The adventures with Chef Joshua Marcus of Josh’s Deli, Chef Daniel Serfer of Blue Collar and ERGagit throughout the classic restaurants of Miami and beyond continued this week with a double date trip up North.
Tarks of Dania Beach – 47 years old - 1317 South Federal Hwy 954-925-TARK - Flickr Set
Le Tub - 39 years old - 1100 N Ocean Dr - 954-921-9425 – Flickr Set
Our “classics” adventure began almost six months ago with a candid meal amongst friends at a local 80 year old steakhouse. It has snowballed since and has taken us to Ft lauderdale for what is probably the best italian in the State, to the mother of all Miami classics for crab claws and more and to the ultimate spanish experience. Well OK , it probably hasn’t snowballed yet but what I meant was that it was purely unintentional, and has turned into the most fun of initiatives.
Of the team, I’m probably the one who benefits the most, since I get to experience Miami’s food heritage hands on, and share it with you readers. The gang we have assembled also makes for some memorable meals, with depth of experience and hands on exposure to the food industry, making for even better conversation and memories.
Despite the colorfulness and diversity of our classics reviewed to date, nothing had prepared me for what was the uniqueness of our “double date” from this week: Tarks of Dania Beach and Le Tub in Hollywood.
I was really looking forward to these classics. On every single previous classics night when the topic “where next” came up, these two names clamored excitement and unanimity within the gang, particularly Le Tub.
The double date happened by accident, it was never the intention of the night’s adventure. Fortunately, the members of the gang are hardcore eaters, and, like me, are passionate about extreme eating challenges such as ordering entire menus or having dinner twice, as was the case this evening.
Tarks of Dania Beach has been in business since 1966. It’s located on the US1, just north of Sheridan Street on the right hand side. It specializes, as the logo invites you, in clams, but the menu also includes other seafood items such as buffalo shrimp, oysters, homemade chowders, various fish sandwiches and much more. Chicken also graces the menu in a variety of versions for wings plus there’s the odd steak for you surf n turf lovers. Quiet an extensive menu, considering there are only 2, maybe 3 staff manning the entire joint which includes a bar that seats 10-12 people and 6 outdoor tables where you can squeeze 4 in.
A word of warning: Tarks is the least fancy place I have been to recently, so do not choose it to impress your boss if you want to ask for a raise or don’t pick it for a first date. The place could seriously use an extreme makeover, but at the same time such action would void part of its magic so it should probably never happen. But if you’re not fussy about ambiance and love seafood, this classic is worth the brief drive north from Aventura. The clams, which we tried in three different presentations tasted fresh and the added heat from the steamed ones created a warm welcome sensation. Buffalo shrimp were juicy and hot, as were the chicken wings. Maybe it was the Rye Whisky a member of the gang brought along to wash down the goods that helped everything taste better, but when it comes to the food, one can’t complain. Again, it’s not the best setting ever for a meal, but for a good old alcohol and clam bash amongst friends it’s just about perfect.
When the fattest member of the gang suggested we move along to Le Tub, no one hesitated; probably since what some members lack in belly fat they make up with brain fat , i.e. deep inside we are all fat, hardcore eaters.
Le Tub is out East, on 1A or N Ocean Drive, just north of Oceanwalk shops. Let me tell you, few places are as picturesque as this. It’s an old gas station that was turned in 1974 into this crazy wooden maze and decorated with Flotsam & Jetsam that has showed up on the adjacent beach, including license plates, signs, boat parts, toilet seats and more. Sounds hideous? It’s not; it’s actually extremely cozy and welcoming and despite the night being a quiet one, I can only imagine how festive the place can get on a busy Saturday night. It reminded me of a small Andres Carne de Res (Bogota), probably the best themed restaurant on the planet and a place that every one needs to go before they die.
The accolades wall stretches wide. It seems GQ, Oprah and every journalist in the State of Florida is A Le Tubeliever. And so am I now, after tasting the most succulent hamburger north of Blue Collar in Miami and South of Minetta Tavern in New York City. Another “no sauce required” beauty that needs to be ordered medium rare and which does not garter ordering anything else to its side. Despite this, we ended up ordering of course the chili, the hot dog, the smoked fish dip, and the fries. Good food, nothing to write home about, but that burger: wow. As with previously visited classic Cafe Martorano in Ft Lauderdale, this one merits the extra drive from Miami. You won’t regret it.
On our schedule for upcoming classics, a few Asian places, some Miami fisheries and some Latino flavor. If you have any suggestions, by all means give us a shout