After a year peddling dumplings and braised beef sandwiches in the booming, never-ending rave that is Surfside, Chow Down Grill owner Josh Marcus decided to crank up the awesome by opening a bigger, boozier second location in the heart of South Beach this Friday. To handle the boozy part he brought in nightlife guru John Donovan, the co-owner of go-to local haunts Purdy Lounge and The Bar, which is like a restaurant or something. The skinny:
The Look: The space’s divided into two main rooms only missing signs designating "Party Here" / "Eat Here", starting with the green-walled/stencil tree-lined dining room, which houses a slew of somehow-fancy picnic tables as well as dangling Asian buoys that basically look like circular bamboo bird cages. Cross over into the
place where John Edwards pretends to chat with your grandma other side and get an eyeful of a massive red/white graffiti mural done by a local tat artist, as well as a big ol’ bar made from Indonesian imported wood.
The Consumption: Kicking off the now fully liquored-up drink menu are the Chow Down Mai Tais mixed with homemade lemongrass and almond syrup, and the "Crouching Tiger" made with silver tequila, lychee/ lemongrass syrup, and a habanero pepper slice. Meanwhile, they’ll be plating shrimp/pork/porcini dumplings along with new seasonal eats like sesame sweet breads and oyster spring rolls w/ lemon confit and fennel until 5-damn-AM every night. DJs hit the booth Thurs/Fri/Sat, as well as for the "in the works" "Wok'n Wednesdays", a rock n' roll-themed blowout, which's like a quiet Sunday night in that party capital Surfside.