THIS AIN’T SOUTH BEACH

Lou’s Beer Garden – Miami Beach FL

Just a few miles north of the overly bronzed skin of models, throngs of tourists and the historic tropical deco hotels of Ocean Drive, Lou’s Beer Garden might as well be in a different city.  Located in the pool area of  North Beach’s ten room New Hotel, you’ll find a laid-back outdoor gastropub.  Only six seats at the bar and a handful of tables but it’s here that Chef Lou Ramirez goes big with the cooking. It’s really difficult to recommend just one dish since after more than a dozen visits to Lou’s I’ve never been disappointed.

Pan Roasted Yellow Tail Snapper  Porcini Mushroom Creamy Risotto, Lemon/Butter Emulsion, Crispy Brussels Sprout  Perfectly cooked local fish with crispy skin, al dente risotto and a sauce that truly complements the ingredients without overpowering them. A real bargain at $21.00

Artisanal Classic Small Thin Crust Pizza  A wide variety of toppings with my favorites being

Napolitana – Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella, thin sliced tomato & Parsley/garlic pesto

Diavola- Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella, FANTASTIC Medley of Chorizo & Spicy Sopressata Salami

Big Angus Burger  The Real thing. Not some glorified fast food burger wanna-be that decides squashing the meat into a juiceless leather like disc is somehow appealing

While I could go on about the entrees perhaps the most fun way to experience Lou’s food is the Tapas, affectionately known here as Garden Shares. From the Tartars, crudos and ceviches to the charcuterie, braised Iberico octopus and High Cholesterol Mac & Cheese-yes, it’s worth every decadent bite- a few of these small plates can make a meal or just have one to accompany your imbibing.

Ah, as to the imbibing. To quote the great sage Homer J. Simpson, “ To alcohol, the cause of and solution to all of life’s problems….” Now as beer garden you’d expect Lou’s to have a great selection of beer. It does. With fifty plus choices it’s too easy to let enjoyment turn into regret. My last 36 hour hangover was result of far too many Greene’s gluten free Ales. Somehow I felt the need to drink for hours with an array of friendly locals which inevitably led to…well, proper decorum prevents me from elaborating. I should have heeded the advice of Mr. Simpson….but I digress. If beer isn’t your thing, there’s plenty of Bourbon, Rum, Scotch, Tequila to choose from. Not to mention a small well thought out selection of “Boutique Wines

Why do I keep coming back to Lou’s? Because of what it is and what it isn’t. It’s a place for regulars and locals that treats everyone as if they were one. There’s no pretense, no frantic pace, no inflated prices. Just a place to enjoy great fairly priced food and booze in a relaxed no BS locale. No my fellow eaters and drinkers, this ain’t South Beach and that’s a good thing…..