MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Even before Tongue and Cheek opens to diners nightly for Happy Hour, it’s plain to see the restaurant is all about whimsy in the eclectic modern space in South Beach.

Chef owner Jamie DeRosa had whimsy in mind when he came up with the concept for his unique restaurant on Washington Avenue and 4th Street.

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“For us, it was who inspires us, and who better than Mr. Miami, Jackie Gleason himself,” said Chef Jamie pointing to a picture of Gleason hanging on a wall in the restaurant. “And this is the skyline view from old Miami,” he said, pointing to the Freedom Tower.

The food at Tongue and Cheek, too, is as whimsical as the restaurant’s decor.

“We do it with a light sense of humor, so you might get it a different way. We do a burger, but we do it with beef cheeks. We do spaghetti, but we do a pork cheek and beef cheek meatball, so it does have that cheeky definition by name,” DeRosa said.

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The restaurant’s take on a frozen margarita is topped with frozen blackberries, and bubbles because it’s made with liquid nitrogen.

Small plates, like chicken liver pate made with honey, are offered at the bar nightly.

Jamie doesn’t use gloves, but rather something even more sterile. He uses actual surgical instruments to be precise with the micro veggies.

In the restaurant’s kitchen, Chef Jamie prepared a sautéed scallop dish made with hearts of palm, popcorn puree and roasted mushrooms for Petrillo which she described as, “It’s a delicacy, these are so moist. It melts in your mouth. Delicious.”

Tongue and Cheek is both whimsy and creative with the food served, and designed for diners who are, “knowledgeable these days with the food networks, cooking channels. People know food these days, for me, it’s about the experience,” said Chef Jamie.

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For more information about the restaurant, visit

Lisa Petrillo