Sunday, February 4, 2018

first thoughts: Shelley's - South Miami

Sorry We Missed You
I have a new crush, and her name is Shelley. Shelley's, actually.

She's kind of hard to describe. (You can see all my pictures in this Shelley's - South Miami flickr set).

Shelley's - dining room
She's pretty, in an almost old-fashioned kind of way – but she's also quirky and hip. Imagine a seafood shack crossed with a diner crossed with a tiki bar: fifties-style formica-topped, metal-edged tables, old-timey framed pictures and nautical knick-knacks on the walls, rattan-wrapped stools at the bar, lobster buoy lamps hanging from the pressed-tin ceiling. She's not all that fancy, but she's got style, like a fashionable outfit assembled out of thrift store finds. When the light from the big windows facing Sunset Drive hits her just right, she's a beaut.

fried chicken sandwich
She's relaxed and friendly, but she's serious about her cooking. Like her fried chicken sandwich, one of the best I've ever had. So crispy outside, so juicy inside, layered with pickle chips and fresh greens, on a squishy bun slathered with herb-flecked mayo. But what makes it special is a hit of Vietnamese style fish sauce caramel – a pungent, funky, salty-sweet burst of umami that you don't expect and that keeps drawing you back for more.

shrimp Scotch egg, grits, kimchi collard greens
She's kind of obsessed with seafood, which finds its way into unexpected places, like a Scotch egg made with shrimp served over grits and kimchi collard greens, or a fish "bacon"[1] egg and cheese sandwich, or a charcuterie platter that can feature tuna conserva laced with chiles, a fat sardine done escabeche style (pickled and fried), and a silky monkfish liver pâté studded with bits of octopus that will show why monkfish liver is called the "foie gras of the sea."

seafood charcuterie platter
(continued ...)