Miami’s Federal don’t F* it up

Miami's The Federal
The Federal delivers what they promise.

Welcome as always sunny readers, to the splurge of ramblings that is the Pot and Pan Handler’s blog. Today we are in sunny Miami, Florida on a mission to get new silicone for our pork butt, however that’s a different post. On this fateful day, we’re talking smut, biscuits, pork shank and duck in a jar. Miami’s Federal thought outside the box and became a finalist for America’s best new restaurant in 2015, we went to check it out, keep reading so you can too.

The Federal

The cab ride was fairly long and the destination surprising. We had originally heard of the Federal via Food Networks Triple D and it was soon forgotten. However before we left for Miami we saw the Federal again on Tom Colicchio’s America’s Best New Restaurant. When we saw Colicchio’s reaction to the Federal’s answer to a biscuit, we knew we’d be going. Our favorite biscuit thus far was at Paula Deen’s restaurant Lady & Sons in Savannah, Georgia, could The Federal have a better one?

Surprise, this trendy new hot spot is smack dab in the middle of a little strip mall next to a laundry and a liquor store. The vacant lot next to the mall is littered with broken glass and cigarette butts. After 6 days of total immersion in touristy sections of Miami, the Federal’s location brings a refreshing feeling of reality.

Miami's The Federal
We were surprised to find out this place was in a strip mall!

We step inside and are surprised by how small it is. Industrial chic, black metal and wood make this space feel modern and old fashioned at the same time. Our server is a lifer. Usually a good sign, when older people work in restaurants it’s either because they need the job or because they genuinely like it. You’ll rarely find this in a Denny’s.

The server’s menu and drink knowledge seems infinite. No surprise as he used to work for Mario Batali in New York. He used his share of Batali’s $5.25 million settlement for tip skimming to move to Miami, well played bro, well played.


We sip on beers and order the first course: Huitlacoche & eggs. Huitlacoche or corn smut as it’s called in the US is a fungus that infects corn. It’s mushroom like in texture, and I suppose taste too, sort of. In this case it tasted like mushrooms and corn lay down in a bed of onions and chilies and made a love baby that surprisingly enough looked like a chicken egg. Luxurious, silky, flavor was heightened by the unctuous, creamy, egg yolk when stirred into the huitlacoche into a crescendo of taste and texture.

Huitlacoche at Miami's The Federal
Huitlacoche or corn smut, I know it’s blurry, shut up.

Biscuits & Crayfish

The biscuits, we’ve heard so much about these, they grate and freeze the butter for optimal dough manipulation. These cold grated butter chunks don’t melt as much with hand contact, which allegedly results in a tender, luxurious biscuit texture. How do they rate? Pretty damn good. These biscuits are light & airy and would be #1 on our list of fave biscuits except for seven words. Lady and sons cheddar biscuits are FREE!

Although they’re bigger than Lady and Son’s biscuits the Federal’s biscuits cost $6, coming in at 100% more expensive. Furthermore at Lady and Son’s they’ve also added CHEESE, you know because, CHEESE or perhaps because CHEESE tastes fuckin’ good. So although we agree the Federal’s got great freakin’ biscuits they’re not the best in the nation. Close though. We definitely plan to go back next time we’re there.

Miami's The Federal Biscuit
Buttery biscuity deliciousness, if I had a cardiologist we would not be on speaking terms.
Lady and sons biscuit and corn cake
Our current reigning best biscuit ever. Chef Dora Charles of Lady & Sons.

The cray fish was flash fried perfection. Exemplary in its simplicity, crispy, golden, brown, exterior and proficiently, juicy, interior, these crayfish are textbook. Served with a mildly spicy remoulade, otherwise this dish takes me back to the fried seafood shacks found all over New England. Not that they serve crayfish, but I’ve never been to NOLA, don’t judge.

Crayfish at Miami's The Federal
We got cray-cray.

Duck in a jar & pork shanks

Next up was the duck in a jar. Essentially duck rillettes: chopped duck, slow cooked in its own fat until easily shredded, served in a jar. Along with the jar of duck there was sweet potatoes and SURPRISE, marshmallow fluff. Bet you didn’t see that coming, we didn’t either.

Salty, unctuous, juicy, duck, so tender, the texture is similar to a pate and pairs well with the earthy sweet potatoes. The sweetness of the marshmallow fluff helps cut through the inherent fattiness of this dish, helping it to feel lighter. This dish is a true example of a Chef created dish, that forces you to step outside your comfort zone and keep you there, comfortably. Marshmallow fluff, whodathunk?

Duck in a jar at Miami's The Federal
If we ever have duck in a jar again it can’t be soon enough.

Soon the server brought us the pork shank. Pork shanks are always an impressive foray into the primal and this one is no exception. Towering above the rest of the plates, glorious bone cloaked in pork so tender it threatens to fall away with little prompting. The pork is succulent, and served fittingly atop a bed of spicy, porklicious, collard greens and wears a crown of herbs. This dish like the ones previous is delectable; I just wish that I could eat more.

Pork Shank and Collard Greens from Miami's The Federal
Pork shank & collards about as big as my head.

Don’t F* it up

The Federal’s motto is Don’t F* it up, and if our visit is any indicator, they are true to their business model. They definitely didn’t F* it up. Their food was so good we took our leftover duck and spread it on the pork shank wrapped it in tinfoil, kept it overnight in the hotel fridge and flew home with it. You’ll be happy to know when we reheated it, we didn’t F* it up either.

Miami's The Federal Don't F* It Up.
Don’t do it.

Coming soon: we’re off to the City of Brotherly Love where we continue our cheese steak education, we’ll see ya’ where it’s always sunny. –The Pot and Pan Handler


5 Comments on “Miami’s Federal don’t F* it up

  1. So, we’ve been baking cookies that use butter, softened to mix easily with the dry cookie dough and egg. The comment on the buttery biscuits got me to wondering if I should grate the frozen butter and put it in the mix. Will it improve my cookies, oh master chef? Inquiring minds want to know… 🙂

    • Huh, actually I go the other route. Our go-to choc chip cookie recipe uses melted butter, so there is no questioning whether or not the butter is too warm/cold etc… You can look it up at the PPP under best chocolate chip cookie. Or I could message it to ya’ let me know. You know it’s legit because the ingredients are all by weight, not by volume. 😉

      • And the cookie mix recipe specifically says to use softened butter, not melted. Interesting! I may just have to violate the recipe and use melted butter one time just to see what happens. Will check out your Choco-chip recipe also!

        • It specifically says use melted butter. No muss no fuss is it soft enough? Of course because it’s melted! 😉

          • I meant for the recipe I have for Oatmeal Cookies, it says ‘softened’ not melted. 🙂 In any case, now that we are back in FargoTowne, it’s getting time to print out that recipe and get the stuff for the Chocolate Chip cookies. But first, my printer tells me I need new cartridges. 🙂

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