With a name like Tongue & Cheek (@TandCMiami), this restaurant clearly doesn’t take itself too seriously. Chef and owner Jamie DeRosa has created a menu that’s a fun and contemporary take on American dishes.
The décor and atmosphere of the space plays nicely with its theme – dimly lit, loud music, exposed brick walls and mason jar pendant lighting. Tongue & Cheek is also known for their great bar program so you can tell they’ve spent a great deal of effort on creating the gorgeous illuminated marble bar.
While they have a tempting brunch menu, it’s only served on weekends and unfortunately we ran out of weekends during our trip. So, we dropped by for dinner instead which is served everyday from 6pm. They also have happy hour everyday from 5pm to 8pm. Oh, and if you check-in with Foursquare, you can get a complimentary glass of champagne.
Tongue & Cheek’s menu is quite extensive – there were so many items I wanted to try! So, I recommend coming with a larger group and sharing a bunch of dishes. Appetizers range in price from $9 to $17 with entrees around the $25 to $35 price range (with the exception of the burger which is priced at $19).
We started our night off at the bar. I decided to go with The Walking Dead – Death’s Door gin and Matt’s Farm strawberries ($14) which was a simple but darn tasty cocktail. Exactly what I was looking for
Mike went with the Honey Nut Manhattan – Angel’s Envy bourbon, organic honey & smoked walnut oil ($17). We could definitely taste the walnut in the cocktail and liked that it wasn’t too overpowering.
Before ordering, we were served some complimentary Salted Pretzels – with bourbon mustard. Delicious little bites!
We wanted to share an appetizer and narrowed it down to the Chicken Liver Pate – with pickled vegetables, local honey & grilled bread ($12). Served in a bowl, it was a pretty substantial portion for something so rich, so it’s definitely one of those sharing appetizers. The pate was smooth with a hint of sweetness to it. Overall, it was a solid dish but I’ve eaten a lot of liver pates and didn’t find this particularly memorable.
For my main, I ordered the Beef Cheek Burger – with cheddar pimento cheese, sweet onions & house made brioche ($17). The patty is cooked to your preference – I asked for medium rare and it came out perfectly. It doesn’t look like a very large burger but it was deceivingly filling. The thick and juicy patty had a nice char to it and was seasoned wonderfully.
There wasn’t anything I didn’t like about this burger – an excellent patty, a lovely creamy cheese, sweet caramelized onions and a really stellar house-made brioche bun which held up surprisingly well against the juicy patty. Needless to say, this burger lived up to all the hype. These pictures don’t do it any justice.
Mike’s main was the Portuguese Octopus Bolognese – uni gnocchi & bottarga ($28) which came served underneath a layer of foam. The gnocchi was enjoyable, as were the tender bite-sized pieces of octopus. It was a tasty dish but I wished the uni flavour was more pronounced. Uni has a very distinct flavour and unfortunately we couldn’t really taste it in the gnocchi.
One of the sides we shared was the Roasted Corn – with lime, espelette, aioli & parmesan ($10) which arrived in a skillet. I assure you, we licked this skillet clean. ‘Nuff said!
The other side we shared was the “Poutine” of Braised Brisket – with cheddar and pastrami spiced fries ($12) which was another stand-out of the evening. Prior to coming to Tongue & Cheek, I had read many great things about the poutine but I was a little skeptical… after all, I am from Canada so I’ve had my fair share of fantastic poutines. But after one bite, all my skepticism melted away. It consisted of thick spiced fries, generous chunks of shredded braised brisket and melted cheese. A home run!
To end our meal, we ordered the Banana Coconut Cream Pie – with Italian meringue ($11). I guess I was expecting a slice of pie so I was surprised to see that it came deconstructed. Not a bad dessert…but I wished they had used regular (crunchy) meringue instead of a creamy meringue. It just needed a little something for texture.
There were definitely some dishes that I enjoyed more than others but I have to say, the stand-outs were truly something special! You’ll find me back at Tongue & Cheek for their much-lauded brunch.
At a glance:
• Chef and co-owner Jamie DeRosa
• An extensive menu of contemporary American dishes
• Prices: appetizers range from $9 to $17; entrees from approx. $25 to $35 (except for the burger which is $19)
• Dinner everyday from 6pm; brunch on weekends; Happy Hour everyday from 5-8pm
• Free champagne for checking in on Foursquare
• Highlights: beef cheek burger, roasted corn and poutine of braised brisket
Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 3.5 stars
• Service: 4 stars
• Atmosphere: 4 stars