Tongue and Cheek to Open in SoFi: We Chat With Chef/Partner Jamie DeRosa

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Jamie DeRosa has finally announced the project he's been working on since leaving his position as executive chef at Tudor House in July 2012 with partner Michael Reginbogin.

Tongue and Cheek, which will open in the former Kane Steakhouse spot in SoFi, will serve "approachable, ingredient-driven, American fare with just the right amount of whimsy." In addition to the food, the restaurant will offer an extensive signature cocktail

list and a "cozy bar." The restaurant decor is being completely

reworked with solid wood tables and art created by local talent.

According to DeRosa, the menu is still under development, but the name

(and the chef), should give you clues. After all, this is the man

who offered house-made Peeps on the menu of a restaurant driven by a

celebrity chef. We're expecting some interesting meat dishes and small

plates, along with an array of desserts from pastry chef Ricardo Torres.

We spoke with DeRosa, who is clearly looking forward to sharing his very personal food journey with Miami.

Read also:
- Jamie DeRosa, Michael Reginbogin to Open New Restaurant

New Times: What is the inspiration for your new menu? What is "approachable, ingredient-driven American fare"?
Jamie DeRosa: We took a three week road trip on a culinary journey and went to some of America's favorite eats. I really wanted to hone in on what people were eating. I wasn't looking for cuisine trends, rather a feel for food, if you will. What you want to eat every day. 

We started in Savannah, we went to Sean Brock's restaurant in South

Carolina and traveled through Rhode Island, New York, and Washington D.C.

Atlanta was a big thing for me. We visited Richard Blais' restaurant. I was influenced by the fact that there's some wonderful food out there that's simple but really well executed.

Also, for the first time, I'm infusing a lot of my experience of living in China and traveling in Asia from 2007 - 2009. So, there are really no restrictions to the restaurant.

Describe the restaurant.
First off, we're having an open kitchen. It was really important to incorporate that into the restaurant. The space has a long bar and we're keeping the bones of the restaurant and the beauty of the long bar. I'm going to turn the first third of the bar into a "snack bar". I don't want to use the term tapas, because that's limiting. But that snack bar is really going to bring an extra interaction from the chef to the diner. As soon as you walk into the restaurant you'll see a young chef with a denim apron and a funky hat. We're making ourselves more approachable -- less formal white coat and more local and friendly.

My pastry chef and my sous chef have just come back from a two week trip to Barcelona and they're really eager to make beautiful sweet and savory foods. We really want people to take a tour of the menu. I want to have that same element of Barcelona where you can have a different experience in the late afternoon, maybe heading from the beach to dinner to a late night snack before going to a club. I think that 's most important about Tongue and Cheek.

Our menu will change every day. I want to work

with my inspiration of the day. For instance, if I were to make a dish

today about what I felt, it would be about moving to Miami Beach.

The name Tongue and Cheek... that's a play on words.
Even though the name is a play on "tongue-in-cheek" I could not be more serious about the food. I want it to be fun and enjoyable for the guests. And, yes, there will be tongue and cheek on the menu. Maybe a smoked tongue and some braised meats. We're going to have about ten items to start from the daily menu, and another dozen or so items for the snack bar. We'll work on lunch in the future.

How about price?
We're going to be cognizant of the price. We want to appeal to the locals. I myself don't live on Miami Beach and neither does Michael [Reginbogin] so we're aware that people have to drive over the bridge, then pay for parking. It's going to be very price conscious. I think there's a sweet spot for pricing. We're locals. I go to places that offer good value. I want to build a place where people like me want to go. Good vibes, good food, good pricing, and good value.

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