Feb. 3—José Mendín under no circumstances could let go of Pubbelly.
Not the area, anyway. Even immediately after the fall of 2019 when he closed the “Asian gastropub” that sparked new lifetime in Sunset Harbour, he kept the lease and hinted a new idea could take its location. And now it has.
Mendín, nominated for five-straight James Beard awards for his operate at the first Miami Beach front cafe, will open up a new Italian restaurant, Casa Isola, at the locale of his initially culinary playground. He joins forces with his Sunset Harbour neighbor, chef Santo Agnello, the Brooklyn-born pizzaiolo at the rear of just one of Miami’s greatest pizza spots, Lucali, an offshoot by itself of the Brooklyn unique. The new restaurant is set to open up Feb. 10.
“I’m the initially to say, ‘Not a different Italian cafe,’ but this is our model of it and it will not be froufrou Italian,” Mendín joked. “When you cook a person else’s cuisine, you want to be very watchful that you’re spending regard to that society.”
The original Pubbelly was a cafe that defied classification. The Puerto Rican-born Mendín typically mixed Asian, Latin and Italian flavors. 1 of his most well known dishes at Pubbelly, which remained on the menu for decades, was a duck and pumpkin ravioli that hinted at Mendín’s means with pasta. Mendín was also a founding spouse at the great South Seaside Italian location Macchialina which siblings Michael and Jacqueline Pirolo now possess and run.
But Mendín admits he is no specialist in Italian delicacies, which is why teamed with a tested specialist for Casa Isola.
At Lucali, Agnello replicated the Brooklyn location by Mark Iacono, which balanced a correctly crisp crust and chewy interior with leading, imported ingredients (albeit at a eyebrow-boosting cost).
The two island-born cooks — Mendín from Puerto Rico, Agnello from Sicily — crew with each other at Isola (Italian for island) to provide a entire menu of Italian and Italian-American flavors. The two begun functioning collectively in late 2019, when Agnello ran Mendín’s food stuff truck, Pie Father, at The Wharf in Fort Lauderdale and later on grew to become his head chef at his cafe there, Rivertail.
“I’ve been understanding a good deal from Santo and he learns from me,” Mendín said.
The two expended the pandemic collaborating on the menu. Here Mendín juxtaposes flavors, as he did at Pubbelly, from a Milanesa carpaccio with wagyu beef, aged balsamic and black truffle to a rabbit Bolognese pappardelle. Agnello promised hearty dishes like a veal parmigiana. The menu progresses from antipasti to macaroni, secondi and finishes with desserts these types of as tiramisu or a rotating daily cannoli.
Mendín, a founding companion of Pubbelly Sushi and La Placita Puerto Rican cafe in Miami’s MiMo District, reported he originally experimented with to sub-lease the former Pubbelly space. But interests flooding Miami from New York in the past year, all through the pandemic, required to pay back minimize-level lease. A person needed Mendín to select up fifty percent of the hire and that was “the closing straw,” he reported.
So he partnered with Agnello for the chef’s first foray into a restaurant wherever he is a husband or wife.
Together they redecorated the place into a vivid, white-tile eating room, preserving the first restaurant’s open up kitchen.
“The position has a good deal of sentimental worth for me. It truly is like your initially automobile or your initial girlfriend,” Mendín reported. “I failed to just want to permit it go.”
Opening Feb. 10 at 1418 20th St., Miami Beach. Casaisolamiami.com