On a corner in the maze of streets around Dadeland Mall and topped with a construction site is Barley, a gastropub-meets-American-brasserie with a Latin twist. (Look for the big white banner with a logo of a butcher’s cleaver.)
It opened almost two years ago as Barley and Swine, but recent problems with the exhaust system necessitated a new concept, and a trademark issue forced a name change. The craft beers and pig-based menu items remain, but Barley’s new menu includes more snacks, vegetable dishes and sharing plates as well as family-style suppers like whole suckling pig or lamb with three sides.
Jorgie Ramos Jr. is in the kitchen, and his father, Hemingway lookalike Jorge Ramos Sr., greets at the door and keeps the place humming. The family is Cuban-American and always cooked together, with Jorgie learning from his grandmother, father and the Food Network.
The father and son worked together in construction but lost everything in the real estate crash. They opened a sports bar that offered “foodie Fridays,” and the kernels for Barley popped.
The new concept debuted about three weeks ago in the brick-lined space they built with a counter facing the open kitchen.
The menu is tweaked daily, but there are some dishes that appear most nights, like baked-and-fried cauliflower florets in Alabama white BBQ sauce, and crispy chicken skin with sambal chimichurri sauce, a big mess of fried goodness.
Other snacks include Serrano ham and Manchego croquetas in béchamel with guava dipping sauce; pad Thai with pig-ear chicharrones, peanuts and a fried egg; and brussels sprouts hash with the leaves pan-fried with bacon, blue cheese crumbles and onion marmalade.
Share a big bowl of lechón hash made with roasted boniato, Niman Ranch pulled pork, bacon and a little Sriracha, good with a Kentucky bourbon ale or Funky Buddha IPA.
The blackened mahi taco board brings guacamole, corn tortillas and slaw.
Desserts also change, but there is usually bread-pudding churro bites for dipping in salted caramel.
Linda Bladholm is a Miami-based food writer.