I have left New York for Miami Beach, next stop the world!
With a passion for new people, new places, food and everything in between I want to document my new life as an explorer both in my backyard and abroad. While rating them with my sarcastic humor and quick wit, I hope you will come along and enjoy this journey with me…
Yardbird…the concept of traditional southern cooking with a trendy tapas style presentation has landed about two blocks from my front door in sunny South Beach. I don’t come from the South, so I can’t relate to craving shrimp and grits (more like bagels and Chinese food)…that was until I experienced Yardbird. The twist on southern tradition with the use of fresh and local ingredients could not have fused together more seamlessly. Chef Jeff McGinnis has introduced Miami to yet another new culinary experience and if it were up to me, he and Yardbird would never leave.
Cucumber Water Martini - Ask for DJ the bartender that created this refreshing cocktail. This concoction is his creation and no one makes it better!!
Watermelon Salad with Farm Cheese - Chilled watermelon topped with fresh seared farm cheese
Fried Green Tomato BLT - Porkbelly, greens, fried green tomatoes, tomato jam and housemade pimento cheese
Fried Chicken and Waffles - 1/2 free-range bird, with savory cheddar & chow chow waffle, spicy honey and citrus pepper watermelon
Shrimp and Grits - Florida shrimp, crisp Virginia ham and Adluh SC stone ground grits
Macaroni and Cheese - Torchio pasta, 5 artisanal cheeses, crispy herb crust
Sweet Potato Beignets - AMAZING!! Served with homemade blueberry preserves and pig candy (bacon) ice cream
Red Velvet Cake - Cream cheese frosting, carrot sorbet and Bourbon buttermilk
Homemade Apple Pie - Just like grandma used to make (if your grandma was an amazing pastry chef)
My first recommendation is to taste EVERYTHING! I had to try Yardbird a couple times. With a brunch, lunch and supper menu it would be unethical journalism for me not to give my honest and very thorough opinion. After my repeat visits I have to say each time was better than the last. I recommend sitting at the bar. The industrial feel and open atmosphere make for the best people watching and all of the bartenders are more than willing to accommodate any request. If you are will a larger party, the variety of booths, high tops and communal tables, provides something for everyones’ comfort level. Although they are known for their infused and deliberate bourbon bar there is something for everyone. The novice bourbon drinker (like myself) should start with the Blackberry Bourbon Lemonade. Just the right combination of ingredients, this cocktail is refreshingly aggressive (to say the least)!!
Moving on to the starters…the small plate style appetizers are palate pleasing and leave you wanting more, but I warn you…your eyes will be bigger than your stomach, so stick to 2-3 “small shares” and leave room for the decadent “big shares” and sides…you’ll thank me later. My dinner guests and I decided on the fresh watermelon and farm cheese salad and the fried green tomato BLT. The fresh watermelon salad is definitely one of my favorites combining fresh seasoned melon with a perfectly partnered seared farm cheese. Chef McGinnis revealed that the fresh farm cheese is credited to his South Carolina roots. Wherever it comes from, I can’t get enough! The fried green tomato BLT is a decadent, savory experience with a kick that I will be sure to repeat on my next visit.
The “big shares”or the big daddies as I like to call them are just as advertised…BIG! The house favorite, fried chicken and waffles, is a must. This non-greasy take on this traditionally dripping entree is a success all around. The spicy honey is a fun surprise and the perfect bite can be achieved with a proportional chicken-to-waffle combination. The fried chicken and waffles may be the house favorite, but the shrimp and grits was my favorite. Both the shrimp and grits were cooked to perfection and the crispy Virginia ham is just the right touch of savory to push this dish over the edge. In fact I’m regretting not getting it for dinner as I write this review.
Now on to the sides!! The macaroni and cheese was just the way I like it, more of a cheese coating rather than a sauce. If you were looking for that creamy drenched mac and cheese, you came to the wrong place. The waffle fries are a fun addition to the table and the brussel sprouts was the perfect vegetable to compliment this otherwise carb-filled marathon of food.
As if we didn’t eat enough, we moved on to dessert. There is always room for dessert!! And with that being said here is my brief take on all things sweet at Yardbird. The red velvet cake was ok, nothing to write home about and not worth the calories after a meal like that. The sweet potato beignets, however, a completely different story. Absolutely spectacular and made to order, the pig candy (bacon) ice cream complimented the fresh fried dough perfectly! If you’re scared of bacon ice cream, you’re not alone and not everyone is a fan, but if it happens to be on the menu when you try this place (and you will try this place), I highly recommend giving it a try. Last but not least, the homemade apple pie is everything you’d expect and so much more. This with a glass of milk finally pushed me and my top pants button over the edge.
Whether for a birthday, anniversary or just a random Tuesday night, do yourself a favor and make a reservation at Yardbird ASAP!
LOCATION: 1600 Lenox Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139