attacklicious and I wanted in! When I told the server that I wanted that sandwich he gave me a, “you-have-no-idea-what-you’re-getting-yourself-into” look and boy was he right. A family of 5 could have easily eaten off this one sandwich and been satisfied. The sandwich was stacked at least 4 inches high and served with cassava (yuca) chips. I looked at the sandwich for a few minutes figuring out a plan of attack on how to actually stuff it in my mouth (insert lascivious sexual reference here). I thought it was a neat touch how they had the restaurant’s logo pressed onto the sandwich. I finally just threw caution to the wind and went for it. The flavors were insane and hit my taste buds like fireworks. The mild sweetness from the maduros was the antithesis of the pickles and mustard. Each bite was completely different because there was no way I could get all of it in one bite. The pork was very well seasoned with old school Cuban mojo, I decided to throw in chorizo croquetas since there was already ham in the sandwich. The chicken was also very well seasoned. The marriage of all these ingredients concluded in an extremely flavorful, messy sandwich that requires a game plan, better than U.M.’s defense, on how to tackle it.


My friend had their Miami vs. Philly cheese steak sandwich. The sandwich is their take on a cheese steak sandwich “Miami” style. It’s sliced palomilla steak, Swiss cheese, grilled onions, their roasted vegetable mix (which includes squash, zucchini and roasted red peppers) on soft Cuban bread. This sandwich was also monstrous and could have easily been shared between two people. My friend (being a true fat ass) added extra cheese and bacon to his sandwich. The Cuban bread was freshly baked and possibly the softest Cuban bread I have had in a long time. The steak was perfectly seasoned and although I was skeptical about the roasted vegetables, they tasted great in the sandwich. Instead of chips my friend upgraded to French fries. Their fries were fresh, very hot shoe string fries with a sprinkle of paprika over the top. I loved the paprika over the fries, it gave them a little something special that I definitely appreciated.




Next time, I have to remember to wear stretchy pants and a few more people to help me eat my sandwich. I couldn’t even finish half of my sandwich and for the price, this was a great value. My sandwich cost $10.00 and could have easily been shared. I really liked the spins they’ve added to classic Cuban cuisine. There were several dishes I want to go back and try such as their Sweet Sweet Guava BBQ ribs, Cuban Sloppy Joe, Cuban Tacos and Frita Burger. I look forward to going back and checking out the rest of the menu. This place is giving new life to Cuban cuisine and bringing it into the twenty-first century. Definitely a place to check out if you’ve gotten tired of old school Cuban food and looking for a new take on old favorites.

________________________________________
Restaurant Details:
OYE Cuban Grill
(786) 249-4001
11327 S Dixie Hwy
Miami, FL 33156
www.oyecubangrill.com


OYE Cuban Grill on Urbanspoon