Happy Hour at Miami's Finka Table & Tap.
It's 91 degrees at an alarming 71% humidity and as such, the amount of activities which can be performed while the sun is still out are none. An exaggeration? Maybe. An excuse to happy hour in the air conditioning? Definitely.
We love Miami's up and coming food and cocktail scene and When we visit we take every opportunity to explore new openings, digging for snacks of the solid and liquid kind. At times we reach our destination long after its opening, but such is life.
This go 'round we made it to FINKA Table & Tap. Long awaited and smack in the middle of West Miami's suburbia, FINKA exudes old school pride in their cocktail program, while embracing the city's Cuban culture - evident in several menu items with a generous sprinkle of Korean influence. With oldies flooding the speakers, rustic light fixtures and farmhouse tables scattered across the dining room and air conditioning cool as the other side of the pillow, we couldn't wait to see what was in store for us.
Like any other successful happy hour kickoff, your bartender is everything. Their attitude, skill set and willingness to take your palate to new heights will determine the overall experience.
Enter Luis Castro, previously of the Broken Shaker, Manhattan cocktail dissector, brandy-soaked cherry representative and working on a sprained ankle, like a superstar. While the are several cocktails he knocked out of the park, we have to tell you about Dr. Zack.
Monkey Shoulder scotch, fresh lemon juice, honey & ginger syrup are stirred together and poured over ice. The kicker is the Ardberg spray at the very end - a delicate peaty gift for the nose. Amazing.
As we watched small plate after small plate come out of the kitchen, we realized we'd made a mistake- we didn't come hungry. Because of the commitment we've made to snacks we studied the menu and ordered something anyway, immediately redeeming ourselves. The Tostones at Finka are topped with perfectly cooked Vaca Frita (Literal translation: fried cow), a light Peruvian pico de gallo, a sprinkle of chicharron crumble for added crunch and salt and a healthy drizzle of creamy cilantro aioli.
While Finka may have secrets to their perfect vaca frita recipe, the classic is usually cooked by covering the beef (often flank or skirt steak) in water and adding a bay leaf and onion. After a 20-minute simmer, the delicate beef is shredded and combined with a mojo sauce and then fried in batches in a pan or on a flat top. Think shreds of crispy beef tasting of garlic, onion, lime juice and olive oil. When paired with the hot, salty tostones, fresh pico and zesty aioli, the combo of the different textures and explosion of flavor wowed us into strongly considered another round. Instead of hurting ourselves, we opted for another drink.
In conclusion, no mistakes were made in West Kendall on this summer afternoon, not in liquid or solid form. We really do live for the snacks.