Restaurants & Bars

[Miami Beach] Pubbelly

michelleats | May 7, 201209:14 AM     6

Really an enjoyable place to eat, this restaurant. Here's a quick rundown of the food. There are accompanying photos here: http://www.girleatscity.com/2012/05/p...

Pubbelly's signature dish of pork belly with kabocha, butterscotch miso and corn powder was quite wonderful, really a perfect rendition of this type of pork belly preparation. A thin, caramelized, sweet and salty crust married gorgeously with tender, tender, succulent meat, a pleasant (and not overly thick) layer of fat, and then another layer of meat. This might be the most tender pork belly I've ever had. The sweet scent of butterscotch made perfect sense with the schmears of kabocha on the plate and the pork belly.

I also fell head over heels in love with was the house smoked wild sturgeon with asparagus, fried yolk, dry miso and caviar dressing. The carpaccio thin slices of sturgeon were very nicely smoked and paired incredibly well with acidic, tender, marinated asparagus and rich, fried egg yolk, which looked like culinary magic to me. The yolk had been lightly battered and then apparently deep fried in a way that left a perfectly crispy, non-oily crust encasing a golden, liquid core that oozed deliciously over everything when you cut into it. I didn't think the caviar dressing was really necessary after that yolky indulgence and the thick texture of the dressing somewhat overwhelmed the fish if you weren't careful to dab only a small amount. But the dressing did go nicely with the asparagus.

The bay scallops bourguignon with shiso garlic butter, sea salt and baguette immediately captured all the senses, bubbling away merrily in its cast iron pan -- the kind with little indentations used to make takoyaki. (There was one scallop in each indentation.) Shiso leaves had been made into a garlicky pesto, which I thought was rather brilliant. The scallops were sweet and cooked to a perfect, tender state of doneness. The entire dish was fragrant with butter, which together with the fragrance of hot bread and the slight crunch of sea salt, was impossible to resist. The bread was very tender, hardly glutinous at all and perhaps more closely resembled Cuban bread than a French baguette.

The cochinillo / suckling pig, Brussels sprouts, cinnamon, sour apple and soy jus came as a crispy square of tender, succulent, pulled suckling pig. The sprouts were caramelized on the outside, not at all bitter and in general very nicely cooked. Apple appeared in two forms. There was an interesting sweet green apple sauce on the plate (to the right, hiding under the meat in the photo). There were also diced apples gently pan fried with cinnamon. The thick soy jus was concentrated and deeply flavorful. This was a very nicely done plate.

The shortrib and corn dumplings with black truffle, corn soy, sorrel, Parmigiano had thin skin, had been pan fried, and were served in a plate with a mustard sauce. The mustard component overwhelmed the truffles, but otherwise, the dish was nicely balanced.

Udon carbonara with green peas, confit pork belly, poached egg, parmesan, bacon and black pepper was an interesting and delicious take on a carbonara. Pork belly was quite tender, without losing its grasp on texture. Its chew actually slightly resembled the springiness of the udon. Bacon retained its crispness and did not become rubbery. The slivers of crisp snow peas (or sugar snap peas?) had a crunch that played to interesting effect with the meaty crisp of bacon. Piling excess on excess, the poached egg of course broke dramatically into the already rich, creamy broth/sauce.

There weren't many options for the vegetarian in my group. Even the delicious-sounding side of Brussels sprouts included bacon miso salt. One of the few meat-free plates on the menu was the burratina from DeSteffanos Creamy, CA with papaya, beansprouts, green apples, soy and Jeres vinegar. This was an interesting, almost desserty combination of creamy burratina with sweet, ripe papaya that closely resembled rojak. I liked certain elements of the dish, including the contrast of soft cheese and soft papaya with crispy, juicy sprouts and apples, but overall, the plate was a little too discombobulated for my personal tastes. (I also don't really love rojaks, for the record.) My vegetarian dining companion said she enjoyed it very much, though.

One of the few other vegetarian dishes was green pea toast with marinated feta cheese and chives, a simple, pleasant, nicely executed preparation. The lovely green pea puree, pleasantly sweet, was wonderful with chives. There was a bit too much feta on the toast for my tastes, but the sweet pea puree with salty feta worked conceptually.

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