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Tongue & Cheek Opens Today

Tongue & Cheek

opens today in tony SoFi after months of planning and one long weekend of tweaking. The restaurant, a collaboration between Jamie DeRosa and Michael Reginbogin, will offer an eclectic menu comprising American classics and dishes inspired by chef DeRosa's travels.

The 150-seat dining room highlights artwork by local artist Claudio Picasso, whimsical characters created by Deep Sleep Studio, and a 15-seat bar that does double duty as a snack bar, featuring "snacks" such as country ham and cheddar pimento cheese served with house-made rye crackers; boquerones (white Spanish anchovies) marinated in citrus and served on baked planks of medianoche bread; and sliced iberico de bellota ham served with pickled vegetables for $5 to $15.

Read also:
- Tongue & Cheek: What's Behind All Those Characters? DeRosa Speaks

If you haven't had fried clams since you left the North, you might feel

nostalgic when you see them on Tongue & Cheek's appetizer menu.

Other appetizers include a salad of raw and pickled peaches

served atop whipped French feta and greens with candied hazelnuts and

peach sorbet; and cauliflower panna cotta with uni and American caviar.

Appetizers range from $9 to $18.

Main courses cost $20 to $30

and include suckling pig with succotash, fresh peas, and morel

mushrooms; crisp lamb belly and barbecued octopus with roasted eggplant

and Romanesco sauce; day boat scallops with palm hearts, popcorn

purée, and spicy yuzu.

In a nod to classic Americana, T&C will serve

fried chicken with Tabasco hollandaise and fish 'n' chips. In

addition, a hamburger, made with beef cheek ground in-house, will be

offered on a limited daily basis. DeRosa explains, "A lot of work goes

into that burger, so we won't be making a ton of them. We haven't

figured out what the magic number will be, but we'll make only  certain

number a day. When they're gone, they're gone."

So where does

the "tongue in cheek" come in at Tongue & Cheek? Look for it in the

cocktails ($13 to $44) -- such as the Bourbon for Apples (Buffalo Trace bourbon,

green

apple, and fresh thyme) and the Walking Dead (Death's Door gin and

Matt's Farm strawberries) -- as well as the daily "family meal." Each evening from 5

to 7, patrons can chow down on the same food that Tongue &

Cheek staff members eat before their shift begins. A restaurant tradition, the family meal usually consists of simple and hearty fare. For $10,  guests will be served that same meal on a red dinner tray, along with a

throwback beverage like Mellow Yellow or taro root bubble tea.

The

family meal changes daily, but if this week's items are an indicator, it

sounds like a pretty good value:

  • Monday - Crazy fried rice with lamb belly, shrimp chips, and chocolate cake
  • Tuesday - Taco Tuesday with pork carnitas, yellow rice, tomato-avocado salad, and flan
  • Wednesday - BBQ beef brisket, grilled corn, potato salad, and cornbread
  • Thursday - Kraft grilled cheese with tomato soup, potato chips, pickles, and house-made jello
  • Friday - Meatloaf and gravy with mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, and sweet rolls
  • Saturday - Roasted chicken, green bean almondine, macaroni 'n' cheese, and chocolate cookies
  • Sunday - Beef Bolognese with rigatoni, caesar salad, garlic bread, and Ricardo's tiramisu

Desserts will play off of childhood favorites. Sweet treats include a Cracker Jack milkshake with house-made "Baby Ruths" and salted pretzel ice cream. We're hoping DeRosa's very own "Peeps" pop up from time to time (at least for next Easter).

Tongue

& Cheek is open daily for snacks beginning at 5 p.m., with dinner

starting at 6. Happy hour is celebrated seven days a week with $4

craft beers (including Monk in the Trunk, Dale's Pale Ale, Lagunitas

IPA, Florida Cracker, and others except Chimay) and $8 signature

cocktails (except for nitro drinks). The restaurant serves until 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and midnight Friday and Saturday. Lunch service, including a "brown bag" to-go concept, will follow shortly.

Follow Laine Doss on Twitter @LaineDoss and Facebook.

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