Izzy's Fish & Oyster to swim in to South Beach

Jamie DeRosa, chef-owner of Tongue & Cheek in Miami Beach, is opening Izzy’s Fish & Oyster a few doors down from his current restaurant. The New England-meets-Miami seafood joint at 423 Washington Ave. is eyeing a January opening.

“It’s sort of like a trip down memory lane for us,” DeRosa explains, sitting next to his wife, intellectual-property attorney Amy Spagnole-DeRosa, at Tongue & Cheek on Saturday.

The DeRosas took a two-week road trip from Miami up the East Coast in 2012 when their daughter, Isabela, was 6 weeks old. Spagnole-DeRosa is from Rhode Island, and DeRosa cooked for a spell in Maine in the late ’90s (“I didn’t know what to do with a lobster when I got to Maine,” he says. “Now I can cook it 101 ways.”). 

Between Izzy’s naps, the DeRosas stopped at seafood shacks along the way, sampling oysters in Long Island, steamer clams in Rhode Island and lobster rolls outside Boston. 

To re-create that experience in Miami, the DeRosas are remodeling the short-lived SoFi Public House into a family-friendly, locals-welcoming space with fresh seafood, happy hour specials and weekly clambakes. When Izzy’s opens early next year, it will serve dinner (and happy hour) daily, with weekend brunch service following. 

Miami.com got a first look at the menu, which is dotted with New England specialties like Parker House rolls and Boston cream pie (both of which originated from the same Boston hotel restaurant), clam chowder, hot and cold lobster rolls, and peel ‘n’ eat shrimp.

Raw-bar items include East and West Coast oysters, littleneck clams, Peruvian scallops, shrimp and mussels. Cold starters like tuna ceviche lettuce cups as well as hot entrees like crab cakes and beer-battered fish ‘n’ chips will  be prepared with as little fuss as possible, DeRosa says. Of the crab cake: “The freshest lump meat, no filler, quick sear, and right on the plate — the way it should be.”

Izzy’s Fish & Oyster will seat about 50 people in its dining room plus more at the bar, where DeRosa plans to have at least six craft beer drafts and possibly a few cocktails on tap.

As for staffing, DeRosa says he’ll mostly promote from within, and he says he’s looking forward to being on the line at the new place while also overseeing Tongue & Cheek

“This is the food I love to cook and I love to eat,” he says.

You can follow Izzy’s Fish & Oyster’s progress on Facebook and Twitter