Clearly we didn't attend last night's opening at The B&B Lounge, the third arm of Buzzy Sklar's new trinity of meat (there's a sports bar, too) at 1766 Bay Road on South Beach. We rang no later than 8:30 a.m. this morning curious about how the restaurant, Burger & Beer Joint, is coming along on week one.
How about tableside delivery of "The Mother Burger," a 10-pounder arriving via pizza skid wielded by Executive Chef Carlos Barilas? Could this be a jab at Casale Pizzeria across the street? Certainly not subtle is the accompanying utensil for slicing, which won't be lost on fans of horror flick The Saw. It's treated first, of course, and courtesy of The Home Depot, giving new meaning to the slogan "You Can Do It, We Can Help."
"There's no way he could finish this," taunts Sklar when we ask if he's expecting a call from the Travel Channel's Man Vs. Food. Our hometown meat-crushing Burger Beast, should certainly be up to the task. Maybe he'll share one with South Florida Beer Blog, since they plan to visit this coming Monday night.
Barilas (formerly of Ago, Nobu, Sushi Samba and China Grill) has created a menu fit for the slickest of man caves and easily washed down with the almost 99 bottles of international beer on the wall.
"The Snacks" include tempura-floured "octane wings" of slow-braised organic chicken doused in homemade hot sauce at 87, 93 or diesel ($8,) and the token "basket o' bacon," featuring hickory smoked, thick slice Duroc pork belly with grade a maple syrup ($10.) These and other hot apps are supported by wilted spinach, chopped and iceberg wedge salads, as well as daily soup specials.
Seven specialty burgers are named after rock songs, ranging in price from the hefty $48 "stairway to heaven," packing a decadent 10 oz. of American Kobe-style (Wagyu) beef, 3 oz. Hudson Valley foie gras and black truffle demi (glace) on a brioche bun, to the no-bun $9 "buck naked" with 10 oz. of prime angus beef wrapped in lettuce with tomato, grilled red onion and pickle. In between, there are myriad choices like the ahi tuna "turning Japanese" for $16, and the clever palindrome-flipping turkey burger, "fly like an eagle," in which two turkey patties contain a homemade stuffing, brown gravy and cranberry sauce for $12. Find a way to make a juicy turkey burger that tastes like Thanksgiving, and we're there any day of the year.
If you can't decide, and you aren't up for the motherload, more than 50 toppings are available with "The Custom Burger," a build-your-own option, apropos since according to Sklar, who you may recognize from Automatic Slims, he
and partner Ron Garcia have more than 50 years combined experience in
the restaurant/nightlife business.
Sklar notes that the concept is also made to order for the neighborhood, and has been able to draw its families, too, an important group that has helped to bolster Purdy Avenue strip staples like Joe Allen's and Sardinia Enoteca over the years. B&B's old-school soda fountain with shakes, egg creams and ice creams, and waffle
cones should be crowd pleasers with the set with kiddies -- plus a full XXX shake menu with
cordials for grown-ups.
Despite the spot-on vision for B&B, its space, which is as colossal as "The Mother Burger," can't seem to hold down a restaurant for long. When asked if he's concerned about its track record, Sklar responds reasonably, confidently:
Everyone keeps asking me that same question, and I tell them that we're breaking the curse. I actually don't believe in the idea of a bad luck space... It's all about the right place, right time and the right people. It's big, but that's why we subdivided into three concepts the locals can really embrace. We give people the steakhouse feel with 120-year old Chicago brick and oak wood, but at burger prices.
As for the possible chink in the previous tenant's armor?
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"I mean, how many gyros can one sell [in a space like this], you know?"
Burger & Beer Joint
1766 Bay Rd.