Early last year, a coworker of mine mentioned a new BBQ restaurant that opened in Coral Gables that I just HAD to try. I didn’t pay him a whole lot of mind, until said restaurant was present at Burgerliscious 2013 and wowed me with their burger. Since then, it has been on my to-do list to pay a visit to Swine Southern Table and Bar.
Swine is the latest addition to the 50 Eggs, Inc. family, which consists of Khong River House (which I have been to) and Yardbird Southern Table and Bar (which I have not). With them 50 Eggs, Inc. has proven that lowbrow comfort food can be elevated to fine dining tastes. And, since Swine was voted Best Restaurant in Coral Gables by the Miami New Times, it was time to go check it out.
When I first walked in, I thought the restaurant looked TINY. Then, the hostess leads me up the stairs to another level of the restaurant, which effectively doubled the restaurant’s size. Loft-style dining, eh? I can dig it.
I should also point out the baskets of incredibly fresh-looking produce on display near the entrance to the kitchen. A taste of things to come, hopefully.
We started with the burnt ends. I was already curious to try them, but this review at tasting Table basically made up my mind.
My first bite was a forkful of watercress. It tasted like it had been tossed in pure vinegar, or an extra-tangy vinaigrette. Undaunted, I speared a chunk of burnt end with my fork, which practically fell apart as I was moving it to my plate. The charred salt and pepper crust on this brisket easily gave way to an interior of fatty, juicy amazingness. The molasses mop was incredibly rich and sweet. I found that eating it along with the watercress produced a melodic symphony of savory, sweet, and tangy. The dish was flecked with a few squares of fried cornbread, golden and crisp.
Then, the rest of the meal came…
We ordered their mac and cheese, which was talked up by many Yelpers. It is made with 5 different types of cheeses, as well as bacon. I really appreciated that the mac and cheese was gooey, not dry. I cannot suffer a dry mac! One of the cheeses that they use must be a really sharp cheddar, because that was what I tasted the most. Disappointingly, I did not taste any bacon. Still, this was a darn good mac. Was it “the best ever”? Nah, but it’s definitely good.
The ribs at Swine are smoked, not grilled. They are served with homemade pickled vegetables.
Now, I must admit, I was a little apprehensive about trying these ribs. All of the pictures I had seen online made them appear dry and tough. I must say that I was always under the impression that you wanted your ribs to “fall off the bone.” However, once my family moved to Texas, I discovered that most serious smokers want a rib with “a little bite to it.” I think that this accurately conveys these ribs. They held their shape when grabbed with a fork, but the meat was still tender enough to ease off of the bone with a little bit of coaxing. You could smell and taste the aromas of the cherry, hickory, and mesquite woods used in their smokers in every pink, smokey bite. The mop had just the right amount of sweetness.
Ordering a brisket steak after sampling their burnt ends might seem like overkill, but there is no such thing as logic in the name of cuisine. If the puddle of meaty, juicy, deliciousness didn’t clue you in, I feel like I made the right call. Under that thick, molasses-glazed crust lies brisket nirvana. The soft, tender meat was dotted with globs of flavorful fat. It came with a side of cheesy grits, which were grand. I normally prefer my grits plain, but these grits really worked. I am not sure if this was the same cheese that they used in their mac and cheese, because the grits had a mellow cheese flavor that lacked the sharp tang of the mac. There also seemed to be little bits of corn in the grits, which broke up the texture monotony.
If you have your doubts about upscale barbecue, I urge you to cast them aside. Swine delivers a powerful punch of barbecue heaven. It is a veritable oasis of smokey splendor. Be warned, you may get addicted. And, if our $150 tab is anything to go by, this is going to be quite an expensive addiction.
For more information on Swine Southern Table and Bar, visit their web site at http://www.runpigrun.com/