MiamiEats: Follow THE FEDERAL


Lamb Burger & Duck Egg
Well slap me silly and call me Susan. Something tells me we're not in Brooklyn anymore. But The Federal Food Drink & Provisions in Miami convinces me otherwise. It is plucked straight out of the farm-to-table, rustic-chic, upscale casual, blue-jean clad-server, sharing style small plates served as they're ready in no particular order woodwork of bourgeois-bohemian dining halls of today. My perhaps beleaguered tone shan't detract from my utter enjoyment of such establishments - when they're done correctly, as this one is.

Courtesy of The Federal
There's no denying, the place's got charm, with saloon barn wood, vintage-y country wallpaper, and brown paper table runners - even a spacious front patio with the requisite picnic table for communal dining. But more importantly, the food is spectacularly innovative yet familiar, created by skilled chef Cesar Zapata. And just when you think this Southern-slanted menu is getting all sophisticated on you with crab home fries and crispy pork belly, they throw in a cup of creamy grits or a buttery gran'ma biscuit. Just another trick of the trade to keep it "down home" and upscale. But I don't hate it, as long as my stomach is satisfied. And boy, was it.

On this particular Sunday brunch (which offers $16 bottomless mimosas) two flaky fluffy buttery biscuits segued to a Jar-O-Duck, a most delightful shredded pate, which quacked harmoniously with charred marshmallow fluff and candied sweet potato slices on crunchy chunks of bread. The best of the spread, hands down.

The Charred Octopus was cooked well but its modest slivers were easily drowned in the red salsa it swam in, though the fried dough triangle "tortilla" chips (more like crispy wontons) were ultimately satisfying with every crispy, airy crunch.

Charred Octopus & Chips

The Local Artisan Ricotta was artfully whipped  and textured in an adorable mason jar, its mellow creaminess complemented gorgeously by the citrusy zing of candied kumquats. More rustic tears of bread were in tow, of course.

Ricotta & Kumquats

And you can't feel like brunch royalty without a runny fried egg. And here, at its best in duck egg form, it caped a glorious lamb burger patty smathered with pungent goat cheese and slippery, sweet grilled onions. The lamb: a perfectly succulent medium-rare, the yolk: a yellow silk weaving together every morsel. With this I can die happy.

The jarred S'more dessert needs a ratio tweak, being too heavy on the chocoalte pudding and too light on the graham cracker crumbles and marshmallow to balance its richness. But you can certainly count on a double espresso to perk you up with a powerful, deft swig. (God, I'm a sucker for good coffee.)
How The Federal supper fares, I have yet to uncover. But if it's under Zapata's governance, I am a willing follower. (Plus, Crawdaddy Tuesdays are kind of calling my name.)
The Federal
5132 Biscayne Blvd
Miami, FL 33137

*All photos by Rebecca Kritzer unless otherwise noted