Pubbelly – Miami Beach – June 2011

Posted: 10/09/2011 in 2011 Restaurant Reviews, Medium 2011

4.25 out of 5

First note: I arrived with high expectations… read along. The venue at Pubbelly is relatively small with a dining room inside and tables outside, very much in the gastropub style for hanging out and having tapas size snacks to share – which is the theme except mostly Asian-ish. The décor and atmosphere is casual and comfortable, hip and increasingly trendy – but not necessarily in a bad way. We got a table right away because it was later but a caveat would be that they do not do reservations and it is both on the smaller size and very popular, although I read they are expanding which is exciting to know. The service was outstanding as it was consistent, polite, informative, and helpful (all key elements of service) throughout the night with only once looking around for our server when we were in a bit of hurry to get the check and go.

The menu is broken down into “small plates”, which make up most of the menu, as well as vegetables and sides, charcuterie and raw, dumplings, bread, noodles and rice, and a few “large plates.” My intent was to get something from the various areas. We started with the shortrib tartare which is hands down one of the best tartars I have EVER eaten – just melt in your mouth – followed by a wedge salad, which was broken down bite-size and tasty. We then had sweet breads with buffalo sauce and bleu cheese, which surprisingly made a lot of sense once in the mouth – so much so that I recreated the exact same dish at home some time after. Their McBelly sandwich was what I wanted it to be in quality but a bit small in quantity but I have to admit, for $6 I would likely eat it again.

The Duck and Pumpkin Dumplings tasted remarkably like duck, although with the sweet pumpkin I missed a bit of the salty – MSG – (yeah I said it!) flavor of the more common Chinese dumplings. Either way they were awesome and undeniably ducky.  Brussels sprouts were well done but much like could be found in other places. Then there was the Yaki Udon: thick, unctuous, perfectly cooked noodles in an earthy, black, abysmal (visually and in a good way – not a description of the flavor) sauce of mushrooms and huitlacoche, that black corn fungus you’ve probably seen Andrew Zimmern eat on Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods on Travel Channel. It was so good in fact that I had it, still refrigerator cold, for breakfast as soon as I woke up the next morning, which says a lot considering it is an Asian noodle with corn fungus.

It is a small but complete menu with many items that include some form of pork belly, hence the moniker. The place provided outstanding, creative food with excellent service, reasonable prices, and a casual and lively environment. No smoke and mirrors here folks, with the only caveats being that I have not been there during regular, very busy hours, nor even more than once so consistency has yet to be proven but if it is like this again… it will deserve a higher rating. Final note: I left thrilled and with every intent of returning.

Pubbelly
(305) 532-7555
1418 20th Street
Miami Beach, FL 33139
www.pubbelly.com

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