Each year, more than 400 chefs, as well as wine and spirit products come together for a weekend of food and booze-filled events. This year’s 21st annual Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival features four Aventura Mall restauranteurs, including Pubbelly Sushi’s Jose Mendín.
Though born to parents with an appreciation for cuisine (and a great-grandmother who was a cooking instructor), José Mendín didn’t discover his own love of cooking until he was off at college on a volleyball scholarship and preparing his own meals. Since then, he’s made a name for himself by blending creativity with vibrant flavors and fresh-high quality ingredients.
We interviewed the five-time James Beard Foundation Award nominee himself to learn more about the inspiration behind the Pubbelly experience, his favorite dishes and more:
What inspired Pubbelly Sushi?
I wanted to create a sushi concept that would take the neighborhood sushi bar to the next level – a sushi bar that was casual and affordable but fun and bold in flavors and menu items.
How do you keep your menu fresh, creative and exciting?
We are always looking for inspiration daily. The trick is to never stop creating and challenging yourself in the kitchen. We also have an amazing team of cooks and chefs that help in that process.
Favorite menu item(s)?
– Butter Krab Roll
– Tostones con Ceviche
– Salt and Pepper Squid
– Sake Aburi Roll
– PB Nigiris
– Grilled Octopus
– Lobster Dynamite
A stellar selection: You can only pick one beverage/cocktail, one app/shared plate, one roll or main dish, and one dessert. Which ones do you suggest?
La Chula Cocktail
Tostones con Ceviche
Sake Aburi Roll
Chocolate Miso Bread Pudding
Secret to the perfect roll? Cooking hack you swear by?
The rice. Try everything you make.
Growing up, were there any specific people you looked up to in the food industry?
Yes. Chefs in Puerto Rico, like Mario Pagan and Willo Bennet.
Who continues to inspire you, both at work and in everyday life?
What are you most proud of yourself for accomplishing?
Everything! I don’t take anything for granted. I am proud of everything we have created.
Pubbelly is one of the busiest restaurants at Aventura Mall! Why did you select Aventura Mall as a location?
Aventura is a very special city for me – my first job in Miami was at Turnberry working at The Veranda. I love Aventura Mall. I’ve been in Miami now for 24 years and it’s my favorite mall in all South Florida.
Learn more about Aventura Mall’s eclectic and diverse dining options at AventuraMall.com/Dining