Bent into Shape

The Bent Fork pops up at The Federal for the next few months

Maybe Simon Stojanovic should take a break more often.

The former Michael Genuine's sous-chef and Altamare executive chef has had some time on his hands since the closing of the restaurant's Brickell sister, TIKL, last year. But the Aussie has turned it into a personal renaissance of sorts, doing what he loves best: crafting gutsy dishes from farm-fresh products he handpicks himself.

After lending a skillful hand to chef and friend Gabriela Machado at her exclusive Copperbox Culinary Atelier–a private dining studio and workshop that hosted a small group of guests in a sensory overload dining experience–Stojanovic envisioned a similar concept of his own.

The result is The Bent Fork, a pop-up restaurant that will be taking over The Federal on Monday nights in February and March. Stojanovic's elegant and eclectic ten-dish menu is made from a dazzling array of luxurious local ingredients he sources on Monday morning field trips to local farms. "I don't mind the drive. I know that it was plucked from the plant that morning, I cook it and you eat it that night," he says.

The bone marrow with beef tongue is a must-try

Of his ten dishes, our number one was the grilled local marrow with beef tongue ($18). Its accompanying mocha and tomato chutney perfectly complemented the smoky and robust flavors brought out by "his baby," a Robata grill.

Ocoee duck paired with small dollops of plump foie gras, fermented scallions and a multi-hued confit of carrots ($18) melts in your mouth like butter. Stojanovick's imagination gets a bit extravagant with the seafood sausage dressed with pork crème and peppercorns ($14); the sausage's filling of scallops, Canaveral white shrimp and local snapper gives it a spongier texture than a traditional link.

It's too bad The Bent Fork will only be around for a few months–but we're excited to see where Stojanovic pops up next.