Nestled in an unsuspecting strip mall on Miami’s Biscayne Boulevard, The Federal Food, Drink & Provisions and it’s owners/operators Chef Cesar Zapata and Beverage Director/General Manager Aniece Meinhold are not only pioneers of the now burgeoning MiMo neighborhood, having moved in nearly three years ago before the recent revitalization of the area, but are also ahead of the curve in concept and cuisine, with an ever-exciting and always delicious melding of quirky dinners, cutting edge brunches and happy hours, seasonal menus, and innovative cocktails. Now, just in time for Miami’s warm winter season, the duo is launching new dinner and brunch menus, all starting Friday, November 7, 2014.
Pulling from his Texan roots and embracing his inner pescatarian, Zapata creates a menu that beautifully incorporates the chiles, smoke and Gulf seafood he grew to adore during his time in Galveston, along with the warm flavors one craves this time of year, and the lighter influence a Miami winter demands. The self-proclaimed pig whisperer at the restaurant, Zapata knows his way around an animal and revels in creating snout-to-tail delicacies, but when it comes to his personal preference, the young chef ironically sticks to fish and veggies and, as of late, has been experimenting heavily with the creation of mouthwatering vegan, vegetarian and pescatarian dishes ($9-$22, MP) for his diners. Those shine on this new winter menu in dishes such as Country Corn Cakes – rice and corn cakes, topped with salmon caviar, buttermilk, herb crème fraiche and lemon zest; NoLa-Style Stuffed Crabs – local blue crab stuffed with a mixture of crawfish, Federal trinity (a twist on the traditional mirepoix with celery, onion and poblano peppers instead of red bell pepper) and biscuit crumbs, served alongside a spicy remoulade; Lemon Pepper Calamari, cornmeal crusted, lightly fried and dressed with squid ink, lemon cream, Serrano chiles, pickled onion, and a zesty housemade lemon pepper mix; Char Grilled Octopus, crispy on the outside and tender inside, the tentacles are served with a smoked marble potato salad, sliced kumquat, kalamata olive and chipotle;“Kay-soh” & Chips – aged Vermont cheddar, roasted poblano, corn totopos and baby veggies; Pumpkin & Cream – local artisan stracciatella, spiced pumpkin, savory granola and huckleberry; Heirloom Tomato Salad, a celebration of Florida boasting only fresh local avocado, shallots, cotija cheese, heart of palm, puffed amaranth cereal, Harpke Family Farm pea shoots, mixed basils and garnet amaranth micro greens; and the Paradise Farms Wild Mushroom Papperdelle – exotic mushrooms, huitlacoche, corn nage, mascarpone and fresh garden herbs.
Meat lovers can sink their teeth into heartier dishes ($18-$30) including BBQ’d Hamachi Kama – barbeque bacon miso glazed Hamachi topped with chives, and pickled Serrano chile; Drunken Mussels – one pound of fresh steamed mussels in a smoked tomato broth with white wine and Andouille sausage, served with crusty, grilled bread; Foie Gras Mousse ‘n’ Apples – brûléed apples, smoked grapes, pumpkin, and spiced chocolate powder; Jambalaya, a hearty, risotto style “seafood rice,” with calamari, clams, fish, mussels, shrimp, crawfish, smoked chicken, Andouille sausage, saffron cream and roasted tomatoes; Cast Iron NY Strip – 14oz. Angus certified grass fed beef, creamed mushrooms, herbed butter, and Paradise Farms pepper watercress; Dry Aged Beef Osso Buco – braised greens, brisket ends and stout cinnamon glaze; and recently voted one of Miami’s best by Tasting Table by virtue of its smoky, spicy and sweet breading – Ceez’s Smokey Fried Chicken, served for winter with sweet potato, cranberry relish and cayenne honey.
Diehard Federal fans need not worry, Classics ($6-$12) such as the Jumbo Buttermilk Biskit, named “Best Biscuits in the US” by Food & Wine magazine; theBuffalo Style Pig Wings with creamy blue cheese and house-pickled celery and carrots, recently featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives; and everyone’s favorite, the Jar O’ Duck – marshmallow duck rillette, charred fluff, and candied sweet potato, are still on the menu.
The new family-style, a la carte boozy Saturday and Sunday brunch boasts $19 unlimited mimosas, as well as seasonal editions of Federal brunch classics:Nibbles ($3-$14) include Deviled Eggs topped with horseradish filling and housemade bacon; Caramelized Onion & Crab Dip – sweet lump crab, pickled radish and brown butter with crusty bread; and Oyster Shooters – a blue point oyster in spicy Bloody Maria sauce and tequila lemon jelly. Brunch dishes($12-$18) delight with choices such as the Breakfast Egg Sammich with housemade bacon, tomato, fried egg, and poblano hollandaise; Green Eggs ‘N’ Ham – Federal biscuits, creamed spinach, and roasted pork; Breakfast Nachos –southwest bean salad, poblano, cotija cheese, sour cream, a fried egg, jack cheese and salsa verde; Wings ‘N’ Waffle – mini pork shanks, cornmeal waffle, cranberry relish, and housemade ‘hot’ honey; Crawfish ‘N’ Grits – Anson Mills grits, Creole crawfish ragu, and a sous vide egg; BBQ’d Braised Bacon served with collard greens and pepper watercress; and Biskit ‘N’ Gravy – tri-pepper and sausage gravy, Andouille sausage, sous vide egg, and buttermilk biscuit. Sugar junkies can enjoy Sweet Stuff ($12-$15) includingWaffle & Platanos – warm waffles, sweet plantains, dulce de leche, granola, spicy vanilla whip cream and maple syrup; and Pumpkin Spiced French Toast topped with gingersnap cookies, pumpkin butter, salted caramel whip cream, and maple syrup.
Imbibers will not miss the liquor with Meinhold’s creative use of the restaurant’s wine and beer license in her brunch Libations menu ($8-$9) including a Thrillist Miami top pick – the Southwest Bloody Maria containing spicy tomato, horseradish, chipotle, Worcestershire, lime, cilantro and agave wine; Michelada Mojito with lime, muddled mint and mint syrup lager beer; Spiked Ginger Limeade featuring lime, ginger, lemongrass syrup and prosecco; a Guavarita Slushee with guava nectar, lime, triple sec and agave wine; and the Fizzy Eye-Talian with Cocchi Americano rose, grapefruit bitters and sparkling rose.
Owned and operated since January 2012 by husband and wife team Chef Cesar Zapata and Service Maven Aniece Meinhold, The Federal is a modern American tavern serving comfort food classics with an updated edge. Geared to be a neighborhood meeting point where folks congregate to enjoy great food and drink, the restaurant sources ingredients exclusively from American artisans. Describing their restaurant/concept as a celebration of American integrity, ingenuity and craftsmanship, Zapata and Meinhold make light of their demanding positions referring to themselves as “Stove Master and Pig Whisperer” (Zapata) and “Bar Wench and Pot Stirrer” (Meinhold). Born in Colombia, reared in New Jersey and taught his craft in Texas, Zapata creates good ol’ American comfort food classics, utilizing old world French techniques and infusing touches from his diverse upbringing. The restaurant offers Supper, Weekend Brunch, bottomless Happy Hour and a progressive bar program with innovative beer and wine cocktails. Since its inception in 2012, The Federal has racked-up local and national attention for their unconventional and amazingly satisfying riff on classic Americana cuisine with standout national nods such as, “Best Biscuits in the US” and “Best Gluten Free Dessert” from Food & Wine magazine; “Best Local Eats” by USA Today Travel; “Best Gastropub 2011 Finalist” by Village Voice; “10 Must Visit Gastropubs” byRelish; the Trip Advisor “2013 Certificate of Excellence,” and is competing in the US premiere of “Best New Restaurant” on Bravo, beginning January 2015. Local praise includes Zapata being lauded as one of five of “Miami’s New Culinary Guard” in Indulge magazine; “Golden Spoon Award” from Florida Trend; “Top Five Gastropubs,” “Best Restaurant Mystery, 2012,” “Best Neighborhood Restaurant, 2012,” and a beyond stellar review in the Miami New Times; allotted in a Neighborscover story for their part in reviving Miami’s Upper East Side and a earned a 2.5 StarDining Review from The Miami Herald; “Best Brunches” on Daily Candy; and “Best Neighborhood Restaurant, Miami Shores” on Thrillist, among others.
Located at 5132 Biscayne Boulevard in the MiMo district, The Federal, Food, Drink & Provisions is open for Supper Tuesday–Thursday from 6pm–10pm andFriday–Saturday from 6pm-11pm. Their $15 Bottomless Happy Hour takes placeTuesday–Friday from 5pm-7pm. The Boozy Weekend Brunch is Saturdays from11am–4pm and Sundays from 9:30am–4pm. Parking is free Tuesday–Thursday in front and rear parking lots. Telephone: 305.758.9559; www.thefederalmiami.com