Bitchin' Crabcakes at Lou's Beer Garden
Best of Winner for New Bar/North, is made easier by the bright
neon sign in front of The New Hotel. But it's not easy
The entrance is on the side of the
hotel. You follow a path wreathed with green on either side, then emerge onto a concrete pool deck. There's often live
entertainment and always more neon lighting up the bar. Scattered
tables with comfortable plastic chairs dot the
concrete patio that wraps around the pool. Nothing screams "bar"
or "restaurant." So you wonder whether you're in the place
that serves $22 New Zealand lamb and $9 beers.
The table ordered two Chimay Tripels
($9.69), one of three Belgian beers on tap. We tried for a glass of Juan de
Valdelana Rioja ($8), but they were out so we settled for the Vina los Valles Organic Rioja
($8.50). Lou's serves only red,
white, and sparkling wine, and beer. The beers on tap include Raging Bitch ($7.50), Dead Guy Ale ($7.25), and Hennepin ($6.75). Bottled beers, featuring Monk in a
Trunk organic ale ($6), Strong Bow Dry Cider ($6), and Buffalo Bill's
Pumpkin Ale ($6) range in price from $6 to $7.50.
Chef Lou Ramirez, chef and owner,
prides himself on his gastropub. His menu is a constant work in
progress. He works with purveyors such as FreshPoint, and puts a lot of care into
a menu that he fears is becoming too fine dining. "We're getting
too close," Chef Ramirez says, then shudders at the thought. He
explains that his pizzas ($13 to $16.95), which are cracker-crispy are made with
five types of flour. The veggie pizza ($16.95) is topped with tomato
sauce, mozzarella, onions, green bell peppers, kalamata olives,
mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes. Sauce is the only ingredient lacking.
The menu is diverse, yet simple. There
are just two salads: summer blue ($9.50) and Onassis Greek ($10.50, $13.50 with shrimp). The Greek salad is not
over-dressed and is comprised of fresh romaine lettuce, tomatoes, red
onions, kalamata olives, cucumbers, green bell peppers, and Greek
feta cheese drizzled with Esporao Portuguese E.V.O.O. and fresh
pressed lemon juice.
There is a cheeseboard ($14), a meat board ($15), and a cheeseboard/meat board combo ($22). The flash
fried calamari ($11.95) comes with baby squid rings cut and flash
fried (in peanut oil) to order and served with San Marzano tomato
marinara sauce, of which the order could use a more generous side of.
Chef's Table Specials include Bitchin' mini crab cakes ($15.95)
pan-fried and complemented by lightly seasoned Rucula and the Chef's
three sauces. The organic churrasco steak sandwich ($12.95) is cooked
to temperature (medium-rare is recommended) and pressed with French
baguette and melted blue cheese, and served with an arugula salad
with tomatoes and onions.
While the menu does not currently offer
dessert, Chef Ramirez tells us that his sous chef, who has a penchant
for desserts, is working on items such as a key lime pie made with a
Lou's Beer Garden
7337 Harding Ave., Miami Beach
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