A decade ago, chef Alan Hughes' restaurant, One Ninety, drew an eclectic crowd to Buena Vista long before Michael Schwartz or Jonathan Eismann pitched their tents in the area. Meanwhile, Hughes hosted a guerrilla dinner club, Luuur.
Now, after four years as a private chef, Hughes has reclaimed a space in the neighborhood.
His new gastropub, The Embassy, offers the same graceful, understated vibe that welcomed all at One Ninety. There's a blackboard menu of small plates like hogfish crudo with preserved lemon ($12), along with affordable beers and wines.
An array of pintxos beckons from the bar ($4 to $5 each). Colorful strata of vegetables, cheeses and meats on wide slices of bread are self-serve, as in Basque bars.
One pintxo features a platform of bread rubbed with garlic butter, then topped with anchovies, roasted tomatoes and goat cheese. Fig jam, thick with fruit, brightens a stack of Brie and jamón Serrano; Hughes makes jams as a side business.
Small plates like octopus bruschetta ($9) are also worth trying. The octopus is tender and flanked with arugula, tomatoes and garlic.
The short menu is ever-changing, and discovering what's new here is half the fun.
The Embassy, 4600 NE Second Ave.; 305-571-8446 or theembassymiami.com