Posted March 19, 2013
By MELISSA CASTILLO
Miami’s newest embassy isn’t located inside of a high rise, it doesn’t resolve conflicts, nor does it issue passports and visas.
Instead it issues wine and beer, resolves hunger cravings and is located where The Blue Piano once was in Buena Vista with a red sign dangling above the sidewalk, “The Embassy of Well-Being and Debauchery.”
The ambassador is no stranger to Miami’s dining scene.
Before the artists and fashion designers revived Midtown and produced the hipster infestation, Chef Alan Hughes was a pioneer to the area in 2002 with the opening of his restaurant, One Ninety. In the six years it was open, the Sunday brunches became legendary among locals and was voted as “Best Sunday Brunch” in 2004 by the Miami New Times.
The Embassy opened in December 2012 and the new brunch menu undoubtedly lives up to its predecessor’s reputation. As can be assumed by the restaurant’s name, the dishes are globally inspired and as can be assumed by their motto, debauchery is unavoidable.
Although there isn’t an extensive selection, it’s difficult to make a decision since there is an exotic appeal to about half the dishes. Luckily, everything comes in small portions and therefore, customers can indulge their appetite’s desires without the guilt of overeating.
This is the case with the dinner menu as well, which includes an array of tapas and pinxtos that change periodically. Other international dinner dishes include baked risotto, pickled tongue, and foie gras with pears.
Nations represented on The Embassy’s brunch menu includes France with duck confit hash, Mexico with huevos rancheros, and Spain with jamon Serrano. The oddest dish on the menu is gravlax, simply because the name sounds more like indigestion medicine than a meal. It’s actually raw salmon cured in salt, sugar, and dill and surprisingly delectable. It comes with soft-boiled eggs for $12.
Another seafood dish is a singular crab cake and two poached eggs with hollandaise sauce for $14. The sauce is so delicious that if it weren’t inappropriate, customers would literally lick the plate clean. Overall, the food looks and tastes wonderful but fair warning: the meals have more than an average amount of pepper.
And of course, brunch wouldn’t be complete without a mimosa. In this case, a lychee mimosa brought over by Hughes. Since the restaurant was practically empty, he had time to converse with the few customers sitting at the bright yellow bar while he shined glasses on the other side of it. His close interaction with the environment, beyond just the kitchen, added to the homey feeling immediately felt when entering the quaint, yet funky pub.
The Embassy has the same furniture as the Blue Piano but an entirely different personality. The back wall is covered with a nonsensical collage of stimulating photos that resemble cutouts one would find in contemporary magazines. There are pendulum-shaped blue cylinders dangling from the ceiling and a few Asian symbols randomly fixed on the yellow bar.
The shelves extending past the bar that were once stacked with wine bottles are bare with only small ornamental flowers and studs pasted along the borders. The floor, which was once an even tan color, resembles the patchy concrete look found in warehouses. The colorful, erratic, barely-trying style of the place makes it difficult not to smile when first entering the room.
The informal charm of the tiny pub was also seen with the live music coming from the back corner. There was a young teenage boy playing the guitar and a middle-aged man playing the saxophone, also known as the jazz duet Claudens and AJ. They were both casually seated and it seemed as though they were simply jamming out instead of putting on an actual show. Their relaxed style of performance enhanced the level of intimacy.
The only aspect that had any sort of flaw was the service. Considering there were only a few customers seated at the bar and one party at a table, it shouldn’t have taken more than a few minutes to bring over a menu. Nonetheless, the young waitress kindly apologized and afterwards, was attentive without hovering.
Also, the food was ready much faster than expected and as many people know, that’s rare. This type of surprise reoccurred when the check arrived and there was actually a sense of relief. Five uncommon dishes and a satisfied appetite only cost $45.
A potential downfall for customers is that since the food is amazing, the décor is jovial, the owner is friendly, and it’s all affordable, The Embassy’s popularity will likely skyrocket. Unfortunately, considering the size of the pub, it seems as though it can only handle so much adoration before the homey ambiance and fast service dissolves with the crowds. Fortunately, this means good business for the praised chef.
- The Embassy
- Address: 4600 NE 2nd Ave., Miami, Fla. 33137
- Price range: $10 – $30
- All major credit cards accepted
- Street parking at meters
- For reservations: 305-571-8446 or online at http://www.theembassymiami.com
- Monday: Closed
- Tuesdays – Thursdays: 6 p.m. to 12 a.m.
- Fridays: 6 p.m. to 3 a.m.
- Saturdays: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 3 a.m.
- Sundays: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.