Monday, September 30, 2013

I EAT: Barton G, Miami

After a day of speeding through swamp water in search of alligators, J and I were ready to slink into a luxurious dinner. On a whim we decided upon Barton G the Restaurant, Barton G. Weiss's first restaurant. I personally don't appreciate when experimentation with food forms overpowers the substance of the dish, but Barton G magically hits the sweet spot between the two. Dinner was theatrical, charming, and playful without sacrificing taste.

Upon pulling up to the restaurant, J and I were slightly confused; the restaurant seems to be nestled in the heart of a sleepy residential neighborhood. But looking back, the juxtaposition only adds to its charm. One slips out of the mundane darkness and into an oasis of soft mood lighting and culinary play. After scrolling our way through the iPad menu, J and I decided to order a spattering of appetizers to share. In order: Crispy Voodoo Shrimp Rolls, The Upper Crustacean, Raging Risotto, and Boarnie Madoff's Bucket of Bones. For dessert, the Big Top Cotton Candy. The result? One of the most well-earned food comas I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing.

More on each after the jump!

Pictured above are the Crispy Voodoo Shrimp Rolls, probably my favorite dish of the night. The "lollipops" emerge floating atop a cloud of pineapple-coconut infused wispy smoke.  The wonton wrapper casing is perfectly crispy and stuffed juicy "Jambalaya" crabmeat. A delicious twist on a Chinese takeout classic.

The Upper Crustacean is composed of rock shrimp and lobster chunks, perfectly fried and served atop a bed of popcorn with a side of sweet n' spicy chili sauce. Which is just so darn cute because it's literally "popcorn shrimp". Eh? Eh? Hilarious. 

Next up, J's favorite dish: the Raging Risotto. A triple cheese (asiago, fontina, and mascarpone) risotto studded with sweet corn, pumpkin chunks, and soaked in a grilled scallion puree. The asiago arrives on the side with a mini cheese grater, so you can decide how much to use. In two words I'd describe the Raging Risotto as warm and welcoming. The type of dish you want to curl up with on a couch, or you know, inhale every last grain of.

Of the four appetizers, Boarnie Madoff's Bucket of Bones was perhaps the least inspiring. Which is not to say it wasn't delicious. The bucket is stuffed with a variety of meats- beef ribs, pork ribs, lamp chops, and chicken wings- all doused in a succulent apple bbq sauce. When I say succulent, I really do mean it. At one point, I started dipping the "popcorn shrimp" into the bucket to scrape up remaining droplets. That said, some of the meats tasted overcooked, and the ceramic jailed pig display seemed like a last-minute desperate decor add-on.

Last but certainly not least, the Big Top Cotton Candy! As far as ingredients go, the Big Top Cotton Candy is nothing too fancy: chocolate, popcorn, pretzels, and cotton candy. But the composition is key here! The towering monstrosity is composed of a base of mason jars filled with caramel, white, and dark chocolate-covered popcorn supporting a voluminous mushroom cloud of cotton candy, and topped with sparklers. Insane. And a kid (at heart)'s dream. J's hardly as large of a sugar-addict as I am, but together we trooped through most of the cotton candy before the humidity collapsed it into sticky pink strings.

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