Though “cheffy” touches are certainly on the menu (cauliflower panna cotta with uni and caviar, anyone?), Tongue & Cheek – the new 150-seat restaurant owned by Chef Jamie DeRosa and Michael Reginbogin – promises to be much more than just a foodie haven. Located in South Beach’s more residential “south of Fifth” neighborhood on South Beach at 431 Washington Avenue, Tongue & Cheek is now open.
Positioned to be Miami’s next savory sensation, Tongue & Cheek features approachable, ingredient-driven, American fare with just the right amount of whimsy. Inspired by DeRosa’s travels and multi-ethnic gastronomic obsessions, the menu is diverse without being unwieldy or unfocused. Much like the “snack bar” that welcomes guests as they enter, the Snacks section of the menu ($5-$15) gets things started. House-made rye crackers come with country ham and cheddar pimento cheese – a luscious Southern treat. A trio of Boquerones (white Spanish anchovies), mellowed by a bright citrus marinade, is served atop baked planks of media noche bread. A deconstructed Spanish-style tortilla is served in delicious layers with a sous vide egg, potatoes and deep fried scallions. 100% pure Iberico de Bellota ham is sliced to order and served with pickled vegetables and bread.
Appetizers ($9-$18) embrace both classic American favorites as well as more unusual offerings. Fried clams, inspired by DeRosa’s wife’s Rhode Island childhood, come to the table fried to order in a basket with cherry peppers and smoked aioli. A definite standout is a salad of raw and pickled peaches, served atop whipped French feta, greens, topped with candied hazelnuts and peach sorbet. Lettuce wraps have never been better, served here with crispy pig ears, Florida oranges and salted peanuts. And there is, of course, the aforementioned cauliflower panna cotta with uni and American caviar.
Technically complex but deceptively simple and delicious, Mains ($20-$30) deliver big flavors. Suckling pig is served with a succotash of fresh peas and morel mushrooms, dressed with garlic cream. Crisp lamb belly comes accompanied by barbecued octopus, roasted eggplant and Romanesco sauce. Day boat scallops get the Florida treatment, served with hearts of palm, popcorn puree and spicy yuzu. House-made chitarra pasta is served Carbonara-style with salted & cured pork belly, sweet corn and Fregola. Fried chicken with Tabasco hollandaise shares the stage with a basket of fish n’ chips and the classic American hamburger is given a must-try-it-to-believe it spin – beef cheek is ground in-house and formed into a six ounce patty, cooked to perfection, served with caramelized sweet onions and pimento-infused cheddar cheese on a house-made brioche bun.
Posted by Paula Votendahl