May 5, 2014

Makan Pop-Up and Ration & Dram Again

I stopped by for the Makan pop-up at Parker's on Ponce this past Friday. Makan will be opening around July 4th in the Marriot on Clairmont Road right off the square. Makan's menu will feature what they are calling "Asian comfort food," a mix of Korean, Taiwanese, and Chinese soups, barbecue and bites with a commitment to local, quality ingredients. There were limited offerings at the pop-up but what I tried was solid and very promising including a pork belly bun accented with candied pecan crumbs, which was a interesting touch. The oxtail soup picture above with mustard greens and tea eggs featured a deep, rich broth that had that perfect amount of salt that hit that sport just a notch below too much. The tea eggs were tasty, too. Look for another lunch-pop up May 15-16 and dinner pop-ups in June. I look forward to trying more from Makan.
I made a return visit to Ration & Dram last week. Last time I visited they were still waiting on a liquor license. This time, thankfully, the alcohol was flowing as the cocktails were the highlight. A standout was Troy's Bucket picture above. A bright and spicy mix of Ypioca Cachaca gin, Gallinao, orange, pineapple, and jalapeno that is perfect for the season. The Shallow Grave was also quite good.
I'm not really sure what's up with the food at Ration & Dram. On both visits, I've had some very mediocre food. Some of the dishes just aren't well-thought out, and there seems to be a lack of execution. But what the hell do I know? I've never run a restaurant. The calamari above was chewy, with too much cornmeal coating that leaves an appetizing taste/texture in the mouth. A redeeming factor was the tasty charred rep pepper gravy.
This carbonara with kale and sausage just didn't work. And the kitchen forgot about us and efter waiting about 30 minutes for this course, the nice manager didn't make us pay for it. Did you ever cook pasta, drain it, and then forget about it, leaving it to congeal into a limp and tasteless mass of gluten?  No? Me neither, but I think that's what happened here. Not to mention the ground sausage overcooked to the point of being little balls of indiscriminate crunch. It was not a pleasing plate of food. So far I'm batting zero on food at R&D. Ha! R&D, exactly what their kitchen needs. Arf. I'm here all week, folks. Be sure to try the veal.

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