The Station, Miami's first attempt at an "art lounge restaurant" had its soft opening a little over a month ago, which has given us here at Short Order ample time to let its managers prepare the kitchen for our visit.
It's located at 63 NE 14th St., just down the street from its musical neighbor and longtime tenant, The Vagabond. As far as the edibles go, there's not much to compete with near The Station that's open for late night or early morning bites.
Yes, early morning.
You see, The Station is a new late night spot that will be offering after-hours service both inside and outside in what its three owners dub a speakeasy with a modern twist. There are three rooms and menu options for guests to pick from three nights a week (as of now) from 9 to 5 a.m., with some nights running till 8 a.m. Chef Adrian Peña promises that as long as the music stays hot so does his stove top.
Peña is a Venezuelan chef with a cooking background that extends 16 years of managing the Tex-Mex Café Taco Rico. He opened the chain's Pincecrest location. A lot of his influence, he says, stems from an interest in international cuisine mixed with tropical and Caribbean flavors; the menu here includes ingredients like homemade mango and passion fruit sauce. It's not all finger food, which might be a problem for the crowd who's coming here for drinks and music. And there isn't a profusion of choices, Adrian wants to change this, however, shifting more towards finger and grub food and away from items like short ribs. Sucking a bone in the middle of an "art lounge restaurant" while trying to groove isn't exactly appropriate. And will you crave a chicken cordon blue or salad in the midst of getting yo' drink on? Better are their many flatbreads, veggie taquitos, or steak tacos.
The chef's favorite and proudest dish is the Salmon fritters, which he tells us he thought up in his sleep. So how does his wife feel about him staying out all night cooking something up and dreaming about salmon? She stands right beside him in the kitchen at The Station. They wrap up and go home when the last song is danced and the last meal eaten, whatever time that may be.
The Station looks like a 1960s gas station; the outside is adorned with high top tables made from stacked up tires, mixed and matched chairs, and a painted fence full of pop-art blondes that resemble Marilyn Monroe. The inside is broken up into two parts: the garage and the library. The Garage is is for the underground techno heads that love to dance and will need a place to keep partying 24 hours during WMC (The Station plans to stay open). The latter is for less dancing and more sitting, eating, and reading. Here you can enjoy a more open format of music and some menu items ranging from $6 to $17 like the following:
Yucca chips with cilantro sauce $7.
Hummus triple: original, garlic, sundried tomatoes & pita chips $9.
The Station chicken nachos with pico de gallo & sour cream (spicy!) $11.
Short ribs with chef's special sauce and peppercorn mushrooms sauce $16.
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Salmon fritters with parsley sauce $14.
Bar & drink record menu.
Follow Carla Torres on Twitter @ohcarlucha.