With overpriced and underwhelming steak restaurants opening up in South Florida on what seems like a monthly basis, it’s nice to see a new restaurant keep beef uncomplicated and affordable — and most importantly, tasting good.
8 oz. Burger Bar in Miami Beach does just that. Executive Chef Govind Armstrong (best known in SoBe as the Executive Chef and Owner of Table 8 on Ocean Drive), has a simple concept for his new eatery — burgers, beer and shakes — rounded out with upscale versions of side dishes and a long list of toppings.
The decor is simple as well. Wooden tables and metal chairs look straight out of an IKEA catalogue. Walls are bare except for a few flat screen TVs. The menu looks like it was printed from a home computer and photocopied a few times. In comparison, the restaurant’s white cloth napkins seem oddly out of place.
The no frills appearance puts the focus on the dining experience and the food. After some early growing pains, the service at 8 oz. Burger Bar has improved. Our server was friendly and attentive, and our food came out promptly.
Roll up your sleeves before taking your first bite. The grilled bun and juice from the meat will make your hands greasy — just the way eating a burger should be.
8 oz.’s house blend burger is a mix of sirloin, tri-tip, short rib and chuck, cured in a Himalayan salt-tiled locker. The signature burger comes with shredded iceberg lettuce, tomato, white onion and pickles. Want to add more? You can pick from more than half a dozen cheeses, a long list of sauces and dressings, and non-traditional toppings like fried green tomatoes or charred escarole.
My personal favorite is the lamb burger. It’s ground up lamb that’s so flavorful you may not want any additional toppings. The burger was cooked exactly as I had ordered it (medium rare), and tasted delicious with Bel Paese cheese, a great recommendation by our server. My one complaint is the small servings of ketchup and mustard. They’re served in small cups rather than in a bottle. If you like a lot of ketchup and mustard on your burger like I do, be sure to ask for extra.
If you don’t eat red meat you can try the turkey burger, veggie burger, or fish sandwich which can be either grilled or fried. If you want a little bit of everything order the sliders: smaller portions of the beef, lamb and turkey burgers.
Forget your diet for a meal and try one of the mouthwatering snacks and sides. Mini Kobe corndogs, fried olives stuffed with chorizo, and stout battered onion rings are worth a few extra minutes on the treadmill. The truffled potato skins were a little disappointing; they weren’t crispy enough and had a weak truffle flavor.
I like beer with my burgers and 8 oz. has a pretty good list to choose from. I was really excited to see Brooklyn Lager on the menu. It’s one of my favorite beers and is hard to find in South Florida restaurants. Though 8 oz.’s draught selection is much smaller than its selection by the bottle, it does offer some good deals. On the night I was there a 22 oz. glass of a Hefeweizen cost $6. And all this month 8 oz. is celebrating March Madness by offering a free 12 oz. draught beer with each burger.
If you like ice cream you’ll want to save room for dessert. 8 oz.’s thick and creamy milkshakes are not to miss. For a grownup treat, try one of the “adult shakes” made with alcohol — I recommend the Kahlua shake. Just do yourself a favor and don’t try to add up the calories from the burger and shake.
Other desserts include cupcakes and bread pudding (which I was looking forward to trying but they were all out). I’ll definitely be back for another lamb burger and Brooklyn Lager so hopefully I’ll get to taste the bread pudding then.
Despite the low-key atmosphere the burgers still come with a Miami Beach price tag. Burgers range between $8 and $10 and it’s an extra $1 – $2 for each additional topping. So if you want to order a burger with cave-aged Gruyere cheese, spicy mayo, house cured bacon, roasted mushrooms and garlic roasted tomatoes, you’re looking at an $18 burger. Classic condiments including ketchup and mustard are free.
8 oz. Burger Bar is located at 1080 Alton Road in Miami Beach. For more information visit www.8ozburgerbar.com.