By Sara Liss
The goods: Miami burger fiends now have a new outlet to satisfy their seared-meat cravings: Burger & Beer Joint on Bay Road. Located in the old Ouzo South Beach spot in the booming restaurant row off Purdy Ave (new pizza place Casale is across the street and newcomers Sea Rock and Shiso are blocks away), this place follows the recesson-friendly dining wave serving burgers, beer and not much else.
Ambiance: The rock and roll-themed complex consists of three venues – the raucous restaurant with high-backed booths and a bustling bar, the neighboring spots bar with flat screens and graffiti walls and an upstairs lounge with bordello furniture and crystal chandeliers. Be prepared to shout at your dinner companions as noise levels here border on cacophonous with a soundtrack that veers from thrash metal to rock classics and a post-frat clientele prone to pairing mugs of beer with tequila shots. Making reservations is also a good idea as wait times on busy nights can last up to an hour and food takes a while to get to the table.
The grub: Burgers, fried food and more burgers. Executive chef Carlos Barillas (who’s had stints at Nobu, The Raleigh and Sushi Samba) brings gourmet flair to the otherwise working-class menu with touches like American Kobe beef, foie gras toppings and the option of drizzling truffle oil over your shoestring fries. Prices are in keeping with the saloon-like atmosphere: burgers average $10, starters are $6-$9 and beers are $6. You could pretend to go healthy by starting with a Mediterranean salad with feta and watercress or just get straight to the artery-clogging fare with dishes like tempura-fried pickles, organic chicken wings doused in hot sauce and the self-explanatory “pig in a bucket,” a slab of hickory-smoked pork belly served with maple syrup in yes, a small metal bucket. Burgers can be had in either half-pound or one-pound varieties with the option to upgrade from the free range angus beef to American kobe or ground turkey. Vegetarians are included in the gut-busting action with a hefty “Dear Prudence” burger consisting of two fat Portobello mushroom caps, roasted red peppers, arugula and mozzarella served with a side of tempura-battered zucchini fries.
There are 99 varieties of beer available – the majority by bottle. But if you’re in the mood for a draft they have Sierra Nevada, Presidente and Brooklyn Lager on tap. Desserts can be had via the old-school soda fountain and ice cream bar where “adult” milkshakes are spiked with sweet liquors and classic sundaes share space with rodeo fare like deep-fried twinkies.
Verdict: It’ll be loud and crowded but if you love burgers and beers you’ll brave both for a meaty feast.
Burger & Beer Joint: 1766 Bay Road, Miami Beach; 305-672-3287