Have you ever eaten at a restaurant where every single dish that comes from the kitchen is absolutely-freakin’-awesome? Every dish tastes so fresh and everything is perfectly executed? And no, you’re not at the French Laundry in Napa (or something along those lines) where you’re paying up the wazoo for that level of food quality and it’s expected. You are in Miami’s Arts & Entertainment District pleasantly surprised at how great everything is at this new cozy, moderately priced restaurant. You are at Fooq’s.
Chef Nicole Votano has teamed up with David Foulquier (hence the restaurant name “Fooq’s” David’s nickname) to serve what they call international comfort food. The menu is pretty simple and affordable. Many of the dishes come from old family recipes. Meals they grew up eating with their respective families. Take the bucatini matriciana ($18) pancetta, onions, tomatoes, chile flakes for a spicy kick. It rivals any I’ve ever had at any Italian trattorria in Rome. Each decadent, delicious bite was worth every single carb calorie. The Votano meatballs ($15) had me saying OMG out loud when I took my first bite. Ground brisket and pork meatballs that will melt in your mouth. I haven’t had a meatball this good in yeaaaaars and apparently I’m not the only one. David tells me he hears that a lot. Both of these recipes are Chef Nicole’s Italian grandmothers. The crack head shrimp ($16) float in a saffron orange broth leaving behind a slightly sweet taste in your mouth. The Persian pomegranate chicken stew ($22) is an ode to David’s Persian background. It’s served with tadig, a crispy basmati rice from an old Foulquier family recipe. I could have just had that rice and left happy (yes, I’m carb deprived).
Chef Nicole tells me they use locally sourced produce at Fooq’s as much as possible. They work with the freshest and the best ingredients for their dishes and it shows. The motto here is “feel good food” but it doesn’t feel good. It feels great.
Belkys’ Best Bite: IT’S A TIE!!!! Bucatini Matriciana & Votano Meatballs
1035 N. Miami Ave.