photo credit: Tasty Planet
Finka Table & Tap
There are combinations that, on paper, should not work. Pineapples and pizza, Johnny Cash covering Nine Inch Nails, your parents. Finka’s menu includes a lot of these. There are “brisket wonton ravioli” with mango-cheese sauce, vaca frita japchae noodles, and a ham croqueta pizza. This Kendall spot mixes Cuban, Peruvian, and Korean flavors - and the best dishes make us ask the same question we mumbled out loud the first time we listened to “Hurt,” why did no one think of this sooner?
That’s what makes Finka a fun restaurant. You can come here and take a leap of faith on food combinations that could so easily be a disaster. Not all of them are home runs, but at the very least you’ll be pleasantly surprised while you spoon more mango-cheese sauce onto your brisket wonton ravioli.
It seems like a lost opportunity to not try out some of the more unusual things at Finka, but this isn’t only a place for your friend who likes to dip their pizza in soda. You can still bring someone who thinks only three ingredients should exist on a plate at the same time, or a Cuban food purist. Get them the vaca frita tostones or the Islas Canarias croquetas (the family of the chef owns the famous Cuban spot). And then maybe on the second visit, see if they’ll warm up to the round, crunchy arroz con pollo fritters or the perfectly cooked angus churrasco atop a sweet potato mash.
Finka is a big restaurant that’s good at acting like a smaller restaurant. The tall candles dripping wax on the bar and brick walls make you feel like you’re wearing a very cozy sweater, even if you’re just in a t-shirt. It’s the kind of comfortable mood that can help you relax during a first date or forget about an awful day at work over dinner with friends and some cocktails. It’s a unique spot - especially in Tamiami, where you might very well have a friend or parent who only ever wants to eat at Flanigan’s. Hopefully, they trust you enough to not feel nervous when they see a nuoc cham fried chicken breast directly above masitas de puerco on Finka’s menu - just like someone trusted Johnny Cash enough to let him record a cover that now makes us cry by the first note.
Korean Fried Chicken
The assorted pieces of chicken are evenly coated in gochujang, which is slightly sweet and has that fermented punch fans of Korean food will recognize and appreciate. The chicken is very crunchy, and the boniato roll that comes with it tastes like cornbread’s Cuban cousin.
Fried Alligator Jalea
We wish the ratio of this leaned more towards the fried alligator because we like it more than the fried causa balls, which make up the majority of this dish and could use some textural contrast.
Brisket Wonton Ravioli
Despite the fact that this feels like the result of flipping to random pages in a food dictionary, we really like it. The wonton raviolis have an al dente chewiness, the brisket is nice and tender, and the sweet mango balances nicely with the heavy cheese sauce.
Arroz Con Pollo Fritters
These are delicious - especially if you’re not expecting the center of melted mozzarella that bring the little fried rice balls to the level of must-order.
Too many churrascos are tough and overcooked, but this is not one of those. Order it medium rare and the center will be nice and red. The fluffy sweet potato mash adds a sweetness that keeps the whole dish from feeling too heavy.
Korean Japchae Noodles
This is essentially a big pile of vaca frita underneath another pile of glass noodles. Both of those things taste very good, but together they’re really rich and hard to finish, even with a partner. We wouldn’t call this a failed attempt - maybe just a little too much of two good things.