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Chef Ryan Martin 180 Degrees

Chef Ryan Martin

You may remember the DRB as the Democratic Republic of Beer, which opened in Downtown Miami in late November 2012. But in September 2014, the adventurous Chef Ryan Martin took over the space, which was reinvented, revamped, and re-seasoned into the inimitable gastropub: 180° at the DRB {501 Northeast First Avenue, Downtown; 305.809.7564}. The new concept not only had a focus on craft beers but on an array of delightfully delicious—albeit unexpected—menu items.

The cool, laid-back atmosphere of 180° welcomes an unfussy yet sophisticated crowd, and its beer list is second to none (there are over 150 on offer!); but the standout here is most definitely the food, which is a labor of love for Chef Martin. The Massachusetts native was classically trained in French cuisine in New York City and has worked under acclaimed chefs such as Todd Erikson of Haven Lounge and Chef Sonny Oh of Nobu and Juvia. He also spent some time as executive chef at the Clevelander in Miami Beach before heading downtown to open 180°.

180 Degrees 1

“Global ingredients done my way is the basis of my cuisine,” says Chef Martin. “The idea behind 180° is that customers will be presented dishes with ingredients from different cultures and regions of the world that use different cooking methods. The goal is to have customers leave with a 180-degree (different) understanding of food, and hopefully learn something new along the way.”

Chef Martin isn’t afraid to experiment with ingredients, flavors, and techniques, using tools such as blow torches, dehydrators, and liquid nitrogen, the result of which is an intriguing cornucopia of dishes—what he calls, “gastronomy redefined.”

The menu is seemingly pub food at its core, yet it combines Chef Martin’s culinary background with a dash of Latin inspiration (after all, we are in Miami), and some Asian influence sprinkled in for good measure (which can be enjoyed with or without chopsticks).

50:50 burger 180 degrees

50/50 Sliders

The burgers are especially popular, specifically the 50/50, a blend of chorizo and prime beef topped with queso frito, maduro, fried egg, and spicy citrus aïoli.

Maduro y Queso Frito 180 degrees

Maduro y Queso Frito

Other standout dishes include: the Snow Crab Egg Rolls, which are sliced into quarters to expose the creamy mixture of crab, cream cheese, green onion, and yuzu ponzu; the Tomato Mozzarella Salad, a mixture of heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, and avocado with a sesame balsamic vinaigrette; the Salmon Gyration, a sushi-like presentation (with potato bread instead of seaweed), swirled with smoked salmon, Swiss cheese, cream cheese, frizzled onion, green onion, poppy and sesame seeds, ikura (salmon caviar), and spicy lime aïoli; and, our personal favorite of the evening, the Maduro y Queso Frito, sweet plantains served with queso frito and candied bacon—divine.

salmon gyro 180 degrees

Salmon Gyration

Dessert here is an experience in itself. Chef Martin has a thing for liquid nitrogen, and uses it to craft his own homemade ice cream on-site, changing up flavors on a regular basis. We were treated to the Deep Fried Twix, bacon-chocolate ice cream drizzled with bacon-caramel sauce and crushed frozen Twix served alongside a tempura deep-fried Twix bar, and the Fried Bread Pudding, Peach Schnapps, and vanilla-flavored nitrogen ice cream drizzled with caramel sauce.

ryan martin 180 degrees liquid nitrogen

180° recently celebrated its one-year anniversary, a feat for any restaurant in Miami, especially one located in this less-foot-trafficked area of downtown (don’t let the facade fool you). It’s especially lively during weekday happy hour and during its live music performances.

By Sherri Balefsky | Miami Editor
Food photos courtesy of Tony Espinoza