Yesterday I wrote about clambakes in Miami, Palm Beach and Rhode Island; where to find them, how to make them and keeping them authentic. Last night I went to The Federal Food, Drink & Provisions in Miami (The Federal) with some friends for their Summer Clambake special; yes, it’s a find, yes, they know how to make ‘em, and yes, it was pretty damn near Rhode Island authentic. Being vulnerable to nostalgia is when one can be most critical. I’ve been jonesing for a good clambake for a while now and quite frankly they are hard to come by in South Florida. As of right now, there are only three restaurants that I can find serving Summer Clambakes, Atlantic Bar & Grill, at the Palm Beach Four Seasons, The Federal Food, Drink & Provisions Miami and The Forge Miami Beach.
The Federal’s Summer Clambake is served only on Tuesdays and it’s ample enough for two to share. The Clambake includes a whole Maine lobster, clams, head on shrimp, kielbasa sausage, corn and taters served with drawn spiced butter for $45.
We shared a few starter dishes as well; Crawfish Fritters, Glazed Pork Belly Bites and Crispy Fried Brussels Sprouts.
I enjoyed all of the starter dishes; fried vegetables and fried fritters, what’s not to like? unless you’re not a fried-lovin’ kind of person; but the Pork Belly Bites, GOOD GOD! that dish is completely off the chain; giving a whole new meaning to the term “pig candy”. I can honestly see how Federal-Fans stop by for a plate of these sweet and sticky bbq-glazed bites, a beer or two and then move on and go about their business.
At year and a half old, The Federal has won the hearts, palates and bellies of many in South Florida. Last night was my first food dalliance at The Federal along with two others, and it won’t be my last. The Federal describes its food as Classic Americana done 21st century style. Gastropub; Modern American Food Tavern; Comfort food classics with a timely twist. There’s a lot of talent and food ingenuity going on at The Federal and shame on me for taking so long to get there. It’s a friendly, pretty little place that welcomes you with open arms. There are many regulars, and familiar faces who frequent The Federal; I would venture to say we were the only first time table there last night.
In baking, it is safe to say that chocolate hides a multitude of sins; likewise in cooking, cheese and sauces hide equally as many sins. It has always been my belief that if you know how to do the basics right, i.e., if you can make a solid chocolate chip cookie with out all the hoopla of nuts, and candy pieces then you know what you’re doing; same train of thought for cooking; just grill me a steak, saute me up some vegetables. If you can do this seamlessly, without covering them in cheese or sauce then you know what you’re doing. The Federal can do basics. The Federal can do WOW! The Federal simply, can do.
We celebrated a birthday last night, so dessert was in order. I very rarely pass up the opportunity to try Key Lime Pie, and given the home run dinner we just had I was sure the desserts would bring the night into grand slam status. Look at the pictures. You be the judge.
Yeah, that would be flambé Key Lime Pie. No joke. All we asked for was a candle. Talk about why do when you can overdo! Oh and the picture below, is a glass of Sauternes. At a Clambake. Sauternes. I am completely smitten with The Federal. If they made Kool-Aid, I’d probably drink it, but in this case, I’ll stick with the Sauternes.
Click here to view more photos of our dinner