Tongue & Cheek

With one meal left in Miami before our cruise aboard the Allure of the Seas, we pondered about what to eat.  Instead of eating Cuban food again (hey we needed some diversity), we headed over to Tongue & Cheek in South Beach.  Surprisingly, I was able to find a parking spot, but not without controversy.  Someone tried to save a spot for their buddy by standing in it.  I parked there anyways to the chagrin of the buddy.  The driver arrived a few minutes later to ream me out...  Uh...  Really?  Someone is messed in the head...

Anyways, we ignored the lunatic (not before making sure he didn't do something to our car) and made our way to the restaurant. We were started off with some Cheddar Biscuits which were cheesy, super airy, eggy and light.  These were really good.  As for the appies, the first one to arrive was the Escargots of Snails with garlic herb butter and cognac which were both plentiful and soft.  Of course the whole thing was buttery and garlicky.  However, there was a serious lack of seasoning as if they didn't add salt.  The lemon wedge was not merely a garnish as it added the necessary acidity.  Next up was the Veal Tartar with pickled mushrooms and cured egg yolk BĂ©arnaise.  Mixed together, the salt and crunchy bits accented the mild and smooth veal.  The creamy tenderness was a nice contrast to the well-charred crostinis.

One item that really caught my eye on the menu was the Chicharrones of Chicken Skin with Japanese mustard.  As much as I liked the first few bites, there was no way I could eat the whole thing.  Unlike the traditional pork chicharrones, these were much lighter and airy rather than crunchy. Viv decided to order off the Miami Spice 3-course meal menu starting off with the Calamari prepared 2 ways.  Both versions were really tender while still maintaining a bite.  Although not seasoned particularly aggressively, the pickled onions added a nice acidity and the necessary flavor to the dish.  My son decided to order off the kid's menu and opted for the Mini-Burgers with American cheese and French fries. These were pretty good with a barely-done patty which was moist and flavourful.  The sesame seed brioche was really nice being soft and not dry.  The accompanying fries were both plentiful and crunchy.

For my main, I wanted to pay homage to the name of the restaurant by ordering the Crispy Florida Grouper "Cheeks n' Chips".  By description, I envisioned something more grand than what was presented on the table.  Served in a small red plastic basket was 5 small cheeks with a modest amount of fries.  I did like the cheeks though as they were moist and crispy, if not quite greasy.  Being creamy with onion and tarragon, the tartar sauce was a nice compliment.  My parents went for the Grilled Beef Ribeye "Cap" with duck fat potatoes and baby carrots.  Despite the small portion, making up for it was the beautifully prepared tender and fatty cap. Viv's main course was Beef Bourguignon with egg noodes a la Julia Child.  Nestled within the soft noodles were tender morsels of meat and wonderful mushrooms.  However, there was a lack of flavor, in particular the absence of a wine essence.

We also got some sides including the Roasted Summer Corn with lime, espelette, aioli and Parmesan.  The sweet corn had a nice pop which was further enhanced by the plethora of butter and a slight kick from the espelette.  Second, we tried the Brussel Sprouts with whipped ricotta, orange and pistachios.  We found the sprouts to be a little too soft, but in the end, it was a decent side.  The combination of flavours worked, in particular, the noticeable tang.  We were all pretty stuffed at the end, yet Viv still had dessert (Mango Mousse with orange cake, white chocolate crumble and raspberry) as part of her meal.  As much as it appeared to be small in size, the dessert was quite substantial.  Fortunately, it was light and refreshing and only semi-sweet with a real mango hit.  Afflicted with a few flaws, this was still a relatively decent meal (albeit a bit pricey).

The Good:
- Some interesting eats
- Nice vibe and decor

The Bad:
- Seasoning issues
- Service was okay, but took our server a long time to warm up

Tongue & Cheek on Urbanspoon

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