"What's your favorite restaurant?" That question got us all thinking. If we had
to choose one top dog at gunpoint, what would it be and why? Each week, a
different Short Order blogger will celebrate his or her favorite eatery
-- be it celebrity-chef-driven or a neighborhood hole-in-the-wall.
Why? Because we're tired of having to explain our favorite dining spots
at cocktail parties and weddings.
I become quickly obsessed with a good pub. I like to have a familiar place to return to, beer after beer; somewhere comfortable, with just a trace of clean cut cool (a dirty pub has dirty food, dirty bathrooms, etc.). However, I also like to eat, and even when I am raving lunatic drunk, food has to look good and taste good, or I won't touch it. This is why the "gastropub" trend has crawled directly into my heart and nested there, presenting the dreamy combination of craft beer lists (edited with thought and a passion for hops) alongside a menu embracing the idea that even chicken wings taste better when they actually are made with better ingredients.
It was the first cool kid on the block, premiering the "gastropub" concept on South Beach before anyone else in Miami was truly getting it right. Pubbelly is a democracy from start to finish, where the threesome of co-owners make every menu decision and seating is offered on a first come basis. Even though it's dinner on SoBe, you can dress supremely casual, without anyone pointing and snickering. Beers are seemingly drinkable street side without any legal ramifications (I hope I didn't just blow that), which feels very much like downing ale in London-town. It's almost a pleasure to wait for a table under these circumstances.
It's such a great place for groups, particularly because there are so many things on the menu that are going to sound wonderful. All traditional bar food cravings will be indulged, but at a higher rate of return (you will feel cheated only ordering a few).
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Buffalo wings here transform into sweetbreads with pickled celery; fried chicken thighs get a brief dip in mustard miso before becoming finger licking good. Everything from the duck confit to their BBQ baby back ribs begin with carefully sourced products from farms across the U.S., dedicated to providing a kinder, gentler, more flavorful brand of protein.
The Asian element is really what makes Pubbelly my restaurant boyfriend, because the menu is just so well rounded (like every good boyfriend should be). Here's a destination where I can choose between pork belly fried rice or soupy ramen, but also snack on the happiest of Spanish tapas offerings - dates, stuffed with chorizo and wrapped in bacon, topped with a dollop of goat cheese cream.
Although the bar area is indeed small, scoring a chair ensures you hours of endless bites and beer mongering, plus, you'll wind up with the best service in the house. Although the Pubbelly team has certainly branched out, and continues to do so, the original will remain my first love.