Last March marked the opening of Swine Southern Table & Bar (@SwineSouthern), another restaurant from the 50 Eggs restaurant group (@50eggsinc). The group, which is the brainchild of John Kunkel (@50eggsjk), also owns the wildly successful Yardbird Southern Table & Bar and Khong River House.
I’m a huge fan of Yardbird so I was a little worried that Swine wouldn’t live up to my high expectations. But it turned out, I had nothing to worry about as it was one of my favourite meals of my most recent Miami trip.
Swine Southern Table & Bar is located in Coral Gables– is it just me, or does it seem like this is new the new hotspot for restaurants? During our short trip, we came down to Coral Gables several times purely for food.
We had a late 9pm reservation for dinner on a Friday and the place was packed. We had to fight our way into the restaurant as there were huge crowds of people waiting to snag a table. No surprise – the food is well worth a wait!
The decor of the restaurant certainly matches its food. The large space has a rustic feel to it and resembles a barn with shades of dark brown and red which is quite the departure from its bright and airy sister restaurant, Yardbird. To light up the dark space, they had these gorgeous bulbs hanging from the high ceilings which span two stories.
While the atmosphere is quite casual and laid back, there were a lot of incredibly well-dressed folks getting down and dirty in their BBQ plates. I felt a little underdressed…that is, until I dropped a piece of meat onto my lap. Yeah… can’t take me anywhere!
Anyway, we started off our meal with some drinks. For those of you into dark liquors, Swine has an impressive selection that goes on for pages. I started with the Hand Shaken Pina Colada – 86 Co. Cana Brava rum, Appleton reserve rum, coconut milk, fresh pineapple, Bitterman’s tiki bitters & grated nutmeg ($13). In hindsight, I’m not quite sure why I chose this drink. While it wasn’t a bad cocktail, I just felt it didn’t compliment our dish choices very well.
My second cocktail, the Mexican State of Mind – El Jimador tequila, Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, fresh pressed watermelon, jalapeno, cilantro, agave nectar & radish ($14) was a much better drink for our rich and heavy dishes. Very refreshing! However, I wanted a bit more spice in it and wished the cilantro was more pronounced as it was more of a garnish.
Mike’s cocktail choice was the Swine Old Fashioned – bacon washed old Overholt rye, maple syrup and house-made ‘Swine’ bitters ($15). He enjoyed it – no complaints!
If it isn’t obvious from the name of the restaurant, their food is centred around pork. If you visit their website, you’ll find the quote “The only part of a hog you can’t use is his squeal”, so this probably isn’t the best restaurant for vegetarians or non-pork eaters. I do want to note though, that they do have some menu items which they specify can be made gluten-free or vegetarian.
To start, we ordered the 1855 Black Angus Burnt Ends – fried grits, Kansas City molasses mop and local purple watercress ($18). These fatty, tender and flavourful pieces of meat hit it out of the park. They were covered in a generous amount of tangy sauce which we licked up with the delectable fried cubes of grits. I loved everything about this dish. A must order!
We thought it was going to be difficult to top our first dish but the ½ Lb 14-hour Smoked Brisket – chicory and spice rubbed, soft potato bread and Swine molasses BBQ sauce ($28) was equally delicious, if not better. I have to admit, I’m not the biggest brisket fan but it’s probably because I’ve never eaten brisket like this before. It was one of the fattiest and juiciest briskets I’ve eaten. The brisket had a wonderful smokiness and the spice rub was killer. The brisket came with a side of BBQ sauce which I didn’t even find necessary since the meat had so much flavour on its own.
Portion-wise, it wasn’t huge (especially for the price) since they only give you four pieces. But given the fat content, it’s an incredibly rich dish and I’d say it’s definitely enough if you’re eating this on your own.
We were considering ordering two BBQ entrees but having read such amazing things about the burger, I couldn’t resist ordering The Swine Burger – short rib, brisket and smoked pork blend, homemade dill pickle, thick-cut house-smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, American cheese and Swine Special sauce ($16). Best. Decision. Ever.
I have absolutely nothing negative to say about this burger. I just wished I was able to snap a better photo. This really doesn’t do it any justice. The juicy patty was the perfect blend of meat, the bun held up amazingly well, the dill pickles gave it a nice little pop, the cheese was perfectly melted and whatever the special sauce was made of, it was doing it for me. It kinda tasted like Big Mac Sauce (which I love!).
Ordering some veggies to balance out the meal seemed like a good idea so we ordered the Crispy Brussels Sprouts – with green apple and bacon vinaigrette ($6). It still counts even if it’s covered in a bacon vinaigrette, right?
The Brussels sprouts were a solid dish but nothing to write home about. A lot of the dish was in leaves as opposed to full bulbs (our preference) which made it feel like more of a salad. I also would’ve preferred if there were actual pieces of bacon in it.
With a dessert menu full of comfort food classics like housemade pie, milkshakes and cookes & milk, you’ll want to save room. Our choice was the Warm Sticky Icky Bun – maple-bourbon toffee syrup, pecan butter, candied smoked bacon, “sweet potato pie” ice cream ($10). Let me assure you, it tasted as good as it sounds.
You’ve gotta get a bit of each component into each bite – the warm sticky bun, the sweet & savoury bits of bacon, the decadent pecan butter and the very creative sweet potato pie ice cream. As you’d expect, it was a very sweet dessert (I definitely recommend ordering a coffee to go with it) but it was pretty darn satisfying.
Needless to say, Swine Southern Table & Bar killed it. Too often, restaurants are surrounded by so much hype that they turn out to be a huge letdown. Thankfully this wasn’t the case here. For all you meat-eaters, this Coral Gables hotspot is definitely worth a visit!
At a glance:
• Brought to us by the 50 Eggs restaurant group (who also owns Yardbird Southern Table & Bar)
• Serving up delicious BBQ in Coral Gables
• Must orders: the burnt ends, brisket and Swine burger
• An extensive selection of dark liquors
• Open 7 days a week (dinner everyday; lunch on weekdays; brunch on weekends)
• Best to come with a group bigger than 2 so you can sample more of the menu; the dishes are very shareable
• Prices are on the high side but the food is excellent
• Happy Hour everyday from 4pm to 7pm
Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 4.5 stars
• Service: 4 stars
• Atmosphere: 4 stars