Friday night dinner at “R House Wynwood,” one of the coolest, most dynamic restaurants in the Magic City. It also happens to be the perfect place to celebrate Art Basel 2017, because no one should “baaaasel” on an empty stomach.
Magnetic, inspired and original: “R House” is more than just a restaurant, it’s an experience.
Sitting loud and proud in the center of Wynwood, it’s a place that beckons you from the street and quietly seduces the senses once inside. It’s not just about breaking bread, either (although the bread is to die for)…
Instead, it’s a seamless mix of art, food and music with a sexy attitude woven in-between, which coincidentally mirrors the characteristics of the Magic City, especially this week as Art Basel bares down on our majestic mecca.
From South Beach, Midtown, Mimo to Wynwood, there are a lot of different places to celebrate, but “R House” has that *thing* everyone seems to be looking for during one of the biggest art fairs in the world.
I don’t mean to sound elusive when I use the word “thing” — but art is subjective and personal, making it almost impossible to define in a food blog. It is, however, something that can make you feel good, which is a beautiful thing considering the climate of the world we live in and “R House” does just that: makes you feel good.
The restaurant, which features all kinds of gorgeous artwork you can buy while filling your belly, is the brainchild of Chef Rocco Carulli. Although he credits a lot of people around him for his success, it’s Rocco himself who willed “R House” into existence.
When I met him last Friday night, he lit up like a Christmas tree recounting how he left his restaurant up north to give this city a go. It wasn’t easy, either, and at the time, Wynwood wasn’t exactly the hot bed it is now. Despite all the idiosyncrasies of the food and real estate business in Miami, he built his eclectic vision and never looked back.
The food at “R House” is described as “rustic Southern Italian complemented by modern farm-to-table American dishes.” While that’s accurate, it’s also delicious and high-quality. Chef Rocco knows his stuff and he does it with the ease and grace of a food ninja. When his cuisine saturates your tastebuds, you don’t know what hit you, but you know you want MORE.
Oh, and did I mention the liquor? Using top shelf spirits like Skyy Vodka, a lot of the cocktails are infused with delicious fruits and other fresh ingredients, making even Wild Turkey easy to swallow (I’ll get to that in minute) but first…
I started #Spotlight with the strawberry-muddled “Japanese Lemonade” made with sake. Who doesn’t like fresh and fruity? Plus, I’m a sucker for anything pretty & pink. The cool as a cucumber “Culantro Martini” (made with cucumber-infused vodka and elderflower liqueur) has a delicious cilantro flair.
While I love drinks with originality, I like the classics, too. Especially Old Fashioned’s & Moscow Mules. “R House” has original takes on both. With strawberry-infused vodka, homemade ginger beer and muddled strawberries, their mule is magnificent. The “R Old Fashioned” (which comes with straight bourbon whiskey or rye whiskey) is mixed with raw brown sugar, aromatic bitters, orange zest and garnished with an Italian cherry. It’s mind-boggling-ly smooth. (Warning: your mind WILL boggle with two.)
From the Sharing Plates part of the menu, I inhaled the “Yellowfin Tuna Tartare” (made with avocado, sweet chili sauce, wasabi cream and wonton chips.) It’s a MUST-TRY. The “Beet Arugula Pesto Salad” is healthy and yummy with goat cheese and spicy candy pecans.
Just call me ‘Meatball Sandoval’ after trying the “Grass-Fed Brisket and Short Rib Meatballs” — I could eat them everyday for the rest of my natural born life. Hmmm…I sopped up Chef Rocco’s heirloom tomato marinara with perfectly baked bread. If you happen to be a fan of tiger prawns, the “Gamberetti Marinara” is terrific and boasts a chili flake kick. BTW, all prawns are NOT created equally; while gi-normous, these are also tender and tasty.
Before my main course, my server (who was the perfect mix of interesting and knowledgeable) suggested the drink most people can’t get enough of. He actually called it the “Happy Hour Destroyer”… I laughed out loud at its bequeathed title, but he insisted it was true. “Women love them and before you know it they’ve had one, two, three.. we have to cut them off” he explained. Well then, by all means…
The Happy Hour Destroyer is actually called: “Berry Bourbon” (made with Berry-infused Wild Turkey bourbon, berry puree and lime juice.) WOW. I get it now. I’m a total convert and I’m not exactly a Wild Turkey kind of woman. I can change my ways, though. Lol. Next…
I tried “Braised Lamb Shanks” from the Main part of the menu (made with a porcini mushroom-coriander-cinnamon rub and served on a bed of arugula pesto Israeli couscous.) The meat fell off the bone and the couscous was the perfect texture, not too hard; not too soft. Hmmm…
I’ve never had “Zeppole” but Chef Rocco changed that; serving his delicious Italian doughnuts smothered in powdered sugar. They come in a medium sized brown bag — shake and pour. I tried raspberry and chocolate. Who doesn’t love little round balls of fried dough? It’s heaven in a nondescript sack.
Food, art and music are some of the best things in life and when they merge together under one roof, it’s like Art Basel all year long and that’s why “R House” is one of my Favorite Things. Cheers! And, Happy Basel-ing.
R House Wynwood
2727 NW 2nd Avenue
Miami, Florida 33127
Wednesday – Thursday: 3pm-10pm
Friday 3pm-3am, Saturday 12pm-3am & Sunday 11:30am-9pm
PS-they also have an amazing brunch that’s a real ‘DRAG’ — check-out their website for all the showstopping details.