As much as Miami is famous for its great Cuban cuisine, I wasn't planning to eat it everyday. Hence, for varietal purposes, we headed to Yardbird, named one of the top 50 best new restaurants for 2012 by Bon Appetit. Located in trendy Miami Beach, the interior decor and vibe reflected that with what can be described as a modern rustic. With a menu focused on elevated Southern cooking, we were more than enthused to try some of their offerings.
We started with the Fried Green Tomato BLT consisting of Heritage Acres Farm pork belly, frisee, fried green tomatoes, tomato jam and house-made pimento cheese. There was only one way to describe this dish - freakin' awesome. First of all, the breading was crunchy and not greasy while the crisp thick-cut belly was meaty. There was a great balance of flavors including the acidity from the tomato jam, spiciness from the cheese and savoriness from the belly. Next up was a side of Corn3 which included fresh grilled sweet corn, lightly fried hominy and crispy fried cornbread crumbles. Every item came as advertised. I particularly liked the crunchy bits of cornbread.
Viv went for the Crunchy Yardbird Sandwich that was a mouth-watering concoction of fried chicken with sweet tobasco, house-made bacon, lettuce, tomato and buttermilk dressing. Another home run in my books because it was just plain awesome. The crunchy piece of thigh meat was moist and sweet. Of course the kicker was the thick-sliced bacon which offered up fatty and salty goodness. The addition of pickled onions added the necessary acidity to cut the richness. We got a side of House-Cut Fries with buttermilk dipping sauce and bacon "salt" (bacon bits). The crispy fries were nicely accented by the creamy and spicy dipping sauce.
My parents decided to share the large order of Shrimp n' Grits consisting of Florida shrimp, crisp Virginia ham and Adluh South Carolina stone ground grits. The big mound of grits were prepared beautifully in my opinion. It was fluffy and soft while exhibiting a firmness that was not too moisture-ladened. The large shrimp on top had a buttery snap where the onions added a natural sweetness. Lastly, the reduced beer sauce displayed depth and a rich shrimp flavor as well as saltiness from the ham (maybe a touch too salty). We also got an order of the Macaroni & Cheese made with 5 artisanal cheeses. The al dente pasta was caressed by a cheesy sharpness accented by a slight spice. We loved the crunchy herb crust as well.
Lastly, I decided to order the Strawberry Shortcake for dessert. The whole thing should've been called strawberries with a bit of shortcake since there was a wealth of ripe sweet berries with basil syrup. The shortcake was airy and light. This was a nice way to finish off a very good meal at Yardbird. We came here with certain expectations and they met everyone of them. The food was delicious and soothed the soul. I wish I didn't have to travel all the way to Miami to get it.
- Nice take on Southern cuisine
- Attentive service
- Loved the decor
- Rich food, will be heavy
- Parking is a bit of a pain