Bulla Gastrobar Takes Por Fin's Place
All photos by Zachary Fagenson
Bulla Gastrobar, in the space that Por Fin once occupied, opens this week just off Miracle Mile. Short Order was invited to a friends-and-family opening to taste some of the menu and see how the space was transformed from a white-linen restaurant to what owner Carlos Centurion hopes will become a bustling, bar-centric Spanish eatery.
Despite the free meal, some diners must have been upset that liquor and jamón ibérico weren't gratis; they seemed to feel no shame while heckling our waitress about the speed with which plates and drinks landed on their table.
The interior is warmed with raw-wood tabletops, chalkboard-painted walls with some dishes' names written in sweeping script, and a communal table next to an enlarged bar with a cheese and charcuterie display. Hovering overhead is a back-lit blocky mosaic intended to make the bar the focal point of the room.
The menu is split into three sections. The main event, "tapas y raciones," features about two dozen dishes with the must-haves -- patatas bravas and so forth -- as well as some of their own creations like Huevos Bulla, a sort of Spanish poutine with homemade potato chips, a fried egg, Serrano ham, potato foam, and truffle oil.
Queso de Cabrales.
There were also sections for cured meats and Spanish cheeses ranging from a pungent Cabrales to Garroxta, a hard goat's milk cheese.
Buñuelos de Bacalao.
Of the few fried choices on the menu we tried the Buñuelos de Bacalao ($8). Crispy, salty, not-too-fishy codfish fritters came in a clay-red cazuela with a dollop of smooth romesco sauce.
Cochinillo, or suckling pig ($19), spared some diners the uncomfortable experience of seeing the whole pig, face and all, before eating it. Perhaps a smart move for the well-heeled, Coral Gables clientele. A squat, compressed rectangle of juicy pork meat was topped with a thin crisp of skin and came with a few meaty oyster mushrooms covered in a simple ajo perejil, an olive oil and parsley sauce.
Pinxto Moruno ($8) offered two skewers of cubed pork loin generously seasoned with cumin and salt. The -- say it with me now, gringos: peen-shows -- came atop a crust of olive-oil-brushed, grilled bread with a piquant mojo verde and Greek yogurt sauce that give the dish a Middle Eastern flavor profile.
Three crispy-on-the-outside, juicy-on-the-inside pork and veal meatballs, known as Albóndigas ($9), came covered in a tangy tomato sauce called "tomato frito" with stracciatella cheese, a torn mozzarella and cream mixture that's often the filling in burrata.
- Por Fin to Reopen as Tapas Bar Bulla
If all this looks a bit meat-heavy, don't fret. Among the dishes we didn't try were a distinctly South Florida-sounding tuna tartar ($13) with mango and avocado. There was an Ensalada de Invierno ($12) that at the moment includes kale, butternut squash, and hazelnuts and will change with the seasons, according to our server.
The only real letdown was the absence of a gin-and-tonic list we found on a preview menu. Manager Diego Aguilar said that they're still sorting out issues with a tonic-water supplier who's creating a special blend for the restaurant and that it should be resolved "soon."
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