Every once in a while I have the privilege of having a meal filled with "a-ha!" moments. However, it is incredibly rare to have nothing but "a-ha!" moments. Something is always off - the service, the food, the coffee, the temperature of the room, the noise, something. This meal was nothing but "a-ha!" moments from start to finish. It was almost surreal. This trulywas the perfect meal.
Eating House is a pop-up restaurant located inside the Cafe Ponce spot. What's a pop-up, you say? Well, a pop-up restaurant is a restaurant concept taking over the facilites of another restaurant spot during non-business hours. For example, Cafe Ponce runs an Argentinian bakery for breakfast and lunch. Eating House takes over the place in the evening and for Sunday brunch. Wiki says they "are an ideal way to gain exposure of young professionals' skills in the field of hospitality in order to get investors and attention to open a restaurant or another culinary concept." Genius! Speaking of exposure, the chef/owner/mastermind, Giogio Rapicavoli, was a winner on Food Network's Chopped in January 2012.
The place is teeny-tiny and has a cuban cafeteria kinda feel to it. Do not let the appearance fool you - once the daily menu (changes daily) and bowl of popcorn hits your table and you notice the very cool graffiti art hanging on the walls you know you won't be getting stale, day-old croquetas or pan con bistek. No sir, not here.
They offer a sweet selection of craft beers. I asked our server (Julia, who was AMAZING!) for a recommendation based on what I typically drink and she really knew her stuff. We started with Blue Point Toasted Lager and Shipyard Summer Ale. Both were new beers for both of us and we really liked them. The Toasted Lager had a nice kick after a sip.I later had a Woody Creek White Flying Dog, which was also awesome. What wasn't so awesome was me spilling it when the waffles came. At the sight of the waffles I clapped like a retarded seal in excitement and hit the bottle. Luckily I only spilled a small puddle on the floor (whoops!)
Julia stated portions are bigger than tapas and meant to be shared, so we went for the Crispy Brussel Sprouts, Fried Chicken Thighs, Pasta Carbonara & Maple Leaf Farms Duck Breast.
My dearly beloved loves brussel sprouts. I hate them. I think they are ugly and taste like fart. However, I was not about to turn these down since I am becoming more adventurous these days. These little green monsters were presented beautifully with a perfect fried egg on top. I popped one in my mouth and marveled at the amazingness upon me. Holy crap. They were really, really, really good! They still had their funky taste but the texture, caramelized outside and combo with the egg yolk and korean BBQ sauce made me forget their flatulent nature and dig in. "You're eating brussel sprouts..." my husand said. Yep. And they were really damn good.
Fried Chicken Thighs were all that and more. The chicken was tender, meaty, tasty, and fried beautifully. The perfect amount of batter and golden crisp without the reminder that you're eating something so dangerous. Dangerous I said? No... add the sweetest candied bacon to fluffy buttermilk waffles and hot-sauce ranch with maple syrup and that's real danger. So dangerous I spilled my beer.
This dish was ridiculous. The picture is horrible and does it no justice. I am going to have to go back for another pic.
Following that amazingness was the Maple Leaf Farm Duck Breast which came along with whipped sweet potato, crispy kale and georgia peaches. The meat was super tender and super juicy. Duck is such a fabulous meat. The flavor is so different in such an awesome way. I also enjoyed the crispy kale. Kale is so simple yet so delicious. The texture adds a really slight texture to the softness of the duck and peaches. This dish was a really nice surprise for a new duck lover like myself.
Next - hello, pasta carbonara! Where have you been all my life? This. Is. The. Bomb. This dish was fantastic. Really. Applewood bacon, black truffle, double egg yolk and parm. You know how people say something is "flavorgasmic" or "my mouth had an orgasm.?" Well, I think I had my first real mouthgasm and this pasta popped my cherry. The minute I put this is my mouth there was a physical reaction - my tounge started going into spams, no joke. I don't remember reading there was truffle in it, so that was a complete surprise for me. The truffle was strong and played very well with thick chunks of bacon and the egg yolk just brought everything together. The noodles, cooked perfectly, were the perfect vessel for the masterpiece that is this combo of strong flavors. Simply amazing.
For dessert we went for "breakfast"& "smores". Both desserts were awesome. The Breakfast consists of Reese's puffs mousse, whole milk panna cotta, housemade coffee salts topped with candied pieces of Reese's Puffs. I love peanut butter so this was awesome for me. The Mouse was super light but still flavorful, the panna cotta had a perfect texture. The candied Reese's were really yummy and added a nice crunchiness to everything.
The "smores" is a sinful combor of hearty and rich dark chocolate brownie, charred housemade marshmallow fluff, graham cracker mousse & sea salt caramel. Yum. The brownie was plenty and really fudgy, just how I like it. The mouse and marshmallow were sweet and smooth and the caramel added a nice salty touch. Madness, pure madness.
Not photographed but worthy of a mention is their cappuccino. It was out of control as well.
As I said before, this meal was truly the perfect meal. Do yourself a serious favor and go to Eating House. NOW!
Eating House (at Cafe Ponce)
804 Ponce de Leon Blvd
Coral Gables, FL 33134