When Downtown Dadeland favorite Barley closed in February due to leasing issues, we knew Chef Jorgie Ramos wouldn’t waste any time finding a new space for his classic American comfort food restaurant. The talented chef fought tooth and nail to keep the place open despite major landlord issues over the years.
Now, Barley has a new landlord and a new Downtown Dadeland location that’s set to open later this year. Until then, Chef Ramos is keeping busy with a new pizza and oyster pop-up concept: Faith and Pizza. After checking out the Italian gastropub/raw bar a few weeks back, you can consider us converted.
What’s not to love about this place? First of all, 100% of profits and rent go to charity for the first six months, thanks to a deal Chef Ramos struck with the landlord. Through October, Live Like Bella, Autism Speaks and The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis will all benefit from the generous agreement. If our meal was any indication, these charities will be getting a lot of our money.
While we were a little iffy about the whole “pizza and oyster” combo at first, our trepidation was for naught (dropping some fancy English on you right there). Aside from a wide selection of pies and oysters, there are plenty of Barley classics and new dishes to keep your stomach happy. The cauliflower, one of our faves at Barley, is back and just as smokey and delicious as we remember. The massive meatball with its mix of pork cheek, veal and beef is a winner, and the ricotta on top just sealed the deal for us; we wished we didn’t have to share. #selfish #sorryimnotsorry
Other standouts: roasted bone marrow and beef back ribs. The bone marrow, which we lovingly refer to as meat butter, tasted terrific with the accompanying toast and was the highlight of the night until the beef back ribs. Those had us like:
Yup, that’s exactly what we said after biting into these babies. Every bite was brimming with flavor; we couldn’t stop until there was nothing left on the bone. Hell, we almost ate the bone, too. If there’s one dish you need to try, this is it. They’re so meaty you could easily make a meal out of them.
Of course, you shouldn’t do that because you’d be missing out on the belle of the ball: pizza aka love.
There are seven pies to choose from on the menu, and we tried them all for research’s sake; thank us later. For us, when we eat pizza, a tomato pie is always on the table (literally and figuratively). We like to think it balances out all the other unhealthy pizza we’re going to eat. And for Faith and Pizza patrons, a tomato pie here is a great idea if you’re in the mood for something light– well, as light as pizzas go. The mix of red sauce, tomato, grated Parmesan and fried basil is so simple and so so good.
With that said, save room for one of Chef Ramos’ other pies like the Pepperoni Española, which features chorizo cantimpalo to light up your mouth with flavor fireworks. Truffle fans can get their fix with the Mushroom pizza: forest mushrooms, truffle/porcini cheese and fontina cheese. Needless to say, this pizza did not last long. FYI: We didn’t have a chance to try any raw bar items, but it just gives us another reason to come back.
As if our arteries weren’t clogged enough, we had two desserts: peach cobbler bread pudding and cannoli. Peach cobbler and bread pudding on their own are amazing, so it’s no surprise that combining the two resulted in something amazinger. Yes, we liked it so much that we’re making up words for it. One thing’s for sure: It’s decadent. Keep that in mind when ordering; if you had a heavy meal, you’re better off with the cannoli.
Back in February, we were bummed to hear of Barley’s closing, but this new pop-up has given hope about its future. There’s no need to question our faith in Chef Ramos’ ability to make incredible food. Okay, enough puns. In short, Faith and Pizza is one of the best dining options in Downtown Dadeland and you better hurry on over — it’s set to close after Barley reopens in a few months. You’ve been warned.