Under normal circumstances, the launch would have been a straightforward rollout of the popular brand, says Carlos Centurion, president and founder of Centurion Restaurant Group. But amid Miami's persistent coronavirus concerns, it proved more challenging.
The Falls location was initially scheduled to open in early April, but the launch was delayed until late July. The restaurant launched with all the COVID protocols, from contactless QR-code menus to a modified reservation system that allowed guests to be seated immediately.
"The decision to open a new restaurant is a risk under any circumstances, and current conditions obviously present a whole host of additional challenges," says Patrick Morey, senior director of operations for Bulla Gastrobar. "However, when we looked at our newest Bulla Gastrobar in the Falls, we saw a beautiful new restaurant with a great, covered patio ready to go and missing only the guests and the team to bring it to life."
The menu embodies Bulla's "alta cocina" approach and includes signature small plates such as huevos "Bulla," prepared with eggs, homemade potato chips, Serrano ham, potato foam, and truffle oil before being mixed tableside; croquetas de jamón made with Serrano ham croquettes and fig jelly; and patatas bravas, crisped potato cubes tossed in a spicy brava sauce and topped with aioli. Larger plates include shareable items such as a paella mixta made with Valencia-style rice, calamari, clams, shrimp, fish, chicken, and saffron.
The restaurant is offering a Miami Spice menu that's available to-go or for outdoor dining, but Bulla Gastrobar's executive chef, Victor Lopez, says he's especially proud of his pintxo moruno.
"A true pintxo moruno is marinated in the spice blend known as ras el hanout — Arabic for 'head of the shop,'" Lopez explains. "The basic blend is often made up of cumin, oregano, coriander, turmeric, paprika, nutmeg, cayenne, peppercorn, and cinnamon — but each chef adds their own distinctive touch to make the dish unique."
At Bulla the dish is prepared with cubed pork or chicken cooked on an open-fire grill, allowing the spices to build to a unique, toasted aroma and flavor. Presented on a wood board over a toasted baguette, the skewers are topped with the house-made yogurt and mojo verde sauce.
"It's a piece of Spanish heaven," Lopez promises.
Bulla Gastrobar at the Falls. 8870 SW 136th St., Miami; 786-697-8146; bullagastrobar.com.