Lunch at Yardbird, South Beach, Miami, Florida
Out of all the restaurants we visited while vacationing in South Beach, Miami, recently, I was most excited to dine at Yardbird. After reading lots about the restaurant in advance of our visit, I was pretty sure we were going to have a great meal and a lovely experience, and we were not disappointed. Known for its down-home southern cuisine, we were excited to experience something that is pretty much impossible to find anywhere in or around Ottawa.
Located just off the busy Lincoln Road pedestrian mall in South Beach, Yardbird sits on a more residential street, but isn’t far from the action. As you enter the restaurant, you’re greeted by the relaxed, down-home, laid back decor, right down to the paper wrapped cloth napkins reminding you to “say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.” There is nothing pretentious about this place, and we felt immediately comfy and cozy despite the apparent buzz about Yardbird.
Having scrupulously perused the menu ahead of our visit, we were pretty sure as to what we would be ordering, but we were delighted when our waiter took the time to ask us if we’d dined there before, and to make some much welcomed suggestions and share some important info about the menu.
To start out, we sipped on a couple of Yardbird’s signature drinks: the peachberry smash (in the martini glass in my photo above) and the blackberry bourbon lemonade. Both were a unique mixture of fine alcohol and fresh ingredients: all you need to know is that they were delicious and refreshing! We highly recommend sampling their cocktails if you have the chance.
Most of their plates are perfect for sharing, so that was what we did. We started off with the buttermilk biscuits, which came hot and fresh out of the oven with a side of honey butter and strawberry jam. I am a sucker for fresh baked biscuits and I could have eaten these forever and ever! We had no trouble polishing off these tender, moist and flaky biscuits. These are what biscuit dreams are made of!
For our main, we chose to share what Yardbird is known for, their chicken n’ watermelon n’ waffles. Described on their menu as “Yardbird’s signature old school fried chicken, hot sauce honey, chilled spiced watermelon, cheddar cheese chow chow waffle and bourbon maple syrup,” this is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever eaten. First, the fried chicken, which was a full half chicken with two breasts, a wing and a leg, was ridiculously moist, and the flavours in the breading were perfect. Their hot sauce honey somehow made the flavours even better, if possible. Just when you needed a cool down, the chilled spiced watermelon came to the rescue. Have you ever had spiced watermelon? We guessed that there was a combination of spices, probably including some cumin, maybe chili powder, but, whatever they were, it made the watermelon that much more interesting and delicious. Lastly, the waffles. The waffles! How could something so simple like cheddar cheese and green onion make a waffle taste so amazing, I’ll never know. The bourbon maple syrup was certainly a treat! The plate also came with their in-house made relish, which added a lovely zest to everything with which I topped it. We both agreed that this was one of the most expertly executed dishes we have ever eaten.
Lastly, we also couldn’t resist trying their macaroni and cheese, which is made with torchio pasta, five artisanal cheeses and a crispy herb crust. This was very much your basic mac and cheese without any of the popular nonsense that is truffle oil or bacon, and we loved it! You could really taste the strong flavours of the cheese blend and the torchio pasta (just the name of its shape) held up superbly.
Sadly, we did not have any room for dessert (what a pity!) so that was it for our visit at Yardbird. The food, the service, the ambiance and the complete overall experience was fantastic. Check it out if you`re ever in South Beach and in the mood for some down home southern cooking!
See Yardbird`s website here.
Read this New York Times review of Yardbird here.