Jamie DeRosa Gets Frisky With His Nosh at South Beach's Tongue & Cheek
Quick question. Remember that swanky spot Tudor House at the Dream South Beach hotel? If so, you'll likely remember Jamie DeRosa, the chef who led the kitchen until the restaurant closed last year.
billwisserphoto.com Roasted branzino with trumpet mushrooms, Castelvetrano olives, and garlic spinach.
DeRosa, a portly 40-year-old with spiky brown hair and a toothy grin, made a name for himself with, among other things, his pea soup, a smooth purée of fresh peas, cream, and leeks. When you ordered the dish, a bowl arrived topped with house-made lime marshmallows, peppercorns, and little pea tendrils. A waiter poured the emerald broth from a pitcher into a tiny basin. It was theatrical and amusing.
If you sampled this dish at Tudor House, you will definitely recognize it on Washington Avenue at Tongue & Cheek -- DeRosa's latest venture, which opened in April. The setting is a study in contrasts. Rather than the Dream's tourist-congested Collins Avenue location, this restaurant thrives in a narrow building in South Beach's South of Fifth neighborhood. And DeRosa isn't working for celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian as he was at Tudor House. Instead, he's joined at the laid-back location by Michael Reginbogin, who was director of food and beverage operations at the Dream.
The current dining room melds loud music with funky art. Its walls showcase funny paintings by Deep Sleep Studio that portray suited horses wearing eyeglasses and a woman who's a half-octopus holding an umbrella. The kitchen offers fanciful treats like lemonade popsicles, pig ear lettuce wraps, and beef cheek burgers with cheddar pimento cheese. On some nights, there's a fish-and-chips special of fried grouper cheeks.