After being seated at the U-shaped bar that takes up most of Semilla Eatery & Bar, a dining companion asked the big question: "Just what the hell is a gastropub, anyway?"
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a gastropub is a "pub, bar, or tavern that offers meals of high quality."
By the above definition, Semilla Eatery & Bar is a true gastropub. It's chef/partner, Frederic Joulin, has worked at Michelin-starred restaurants in Paris and Las Vegas and most recently served as executive chef at Villa Mayfair in Coconut Grove.
It just so happens Joulin wanted to open a neighborhood restaurant where people could have a beer or cocktail and solid food without breaking the bank. The menu at Semilla is a combination of shareable plates and proteins as main dishes. The chef cooks everything to order in the open kitchen in the center of the large bar. It's part theater, part restaurant, and it gets people talking.
It's a bold move (when we were there, a steak placed on the grill caused a giant smoke bomb for about 20 seconds), but it pays off when, sitting with a glass of rosé, you see plate after plate of items being hurried off to someone else. With taste buds whetted, it's a safe bet that "I'll have what he's having" will be a phrase often uttered.
Hamachi ceviche is a light start to the evening's meal ($13).
Tenderloin beef skewers with sweet soy ($12).
Braised short-rib potstickers ($12) pair well with a pint of local beer on draft.
Croquetas go "uptown" when made with Vermont goat cheese and bacon ($8).
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Buffalo roasted chicken potstickers, served with blue cheese, might just be your next obsession. Don't question it -- just order them ($12).
Ice-cream sandwiches are cleverly disguised as sliders ($3.50).