Food & Drink

Why Pubbelly made its favorite dishes available online

These duck and pumpkin ravioli are a signature dish at Pubbelly, and the recipe is now available in the Food Republic digital cookbook.
These duck and pumpkin ravioli are a signature dish at Pubbelly, and the recipe is now available in the Food Republic digital cookbook.

The “boys” behind the Pubbelly restaurants continue to surprise fans and connoisseurs of their gastropub — and not just at their restaurants, anymore.

The ever-expanding Miami-born brand (the three cofounders known simply as the Pubbelly Boys) are bringing the Asian-fusion dishes that define them — juicy hamachi taquitos, flavorful bacon-covered chorizo dates, signature duck and pumpkin dumplings — right to their diners. Their newest venture is a downloadable digital cookbook, Food Republic, inspired by the 2015 restaurant of the same name aboard the Norwegian Escape.

In fall 2015, Norwegian presented the Escape, its largest ship, which has a capacity of 4,000 passengers. Outside, the ship is decorated with floral and tropical designs and has Pitbull as its godfather. Inside, it is lit up in a Miami theme with lively music and familiar city touchstones, such as cafés and bars named for Sugarcane and Tobacco Road.

Food Republic is the latest reference to Miami, where chef and co-owner Jose Mendin recently showed off some of the popular recipes to spring from the restaurants into their eponymous cookbook.

The ship restaurant itself is a contrast to their neighborhood nook, Pubbelly in Sunset Harbour, which started it all. Food Republic is minimalistic, modern looking with light wood decor and plenty of white and navy blue. The restaurant incorporates three kitchens: a sushi bar, a grill and noodles station and a pantry for cold cuts and dumplings. Outside, a stunning view of the ocean.

“The purpose is to have a place on the ship where you can go in and out; you don’t have to sit there for a whole hour to have dinner or lunch. You go in, you want some skewers, some sushi, but in the process you’re going to get all this flavorful food that is going to keep you coming for more,” Mendin said.

The signature food style for Pubbelly restaurants is a mix of Asian, European and Puerto Rican cuisine and zests. At Food Republic, this is no different except for the menu: an iPad filled with more than 50 dishes.

“I trained in Europe, so I worked in London and all over Spain, and I’m Puerto Rican. That’s where [I get the feeling that] every single piece or recipe that you create, has to be very flavorful,” said Mendin, who created the menu after working at Asian restaurants such as Nobu and Sushi Samba.”

The cookbook puts that iPad menu in your hands. Mendin chose 30 of his favorite plates and the most popular choices at the restaurants for the cookbook, which is available on iTunes for $1.99.

“We want to share the recipes with everybody. Even though we couldn’t fit all of them into the book, we just picked an assortment of different ingredients that people could have fun with at home,” Mendin said.

It was always about having fun and enjoying work for Mendin and his partners, Andreas Schreiner and Sergio Navarro.

“We wanted to build the first gastropub in Miami as a place where chefs want to go eat and hang out and we got really inspired by working in Chicago,” said Schreiner, 36. “The whole concept of dining at Pubbelly [is], food in the middle, sharing everything and really getting to try many dishes, versus a traditional dining experience, where you would have appetizers and main course type of deal.”

The Pubbelly Restaurant Group now plans to expand to Mexico and other cruise ships. They currently own seven locations, including PB Station inside the Langford Hotel in downtown Miami and its rooftop bar, Pawn Broker, and three Pubbelly Sushi locations (Sunset Harbour, the Dominican Republic and another opening this fall in Brickell City Centre).

“When we set out to develop the restaurant, the three of us really wanted to build a place that centered around amazing food,” Schreiner said.

And now diners can attempt to recreate their vision at home.

Pubbelly Dates with Chorizo

8 large medjool dates

8 tablespoons chorizo mix (see recipe below)

8 bacon strips

3 cups tomato sauce (see recipe below)

2½ tablespoons goat cheese cream (see recipe below)

1 ounce fresh chives, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Take the medjool dates, make a slice on one side of each date, split open and remove the pits. Spoon a heaping spoonful of chorizo mix and stuff the date. Take a bacon strip, wrap it tightly around the date and seal well.

Arrange the dates on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake on the middle rack for 35-40 minutes. The bacon should be brown and crispy and the chorizo fully cooked.

In a small pot, bring the tomato sauce to a simmer, pour the sauce onto a large serving dish and place the dates on top of the sauce. Spoon a teaspoon of goat cheese cream on each date. Garnish with fresh chives.

Yield: 4 portions

Chorizo Mix

1 cup Argentinian chorizo

1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika

1/2 tablespoon granulated garlic

Remove the Argentinian chorizo from its casing and place in a bowl. Add the smoked paprika and granulated garlic and mix well.

Yield: 4 portions

Tomato Sauce

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 onion, peeled, diced

1 tablespoon garlic, peeled, chopped

2 cups canned red peppers, do not strain

2 cups canned tomatoes, do not strain

1/2 tablespoon kosher salt

In a large pot add the vegetable oil and bring to a medium/high heat. Sauté the onion and garlic until caramelized. Once golden, add the canned tomatoes and the canned peppers. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook on a low heat for 1 hour and stir every so often. Remove from the heat, add to a blender and puree until smooth. Season with kosher salt.

Yield: 4 portions

Goat Cheese Cream

1/4 cup goat cheese

2 tablespoons sour cream

Place the goat cheese and sour cream in a food processor and pulse until smooth.

Yield: 4 portions

Hamachi Taquitos

1/4 cup avocado mousse (see recipe below)

1 cup hamachi ceviche mix (see recipe below)

6 deep fried gyoza shell (see recipe below)

6 teaspoons miso sauce (see recipe below)

1/4 cup hydroponic bibb lettuce, chiffonade (see recipe below)

1/8 cup radish, julienned

6 key limes, halved

Using a teaspoon place a line of avocado mousse inside each deep fried gyoza shell. Fill the shells with the hamachi ceviche mix and top with the miso sauce, bibb lettuce and radish. Serve with the halved key limes on the side.

Yield: 1 portion

Deep Fried Gyoza Shells

6 gyoza skins

1 bottle canola oil (quantity will depend on fryer used)

Fill a deep fryer three quarters of the way full of canola oil and heat to 350 degrees.

Place the skins on a crispy taco fryer basket and fry for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Using the frying basket, remove the gyoza skins and let the excess oil drip off. Then take the fried gyoza out of the basket and place on paper towels to cool. Once cooled they are ready for serving.

Yield: 6 each

Avocado Mousse

1 Hass avocado, peeled and seeded

1/2 lemon, juiced

1 tablespoon kosher salt

Place the avocado inside a food processor, add the lemon juice and salt and puree until smooth.

Yield: 1 portion

Hamachi Ceviche

1/2 cup red onion, peeled, diced

1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped

1/2 cup hamachi, diced

1/2 teaspoon shichimi

2 tablespoons ginger garlic ponzu, (see recipe below)

Place all of the ingredients in a small bowl and toss until well combined.

Yield: 1 portion

Ginger Garlic Ponzu

3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

5 tablespoons rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon minced ginger

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Place all of the ingredients in a small bowl and mix together until well combined.

Yield: 1 portion

Miso Sauce

1/2 cup sake

1/2 cup mirin rice wine

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 cup white miso paste

Mix the sake, mirin and sugar in a bowl. Add the white miso paste in small amounts and mix to create a smooth paste. Remove from the bowl and place the sauce in a bain marie and cook for 3 hours on a medium heat.

Yield: Sauce for 12 tacos

Duck & Pumpkin Dumplings

3 tablespoons kabocha puree (see recipe below)

4 each duck dumplings (see recipe below)

2 tablespoons almond brown butter (see recipe below)

1 tablespoon orange segments

In a small sauté pan, heat the kabocha puree until warm. Fill a pot with water, add a pasta strainer and bring to the boil. Drop the dumplings in; when ready they will float to the top. Remove using a pasta strainer. In the warm almond butter, place the cooked dumplings and gently shake. Spread the puree onto a serving plate and then spoon on the dumplings. Garnish with the orange segments.

Yield: 1 serving

Duck Dumpling Filling

4 ounces duck legs (recipe below)

1 tablespoon chives

1 1/2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice

4 gyoza skins

Remove the skin and bones from the duck legs and then shred. Place into a food processor and pulse until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients, apart from the gyoza skin, to the food processor and pulse until well combined.

Place the gyoza skin on a clean work surface and with your fingertips wet the edges. In the center of each gyoza add one tablespoon of the duck mix. Fold the gyoza in half, fold the edges in and press to seal. Store on a floured surface to prevent from sticking.

Yield: 1 portion

Kabocha Puree

1/4 cup kabocha, peeled, seeded, cubed

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Place the kabocha in a pot of boiling water and boil until tender. Once cooked, place in a blender and mix, adding the cream little by little. Season with cinnamon and salt.

Yield: 1 portion

Almond Brown Butter

1/4 cup unsalted butter

2 tablespoons almonds, sliced

2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

In a heated sauce pot, place in the butter and add almonds, gently shaking every so often. Once the almonds and butter begin to brown, turn off the heat and slowly mix in the soy sauce.

Yield: 2 portions

Duck Leg

8 ounces of duck leg

1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped

1 shallot, peeled and chopped

1 bottle canola oil (quantity will depend on fryer)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees

In a deep third pan, place the duck leg in the center, around the duck leg place the garlic, shallot and enough canola oil to cover the meat. Cover the tray tightly with aluminum foil, very carefully place in the oven and bake for 3 hours or until the duck leg is tender.

Remove from the oven, being careful not to splash the oil. Remove the aluminum foil and using a spatula take out the duck leg, placing on a baking sheet to cool. Once cooled, put in the fridge for 1 hour, then take out and cut into 1 inch pieces.

Yield: 2 portions

Crispy Rice

3/4 cup sticky rice (see recipe below)

1 bottle canola oil (quantity will depend on the fryer used)

3 tablespoons corn starch

Line a rice press with plastic wrap. Add the cooled sticky rice and press down on the rice using your body weight. Refrigerate overnight. Remove the plastic wrap, then cut into 6 pieces. Add the canola oil to a deep fryer and fill three quarters of the way full, add a frying basket and heat to 350 degrees. Cut the rice block into 6 pieces and coat the rice lightly with the corn starch. Add to the fryer, cook until golden, then remove using the frying basket. Place on paper towels to drain off any excess oil.

Yield: 6 pieces

Sticky Rice

3 cups koshihikari rice

2 3/4 cups water, room temperature

4 cups Mizkan rice vinegar

2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup kosher salt

Pour the vinegar in a small pot and bring to a simmer. Be sure to not let it boil. Add the sugar and salt and stir in until well combined. Set aside to cool. Wash the rice with cold water and rinse four times. Be sure to not rinse until it runs clear as you need some of the starch to make the rise stick. Let the rice stand in water for 30 minutes, then place in a strainer and leave to strain for 5 minutes. Add the room temperature water and koshihikari rice to a rice cooker. Leave to cook for 1 hour. Put the warm rice in a bowl and then add the previously made cooled rice vinegar. Mix with a spatula so the vinegar is even distributed.

Yield: 4-5 rolls