Jamie DeRosa on Tongue & Cheek's First Anniversary
On April 15, Tongue & Cheek, the playful South of Fifth restaurant by chef Jamie DeRosa, will celebrate its first anniversary. Truthfully, it seems like the restaurant has been around a lot longer.
Photo by billwisserphoto.com Tongue & Cheek turns one.
During its brief existence, chef/owner Jamie DeRosa has attracted a faithful clientele of locals -- along with a respectable list of celebrity chefs including Geoffrey Zakarian, Masaharu Morimoto, and Norman Van Aken. He's also run a successful dinner series, Kitchen Collab, where DeRosa partners with other chefs including Lindsay Autry, Robert Irvine, and Van Aken, and has won a host of awards, including a Best of Miami nod for Best Bar Program in 2013.
To celebrate, DeRosa is offering a host of anniversary specials from April 15 to 20 as a thank-you. Specials include $2 beef cheek sliders and $4 whiskey sours (both available during lunch and dinner). In addition, all dinner guests will receive a complimentary dessert -- a dish of salted pretzel ice cream with cashew praline, coffee cake, and blackberry.
DeRosa has also created a special five-course anniversary dinner menu ($65 per person, excluding tax and gratuity), comprising the restaurant's "biggest hits" chosen by restaurant patrons through a social media campaign. Possible items include the restaurant's cauliflower panna cotta with pickled vegetables and American caviar; crisp lamb belly with barbecued octopus, roasted eggplant, and romanesco; or fried clams with smoked aioli and pickled and raw cherry peppers.
Fans can choose the items they would like on the special menu by letting the chef know on Twitter @tandcmiami. The chef will then create the menu based on popularity.
We asked DeRosa, whose culinary career includes working with the likes of Wolfgang Puck, Heston Blumenthal, and Geoffrey Zakarian, to tell us about the challenges and high points of Tongue & Cheek's first year. Here's what he shared:
New Times: How does it feel to have your first anniversary of T&C?
Jamie DeRosa: Having [my daughter] Isabela and opening a restaurant in the same year has been both the most challenging and the most rewarding time of my life. Working with such an amazing group of people every day who strive to be the best, but yet remain humble, is a large part of our success. T&C staff's commitment to bringing the Cheek to life each and every day with each and every guest is a true testament to the growing community here in Miami, and we are honored to be part of it.
What were your expectations going into the restaurant?
All we ever wanted to do was to open a neighborhood restaurant that both Miami locals and visitors could enjoy. The outpouring of support by our customers and the press was never expected but certainly appreciated. Our expectations in year one were certainly exceeded, and we can't wait to see what's in store for year two.