Enter the venue that opened in the waning days of 2015, and the first thing you notice is an impressive collection of whiskey. Above it are dueling flat-screen televisions and rows of neon-lit shelves that look like they were torn from the bar of an aging business hotel. Two guys noodling on a keyboard and bongos sit across the room on a low-slung stage. They sound as if they were introducing a poetry slam.
Then your server appears, bearing a garlicky parsnip purée ringing a fat fillet of beautifully crisped red snapper. An elegant salad of shaved vegetables ruffled with celery leaves adds a tannic counterweight to the plate. Next comes a churrasco in the form of an ultra-tender and flavorful Wagyu flap steak. The kimchee has been spiked with chimichurri. A black bean miso sauce adds more umami with the right amount of salt. Tender pickled shiitake mushrooms are tart enough to power up each bite.
And though it doesn't look like it, the bar is more than a just a place for a quick one on the way home. Here, sprigs of rosemary combine with vodka, guava, and lime juice to create a biting, savory reanimation of the mojito. Jammy tamarind pulp, Angostura bitters, and more lime mix with egg whites and gin to concoct a kind of tropical-hued gin fizz that isn't overly sweet.
There's no good reason for such diverging elements to come together under the same wooden rafters. Yet somehow at
The sometimes-bespectacled, increasingly tattooed cook seems to be a barrel of ambition that can't sit still. In a few short years, he's worked briefly at Michael's Genuine, Eating House, and the Vagabond. He pushed the pedal-powered ice-cream cart
But plans for his own place, to be called Decorated Slang, never panned out. Most recently, he ran the kitchen at Brickell's La Divina Gastro Club before departing around the time of its opening.
Vegan chicharrones aren't quite as good as the real thing. But the curly puffed rice
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At the same time, tostones con avocado — crisped plantain cups filled with lime-dashed avocado mash — don't seem to get the special touch that most dishes enjoy. Instead, opt for Constantin's take on deviled eggs. Six beautifully jiggly whites come filled with a velvety,
Small touches like that one are hints that
1252 Coral Way, Miami; 305-345-9868; nemegastrobar.com. Bar daily 4 p.m. until late; dinner daily 7 p.m. until late.
Vegan chicharrones $3
Evil eggs $10
Tostones con avocado $10
Tataki havanero $18
PB&J fried chicken $18