Before the infamous Food Network era, came a time in the early ’90s, where you learned how to cook, NOT how to be a “chef”, explained Will Biscoe of Biscayne Tavern.
Chef Will attended a one year French cooking school program in Washington D.C., which will always be remembered as an essential step in his career. After completing cooking school Chef Will opened up some nice restaurants, even won some awards residing in D.C. for fifteen years. In 2003 he vacationed in Miami, and what do you know—he never left!
THP: Really, you just stayed?
WB: Yup, I loved the water, the palm trees, and left the rest behind. One thing led to another and back at it again…
THP: So, how did you end up at Biscayne Tavern?
WB: I took a leave of absence from Hollywood Prime in the Westin Diplomat and traveled to China last summer for about a month and then after taking some time off, the job just kind of fell in my lap and it just seemed to be a really good fit between China Grill Management, B Hotels and Biscayne Tavern.
THP: What’s the concept of Biscayne Tavern?
WB: Well, we are a gastropub, so beer is the drink of choice here. We have sixteen craft beers on tap and several other bottled beers. We don’t have the Miller Light, Bud Light or those sorts of beers. Then we have the full bar, so the whole restaurant is built around this amazing bar we have. We wanted to do really good food so Jeffrey Chodorow from China Grill Management came up with a concept and then between China Grill Management and B Hotels this is what we ended up with. We want to be your neighborhood place a couple times a week, it’s affordable but you can still have high quality food. We do a different daily special every day, so you can always change it up and we will be what you need us to be.
THP: What’s your favorite daily special?
WB: My favorite is… it’s like with children, how do you pick your favorite? My new favorite right now is Monday Night, Fried Chicken Night. We are doing a honey marinated fried chicken with baked potato salad and watermelon rind relish. So it’s a twist on a classic, which is kind of what we do. Twist up the classics; make them a little more modern.
THP: Tell us about your craft beer dinners, what are those like?
WB: We’ve had a couple of those and they are usually a three to four course event built around one of the craft beer companies, the most recent one we did was the beers of Belgium. The next one will be the beers of Brooklyn.
THP: Let’s talk about the menu, what is your favorite dish on the menu?
WB: My favorite dish is probably the pork shank ($22) which is hot, it’s crispy, it’s a large portion with some sautéed spaetzle with a little bit of brown butter and some herbs, and a Cumberland sauce, which is an old classic sauce for cured meats. It’s sweet, spicy, and fruity; it’s made with red currant jam and ginger and the dish really comes together.
THP: If it was someone’s first time in Biscayne Tavern, what must they try?
WB: Everyone has to have the shrimp dynamite ($8.50)!
THP: What are some of the favorites from the Miami Spice menu (FIVE MORE DAYS BEFORE IT ENDS)?
WB: What we are doing that is different from everyone else is that we are offering our entire menu. So, you can have a different meal every time when you come in for Spice. At dinner it comes with a glass of beer or a drink of your choice! You can get the pork shank I love so much for dinner! And then lunch is oriented more to the sandwiches, especially our Florida beef burger ($15) that is to die for!
THP: Where do you eat out in Miami?
WB: I don’t get to eat out often enough; I had a nice dinner at Tongue & Cheek recently. I love Vacas Gordas, absolutely love that and Scarpetta for Italian. But, I’m happy ordering pizza and Chinese as long as I’m with my friends having fun, that’s what it’s all about.
Oh God help us! After ordering the “usual”, (the “usual” being a Diet Coke at 10 a.m.) things got cracking with an amusing Rapidfire Session.
THP: What do you think of the word foodie?
WB: I think it defines a particular person in this time and space in the world and you definitely kind of know where they stand. I’m not quite sure what else to add. I don’t have a visceral reaction to it either way.
THP: What food trend do you not like?
WB: I don’t like too small portions. I don’t like molecular gastronomy. I played with it for a hot minute but I believe in self satisfying, beautifully cooked and prepared food.
THP: Beer or wine?
THP: Favorite craft beer?
WB: I have a big thing right now for the Caramel Cream Ale we have on tap. And I actually make our caramel sauce for some of the desserts with that beer. And then I like Hefeweizen ($6) for something light and drinkable.
THP: What’s your idea of the perfect drink?
WB: I’m a big fan of a spicy margarita with a little bit of a jalapeño tequila in it.
THP: Do you cook at home?
WB: Not as often as I’d like. I love breakfast for dinner!
THP: What’s your guilty pleasure food?
WB: Ice cream, it is so basic and perfect. My favorite flavor is Ben and Jerry’s blueberry vanilla graham Greek frozen yogurt.
THP: Best meal of your life?
WB: When my friends and I were doing externships in cooking school, Gerard Pangaud was the second two-star Michelin chef to arrive in the Americas and he was in the Ritz Carlton. I wanted to see where my friends where cooking so I came in by myself and had the most amazing seven-course meal. I was treated like a king and it was just perfection from start to finish…Until they gave me the glass of Cognac at the end. They said it would make me feel better… it didn’t.
THP: What food item could you not live without?
WB: I love a beautiful roast chicken, dried age beef, and for ingredients butter and salt and I’m good to go!
THP: What food item do you hate?
WB: Oh, this is heresy but I’m not a really big fan of sushi. I mean I appreciate it and I understand the culture behind it.
THP: What’s your ideal soundtrack for cooking?
WB: I love ’70s and ’80s hits or I’ll listen to the modern soundtrack of the day. I don’t really deal in superlatives!
Hungries, are your mouths watering yet? Stop by Biscayne Tavern and say hello to Chef Will Bisoce, what a character this one! Biscayne Tavern is located inside the b2 miami downtown at 146 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132.