The man who packs foie gras and char siu into homemade bialys in his Surfside deli has taken over the kitchen of a longstanding Coral Gables bar, adding options like a pretzel quesadilla.
For about two weeks chef Josh Marcus has been behind the line at The Bar off Miracle Mile tweaking the lunch menu here and there while trying not to stray from bar food. The place is owned by Marcus' partner John Donovan, whose watering hole trio also includes Brickell's Blackbird Ordinary and Sunset Harbour's Purdy Lounge.
"I came down here one day for a drink and said, 'Dude, what's going with the menu?'" Marcus explains. He quickly set out to overhaul it, adding sliders filled with turkey bone marrow or lamb and foie gras ($4 for one, $11 for three) and yucca mozzarella sticks with avocado vinaigrette ($8). Dinner may be in the offing at some point down the road.
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The move also gives Marcus an opportunity to branch out from his wildly successful Surfside spot where he says the menu is "on lock." In the past he's repurposed the space for a night or two as a pizza or taco joint. His last restaurant, Chowdown Grill, was a hit thanks to funky, hand-made dumplings, but ultimately struggled due to dual locations that were too close together. The South Beach one shuttered, while the northern spot eventually turned into the deli. "This was a perfect way to do something else without worrying about what I've already got," Marcus says.
At The Bar, he seems to be toeing the line between culinary creativity and no-frills drinking fare. "It's a bar and I'm not changing that, I'm not trying to be a gastropub," he says. "The philosophy is food you can eat with your hands."
The Bar is located at 172 Giralda Ave., Coral Gables; 305-442-2730, gablesthebar.com.