So at one point not long ago I was looking at probably at least 40 blog posts I needed to do. I had trips to Atlanta, D.C. and and Baltimore, plus a lot of Miami posts that had backed up. Then I visited St. Augustine and Chicago… I was making my way through them (starting with the most recent), so there weren’t months I wasn’t writing and not all of them had backed up, but going all the way back still seemed like quite the daunting task.
I am excited that this is my last long overdue post! I still have four posts from this last week, plus one I’ve decided to throw in from some combined experiences, but the ones that have been weighing on me and causing guilt will all be done after this one!
This particular post is about a dinner with friends in April (yes April…) at Tap 79. I had read about Tap 79 when it opened and a few things caught my attention, namely their house made jerky. Like a lot of places it took forever for me to actually visit. This place in particular though was constantly discussed with a friend, because she lives right down the street. It just never happened that we went. Another friend that lives close by in North Bay visited and recommended it. It was definitely one of those places where I thought “why haven’t I been yet?” on multiple occasions, so when some other North Bay friends suggested dinner I proposed Tap 79.
Tap 79 is on 79th Street in Miami right before the John F. Kennedy Causeway and North Bay Village. It’s in one of the small shopping plazas along the street. My friends got there a little before me and picked a table outside. Tap 79 has a nice deck area in the front. I like that it gives it a very neighborhood vibe. Next door is a pet store and across the parking lot is a German beer garden, Schnitzel Haus (which I also need to check out). The whole area feels very neighborhood-y and relaxed despite being right off busy 79th Street. I didn’t really realize till now how much I enjoyed the vibe of the place until writing this. There were a good number of other diners and everyone seemed to be having a mellow dinner of food and drinks. Just like what a neighborhood place should be.
My friends had already ordered a few things to start, including a warm figs “brule” salad and brie fundido. I of course added some of the beef jerky. I then went for their Tap 79 burger. Added bonus- they mark gluten-free items with a * on their menu. There are a few things not marked that are gluten-free after checking with the waiter (like the beef jerky) or after modifications (like a burger with no bun). Additionally some things marked with the * like the brie fundido are gluten-free when you don’t include the bread on the side. However it’s nice to have some guidance on what to order.
The warm figs brule was gluten-free and a nice combination of a light starter with some sweetness. The salad itself has greens, walnuts, blue cheese, and sangria soaked fig pieces on top. I used to be a strictly ranch/Caesar salad kind of guy, but fruit and nut salads have grown on me a lot over the years. I really enjoyed this one. Ringing the salads are figs stuffed with blue cheese. They were standard stuffed figs, but a treat.
I was very excited to try the jerky. The flavoring was good and you could tell it was good quality. At first I was a little disappointed at how tough it was, but reflecting back I kind of like that it was almost extremely “overdone” (for lack of a better word for jerky). It almost was like a cracker. It was very crunchy. I liked this though because each bite broke off a little easier and was easier to eat than the less smoked, but “tougher” jerky. You still had to bite and work on it a bit, but I didn’t feel like I was pulling it back and forth with my teeth to get just one bite off (my biggest complaint about jerky, despite my love of the taste).
The brie fundido I was very excited to try given that it was marked as gluten-free on the menu. It came out with a side of bread to eat it with, which of course is not gluten-free. I tried it first just a little bite of cheese and honey with a fork. Not bad, but understandably quite rich to eat on its own. I then tried it with the jerky (remember I did say it was kind of like a cracker) and that worked pretty well. The flavors together were pretty great (meat and cheese and honey!). I really actually enjoyed that creative combination that I came up with (not to brag or anything).
I was very excited to try the burger, because their burger patties are a combination of short rib, brisket, and chuck all ground up together. This is just like one of my favorite burgers in Miami at the Pincho Factory. Tap 79’s was still a good burger, but I didn’t get as rich and defined of flavors from the burger patty itself as I was hoping. It tasted more like a regular burger to me (although still good). Here’s what I did love- the aged Scottish cheddar is probably the best cheese I’ve ever had on a burger. The cheese was just that good. The extra flavor I was hoping for from the short rib/brisket/chuck patty over a regular burger patty I found in the aged Scottish cheddar, which by far blew regular American or cheddar cheese out of the water. It was rich and a melted gooey. It made me really enjoy each bite of that burger. Some bacon added was a nice touch, but for me the cheese was the focal (and gustatory) point. I got some truffle fries on the side, which came dusted with Parmesan cheese. The truffle came in an aioi sauce on the side, which was nice to dip the fries into (and pour a bit on my burger).
Looking back (many many months later…) I really enjoyed the relaxed neighborhood vibe of Tap 79. The Upper Eastside is really developing and so I’m hopeful other restaurants and businesses will develop that strip of 79th into more of a walkable, neighborhood feel. There’s also a bar inside if you just want to grab a drink and hang out with friends. The food was definitely good quality and I enjoyed what I had. The aged Scottish cheddar was excellent and I also liked the jerky and fig salad. I’d recommend this if you’re in the area and looking for craft burgers, food, and/or beer.
Tap 79- 1071 NE 79th St, Miami, FL 33138