The goods: The Asian invasion continues with Pubbelly, a pork-bun wars combatant with a gastropub approach. Restaurateurs Andreas Schreiner, Jose Mendin and Sergio Navarra boast experience at top Miami spots (Casa Tua, La Broche, Sushi Samba, Mercadito) and bring their Latin backgrounds to bear on the eclectic menu.
Ambience: Located in the former Shiso space, the gourmet tavern has exposed brick walls, blond wood tables, a tiled raw bar and only 40 seats. Crowds bring a youthful energy to the small space on busy night and tend to be good-natured about the long waits.
The grub: Pork, pork and more pork plus game and shellfish. Prices are low – most plates go for under $12 and two people can easily dine for about $40. There’s a well-curated list of craft beers, sake and wine plus a small menu of sake cocktails. Dishes, served tapas style, are meant to be shared. Among the early hits: duck and pumpkin wontons, salt and pepper squid and butterscotch-miso-glazed pork belly with pumpkin and bok choy. Four large meatballs are paired with a “spaghetti” of noodles and bean sprouts in a lemongrass-flecked sauce. The pig worship continues with a dessert of soft-serve vanilla ice cream topped with brownie chunks and bits of crispy bacn.
Verdict: If you love bacon, this is your spot. Otherwise stick with the great selection of beers and sake cocktails.