By Mitchell Nover
Reason 3,582 I love Miami Spice: it’s the perfect excuse to finally check out some new restaurants around town. The guaranteed three courses at a fixed price means that, if you go with a few friends, you can basically sample the entire menu for a fraction of the cost. It’s a great way to make a first impression. Such was my experience with my recent visit to PB Station at the Langford Hotel downtown.
Despite making a couple of visits to the hotel’s rooftop bar, Pawn Broker, I, for some reason, hadn’t found the time to make it out to PB Station in its first few months of existence. Not for lack of desire (I love the Pubbelly Boys), but it’s just one of those things. In any case, with the new American craft eatery participating in Miami Spice this year, I decided to go in for a taste of chefs Jose Mendin’s and Guillermo Concha’s take on the annual foodie event.
Since I was already “saving” some money going into this thing, I decided to start off my meal with a couple of the restaurant’s craft cocktails, which provided the perfect start to my Miami Spice lunch experience.
The lunch cocktail menu is short and sweet with drinks that are on the lighter side so to allow you to work or get on with the rest of your weekend without too much trouble. While there are takes on the Old Fashioned and Martini that I would usually order, this time around I went with a couple of the brunchier drinks: The Damned & Beautiful (left) with Champagne, St. George vodka, blackberry gastric, and a pink peppercorn sugar rim, and The Honeysuckle Rose (right) with St. George chile vodka, rose, lemon juice, egg white, and honey. I’m not gonna lie, although delicious, the cocktails are little bit expensive for lunch (these two were the cheapest options at $12 each), but hey, when you’re only spending $23 on a three-course lunch…
Speaking of said lunch, the following is a brief recap of the PB Station Miami Spice lunch menu ($23 pp):
Soup of the Day – Jerk Sweet Potato
Bonus points for bonus food on Miami Spice menus! It’s not much, but this little gesture goes a long way with me. Area restaurants take note.
BBQ Dates – with bacon, mustard bbq sauce, smoked brisket, and coleslaw
The smallest appetizer of the Miami Spice options, it’s possible that this one packs the biggest punch in flavor. BBQ flavored brisket stuffed inside a sweet, chewy date wrapped in bacon with a side of cole slaw? It’s probably best that the plate only brings one because I could probably eat 100.
Local Radish Salad – with burrata, radishes, pickled strawberries, candied walnuts, and herbed vinegar
I might have to start re-thinking my “I don’t really order salads” thing. This dish is another in a recent string of stellar salads that go much further than some lettuce and tomato on a plate. The local radishes packed a tart punch and paired beautifully with the creamy burrata, sweet and sour strawberries, and candied walnuts. It’s also easily shareable, perfect for going halvsies with a friend.
Avocado & Egg Country Toast – with garden greens, chives, radish, lemon mayo, and tomato
It’s hard to go wrong with Avocado Toast – so much so that I even enjoy making it on my own at home. This version is a very good one, and the closest thing to a brunch dish that you’ll find on the Miami Spice lunch menu at PB Station (for those of you that are looking for that on your weekend visits). The avocado is decadent and creamy and the simply sliced hard boiled egg contrasts nicely with the crunch toast below. YUM!
Lunch Steak – 8oz. vacio sirloin steak, chimichurri butter, and house-cut fries
A full 8oz. steak, seared to perfection with a side of hand cut fries (or a salad, if you’re one of those people), this is a classic Executive Lunch dish. A stand-out for sure.
Roasted Salmon – with tabbouleh, horseradish, grapefruit, and hearts of palm
For all the health nuts out there, here’s a dish that won’t break your diet or disappoint on deliciousness. Another perfectly cooked protein, the salmon is definitely the star, but the accompanying tabbouleh provides a nice crispy crunchy texture that is very pleasing to the palate.
Downtown Dip – prime rib, garlic butter, caramelized onions, horseradish mustard, umami jus, and chips
Sadly, this sandwich was a little bit of a disappointment for me. Don’t get me wrong, the prime rib was fire and the horseradish mustard set my mouth on fire (in a good way). The homemade potato chips were also a very nice touch. My main issue here is the brioche bun. Normally, I’m all about the brioche, but this time I wanted a firmer bread (like a baguette) to stand up to the jus while still soaking up the umami flavor in the dip.
Gruyere Burger – bacon confit, gruyere cheese, smoked bordelaise, brioche bun, fries
The Gruyere Burger is nearly impossible to order when you see it on the menu. It’s one of those place and time things with the mock train station decor almost begging for a meaty, cheesy sandwich like this. A a bistro take on a classic burger, the combination of the sweet bacon confit, earthy Gruyere cheese, and smoky sauce is a force to be reckoned with. Oh, and the brioche bun? In this case it works extremely well, soaking up all of the complex juices and flavors in every single bite.
Flan Arroz con Leche
Fudge My Life
Mango & Pistachio Kulfi
All three desserts on the PB Station lunch menu are good. The sizes are big enough to fully satisfy your last bits of hunger, but small enough to not push you over the edge. The right selection for you just comes down to personal preference. If you’re into fruity sweets, the Mango & Pistachio Kulfi is for you. If you’re a chocolate lover, it’s all about the Fudge My Life. And, if you miss your abuela, like a true Miamian, go with the flan/arroz con leche combo. Either way, you can’t go wrong.
Mitch’s take: While we all know how great the Miami Spice dinner deal is (3 courses for $39), it’s quite possible that the lunch deal is even better if and when you find the right menu. At $23 for the same three courses, the lunch menu at PB Station is an amazing steal, with options including a variety of PB Station as described above.
Standout dishes: By course, I would go with the Avocado & Egg Country Toast, Gruyere Burger, and Fudge My Life. The combo is a carb heavy meal for sure, but hey… #YOLO.