Yardbird Miami a fabulous southern food spot ... Via Espanola South Beach fun
I mean, ceviche and grouper are terrific, but I always like to vary things a little on the road. Besides, the menu looked awesome.
Yardbird Southern Table and Bar is a classic, upscale Southern spot on Lenox, just south of the popular Lincoln Road Mall, with its numerous sidewalk cafes (they all look alike to me) and chain stores you’d find at Sherway Gardens and Starbucks. I'll give you a better option in a few minutes...
The scene was buzzing inside, where there’s an open kitchen and chalkboard signs describing the joys of bacon. But when you’re a Canadian and there’s frost on the windshields in front of your house when the cab pulls up at 5 a.m. and you’re in Miami and it’s 26 degrees or something you sit outside, even if the breeze was strong enough to nearly blow my hat off the table.
Carlton, our waiter, was a delight, giving me a chance to try a Yam-hattan; a special drink they’d made up on Saturday with yam-infused bourbon, vermouth, chocolate mole bitters and a rim that was covered with honey and ground-up yam chips. Not something you have every day.
Truth be told I thought it was okay. Not great. But fun and kinda interesting and a definite talking point.
Dinner was not close to being okay. Dinner was fabulous.
We started off with a salad of dark, crisp kale topped with fresh, shaved cheddar, sliced green apples, sliced red onions, “moonshine-soaked raisins” and cider vinegar. In a word spectacular. In eight words, one of the best salads I’ve had anywhere.
We also tried the chicken and biscuit appetizer. They brine a chicken for a day or so and then fry it up moist and delicious and serve it on fluffy biscuits with honey and laced with sweet pepper jelly. Not a tad greasy and utterly delicious. Not one you tell your doctor about on your check-up, but wonderfully rich and flavourful and tasty and finger-looking good (hey, somebody oughta use that).
For dinner we had a side of southern beans (yellow, green, fava and lima beans soaked with Italian seasoning; delicious) and outstanding scallops with pork belly, served with an andouille sausage/cornbread stuffing and spicy molasses glaze that was drool on my golf shirt good.
There was no room for dessert but I did manage a fabulous shot of bourbon for a nightcap as they have dozens of varieties on hand; some made in New York, Utah, Colorado and other unusual spots.
All in all, an outstanding dining experience and one I’d highly recommend. You can find them online at runchickenrun.com, and how great a website name is that?
The day was a little tough for the beach as the winds were howling and the sea was angry, like an old man sending back soup at a deli. But it was just fine for strolling Ocean Dr. and watching the girls dance outside some of the bars and generally do some people watching. We had great calamari and good mahi mahi at the News Café and watched the parade under the palm trees, and it’s tough to beat that.
We wanted to get a coffee and maybe do a bit of shopping, so we strolled along Collins and Washington up towards the restaurant and ended up walking along Via Espanola. I was immediately struck by it; a narrow lane more than a street, with a ton of interesting Mexican, Cuban, Spanish and French restaurants that looked quite inviting; small patios and quirky designs. There also are art galleries spread out in the area as it was built as a South Beach artists' colony in the 1920s.
I didn't have much time to check it out but I spotted some folks doing some painting outside a small cottage and immediately thought this is a place worth coming back to someday. I'd recommend it as a place to explore next time you're in South Beach and you're tired of the glitz.
Off to Key West today, so stay tuned for that.
You can reach Travel Editor Jim Byers at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @jimbyerstravel