By Mitchell Nover
After a couple of very successful years in Coral Gables, it’s no surprise that Bulla Gastrobar decided to expand their refined take on Spanish tapas and open an additional location. The surprise comes in the fact that they chose Doral, of all Miami neighborhoods, for their second spot. That’s right, not Midtown, not South Beach, but Doral. Although maybe it shouldn’t come as such of a shock as Doral is currently undergoing a major boom and the new Downtown Doral is set to be a Mecca for foodies in the area with Bulla leading the charge alongside Dragonfly and the soon-to-open Pisco y Nazca. It’s an age old “if you build it, they will come” story, and, as evidenced by my recent trip to Bulla Doral, they’re coming in droves.
Like Bulla Coral Gables, at its core, Bulla Doral is a traditional Spanish restaurant, featuring traditional Spanish tapas like Patatas Bravas, Gambas al Ajillo, Tabla Mixta, and Pan con Tomate. As a self-proclaimed tapas tyrant, these dishes provide a direct hit to my nostalgic heart and are everything I could ever ask for in Spanish food. Pan con Tomate is a personal favorite of mine because…bread…olive oil…crushed tomato and garlic… Sorry, I got distracted for a second, but you get my drift.
Bulla Doral’s menu also includes all of the classic dishes from Bulla’s Coral Gables location. Think Huevos ‘Bulla,’ Croquetas de Jamón with fig jelly, and their signature red, white, and beer sangrias.
While the above combination of traditional tapas and Coral Gables classics is a great one-two punch, Bulla Doral’s knockout comes from Executive Chef Miguel Rebolledo, an alum of the famed El Bulli, and his added touches to the menu. Chef Rebolledo has taken his experience and talents and incorporated that into some new dishes, exclusive to the Doral location.
The Arroz Caldoso is a beautiful combination of seafood (clams and shrimp) and chicken that swims in a delightful sauce of sofrito and saffron. Add to that the crunch of the bomba rice, a perfectly al dente bite, and you’ve got an absolute winner of a dish.
Another addition to the menu is the Cubano Ibérico. This fun, new take on the Cuban Sandwich trades boiled ham for jamón iberico de bellota ham, pickles for piparra peppers, lechón for presa bellota pork loin, and Swiss cheese for tetilla cheese. All of that comes pressed between two pieces of toasted pan de cristal bread with a creamy mustard aioli.
Finally, on the sweet side, Bulla Doral actually has a wide variety of interesting desserts. I’m actually not a huge fan of Spanish desserts (my sweet tooth is much more American than the rest of me), but the Flan de Coco with Passion Fruit Sorbet and Cremoso de Chocolate (aka three layer chocolate genoise, vanilla ice cream, olive oil, and maldon salt) are not to be missed.
Mitch’s take: They say that sequels are never as good as the original, but in the case of Bulla Doral I would have to say that’s not quite the case. Chef Rebollado’s experience and creativity shines in perfectly complements everything we’ve come to know and love from the original Bulla. More importantly, however, it allows Bulla Doral to be more than a simple copy of Bulla Coral Gables and helps it to create it’s own identity.
Standout dish: I’ve already told you how much I love traditional tapas, and the Bulla Coral Gables classics are already classics for a reason. It’s only fair to applaud one of the new dishes here, and the Arroz Caldoso is a more than worthy dish.