L'echon Brasserie: The Pubbelly Mafia Kill With French Cuisine
The Pubbelly boys are as dangerous to the Miami food scene as the Corleone family was to the New York crime scene. It all began in 2010, with the opening of the Asian gastropub Pubbelly (heard of it?). Jose Mendin, Sergio Navarro, and Andreas Schreiner were first-time owners, dewey-eyed and confident in their high-quality yet affordable, pig-centric fare. Since then, they've gotten bolder and more powerful, opening Pubbelly Sushi, PB Steak, and Barceloneta, in which they are active partners. They've consistently served killer cuisine, and Miami has been clamoring for more.
Photos by Dana De Greff Escargots de Bourgogne
L'echon Brasserie, their newest venture, opened last Friday, and Short Order had a first bite. Let's just say they made us a bunch of food offers we couldn't refuse.
L'echon is larger than the other PB joints -- 150 seats spread throughout 2,500 square feet of indoor, outdoor, and corporate space -- and decidedly fancier, housed in the renovated Hilton Cabana Miami Beach. But never mind the overpriced valet parking and the air conditioning turned full-blast in the impersonal lobby. Instead, focus on the warm interior, the globular light fixtures, and the divine smell of burning cedar, oak, and hickory woods.
The restaurant, whose name is derived from the Spanish word for "pork" -- lechón -- and is Frenchified with an apostrophe, has a relaxed and cool vibe, but nothing particularly screams French brasserie. Why would the Pubbelly boys go after French cuisine?
"We always wanted to do a French restaurant," Schreiner says. "It's kind of every chef's dream and the cuisine where everything kind of spawned from."
Chef Jose Mendin, alongside executive chef Josh Elliott, offer a menu of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch items. And while many of the dishes are influenced by modern and traditional French cuisine, previous Pubbelly motifs crop up: hamachi crudo, pan con lechón, steak frites. There are also items that have absolutely nothing to do with France, such as jamón ibérico and key lime pie.