Sunday, March 30, 2014

Best Burgers Miami/South Florida 2014

The quality of Burgers continues to improve in South Florida making this list very difficult to do. But I've put in a lot of leg work once again in order to make sure that my list is thorough and accurate. I've decided to scrap the Tiers approach to my ranking this time. I've opted to go with a straight ranking of the Top Twenty Best Burgers in South Florida.

It should be noted that my burger rankings are all about the burger. Unlike my Best Restaurants in Miami rankings, service, wine/beverage programs, ambiance and value do not play a role.

This is all about the blend, bun, seasonings, toppings and overall execution.

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN- All three were short lived but fantastic.

Boxpark (Miami/CLOSED) Grass-fed and topped with Thomasville Tomme, arugula, pickled onions, tomato and served on a nice housemade onion bun.

Preservation (Sunny Isles/CHEF Ryan LEFT) Berkshire bacon, sharp cheddar, onion compote and hickory island dressing.

Michy's (Miami) This was featured during Sunday Brunch which is no longer in effect. Michy's burger was topped with a poached egg, hollandaise, jamon serrano and melting Gruyere. Maybe it will make a cameo at Crumb.


Le Tub (Hollywood) 13 oz. ground top sirloin, seasoned, charbroiled with cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion.


Charm City Burger Company (Deerfield Beach) 1/3 pound proprietary steak blend served with lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles and charm sauce on an artisan baked sesame bun.


Tucker Duke's Lunch Box (Deerfield Beach) FIDO-American & cheddar, crispy onions, mixed pickles, house made ketchup, tucker sauce, crunch bun.


Edge Steak & Bar (Miami) Creekstone Farms ground beef with Vermont cheddar and pickles.


J&G Grill (Bal Harbour) Black truffle dressing, Brie, lettuce tomato on a housemade bun.


The Dutch (South Beach) Dry aged prime burger with cheddar, secret sauce on a sesame bun.


Burger Fi (Multiple) Brisket Burger. Double natural 28 day dry aged ground brisket, Swiss cheese, blue cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles and BurgerFi sauce.


Pincho Factory (Coral Gables/Westchester) The Pincho Burger. Chuck, brisket and short rib and paired with lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, potato sticks and secret sauce.


Kush & LoKal (Wynwood/Cocunut Grove) Sister establishments serving similar burger options. LoKal Burger Florida grass-fed burger served with homemade honey mustard, using local honey, melted jack cheese, local tomato’s, sliced red onions, arugula and Florida avocados.


Michael's Genuine Food & Drink (Miami Design District) The Genuine burger is a house ground Harris Ranch black angus burger topped with a choice of cheese on a brioche bun. House smoked bacon is also an option.


Umami Burger (South Beach) Umami Burger topped with a shiitake mushroom, caramelized onions, roasted tomato, parmesan crisp and umami ketchup.



Houston's (Multiple) Cheeseburger with fresh ground chuck, cheddar, lettuce, tomato and onion on a toasted egg bun.


Wolfgang's Steakhouse (Miami) Classic Burger with in house dry aged beef, lettuce, tomato, pickles and onion on a sesame seed bun. 

Blue Collar (Miami) Real Juicy Cheeseburger. Prime dry aged NY Strip on a Portuguese muffin.


Tongue and Cheek (South Beach) Beef cheek paired with cheddar pimento cheese, sweet onions and housemade brioche.



db Bistro Moderne (Miami) The Original db Burger. Sirloin burger filled with wine braised short rib, foie gras, preserved black truffle on a parmesan bun.


The Cypress Room (Miami Design District) Rib cap trimmings blended in and topped with Jasper Hill Landaff and onion marmalade.



Bourbon Steak (Aventura) All-beef, dry aged burgers topped with melted farmhouse cheddar, shredded lettuce, balsamic onions and secret sauce.


Swine Southern (Coral Gables) The Swine Burger. Short rib, brisket and smoked pork blend with homemade dill pickle, thick cut house smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, American cheese and special sauce.


Michael Mina 74 (Miami Beach) Dry aged steak burger with double-smoked bacon, romaine and secret sauce.


Shake Shack (Multiple) Shack Burger, 100% all natural angus beef, ground daily and cooked medium and topped with cheese, lettuce, tomato and Shack Sauce. Also pictured and equally great too is the Smoke Stack. A cheeseburger topped with all-natural applewood smoked bacon, chopped cherry pepper and Shack Sauce.

TO DO- Lure, OTC and Pubbelly.

Great Non Traditional Burgers-

Displaying Sakaya Kitchen.jpg

Sakaya Kitchen The Bulgogi - Brisket and shortrib blend, ssamjang, bulgogi marinated patty, spicy cheese, tots, chili mayo, quick pickle on a potato roll. 

Sugarcane Raw Bar Kobe sliders with tonkatsu sauce and fried quail egg.

Burger Brawl 5.9.14

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Blue Willy's Barbecue (Pompano Beach)

I don't claim to be a barbecue connoisseur. But this food lover is a big barbecue fan and I've had my fair share around the country over the years. I'll keep this simple. Blue Willy's is easily THE BEST barbecue I've had in South Florida bar none.

Blue Willy's is owned and operated by Will Banks who was born in the barbecue land of Tyler, Texas. He learned his skills from his grandfather who owned a butcher shop in Tyler that eventually became a barbecue spot.

Barbecuing was a hobby for Will until approximately four years ago when he decided to take his talents pro. He inadvertently followed a similar path as the uber popular Franklin Barbecue located in Austin, Texas. Both started as food trucks before moving on to restaurants.

Will operated his popular food truck across from the Broward County Courthouse for three years. The Pompano Beach restaurant opened a few months ago and is a must visit place for fans of Texas style brisket, Carolina pulled pork and/or Memphis style ribs. Will also serves chicken and sausage. All of the barbecue is available as plates that come with two sides, sandwiches or by the pound/rack (halves too).

Willy's sides are good too and include Mac n Cheese, Collard Greens, Pit Smoked Beans, Slaw and Aunt May's Cornbread.

Rumor has it that Thursday is Pastrami day. It's allegedly fantastic and sells out fast. I'm 0-2. If it's as good as everything else, I may start camping out.

Willy slicing the outstanding Texas style Brisket.

You want the brisket.

Killer Carolina Style Pulled Pork.

Meaty Memphis Style Ribs.

Willy offers several housemade barbecue sauces including a Bob Gibson White Sauce and an Espresso Brisket Juice but none are needed.

Everyone's favorite side, Mac n Cheese is another winner.

Tasty Collard Greens.

Blue Willy's Barbecue on Urbanspoon

Closed on Monday.
Tues-Sat 11:30 - 9.
Sunday 11:30-8.

1386 S Federal Hwy
Pompano Beach, FL 33062
(954) 224-6120

Monday, March 24, 2014

Bar Takeover & Global Street Food @ Macchialina 3.27.14

As you may know by now, Macchialina, one of the best restaurants in town, recently obtained a full liquor license. And they're allowing someone to take the bar over once a month.  First up, USBG President Michael Parrish who will be serving Kappa Pisco, Spring 44 Gin and bourbon cocktails on March 27th from 10PM to 1AM.  Go hungry because Chef Michael Pirolo is going to be serving global street food.

This sounds like a great concept and a fun night. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Hot and Soul (Fort Lauderdale)

Well they certainly nailed the name. The food is Hot and it has Soul.

Hole in the wall, neighborhood gem, mom and pop, good for groups, family-friendly, fit for food lovers and craft beer connoisseurs. You can classify it any way you like, but the bottom line is that they're serving flavorful food prepared with passion and soul. It's a casual and comfortable place without pretense. It's the kind of place that every neighborhood needs.

Hot & Soul opened about a year ago and is tucked away in a strip mall on the corner of Oakland Park Blvd. and Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale. It's the love child of chefs Mike Hampton and Christy Samoy who attended culinary school together in New Orleans. After spending years gaining experience in various kitchens in New Orleans, San Diego and South Florida they decided it was time to open their own spot.

I was immediately intrigued by Hot & Soul because of the New Orleans influences seen throughout the menu. Big Easy hits include, gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish etouffee, beignets and now barbeque shrimp. Christy shows off her Filipino background via chicken adobo and tocino. Other global influences play a role too.

There are staple dishes that remain on the daily menu and are featured during lunch on Thursday and Fridays as well as Sunday brunch. They offer nightly specials that allow them to experiment and be creative while offering new dishes for regulars to try. They also wisely offer small portions of most dishes allowing diners to sample more of their tasty fare.

Great food, interesting menu, daily specials, small plates, neighborhood vibe, casual, comfortable and reasonably priced. It's a recipe for success and my kind of place.

If you are a fan of fresh, flavorful food prepared with passion and some soul you need to go.

They've embraced the craft beer scene and rotate six on tap that usually pair well with their menu.

A light, refreshing and clean flavored Soba Noodle Salad features cucumber, edamame, marinated tofu along with sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, mint and "rooster sauce."

New Orleans Style BBQ shrimp are a recent addition to the menu. Here, Mike does a great job replicating this famous New Orleans dish. Think pepper, butter and worcestershire sauce. Plump gulf shrimp are served with heads and tails on and plenty of bread so there is no excuse to leave any of that addictive sauce behind.

Aunt Dewey's Gumbo is littered with delicious bites of Duck and Andouille Sausage and paired with a flavorful roux and long grain rice.

"Catch the Craw" Crawfish Etouffe with Scallion Rice. Who's your Crawdaddy?!

"Yumbalaya" is their riff on jambalaya and includes Chicken and Andouille Sausage.

"Hop into your Mouth" features Frog Legs with Crystal Butter and Jalapeno Slaw.

Mushroom fans will enjoy the Mushroom Manchego Toast w Sherry Cream.

"Gnaughty Gnocchi" Housemade Gnocchi paired with Oxtail, San Marzano Tomatoes, Basil and Pecorino.

Chicken Adobo consists of delicious Thighs, Soy Sauce, Brown Sugar, Vinegar, Bay Leaves, Peppercorn and Jasmine Rice.

"Pillowy" Beignets with Buttermilk Cream Anglaise are a perfect way to start and/or end your Sunday brunch.

Hot & Soul on Urbanspoon

Monday 5-10pm
Tuesday - Saturday 4 - 11pm
Closed Sunday

3045 N Federal Hwy, Suite 60B
(the corner of N Fed Hwy/Oakland Park Blvd same shopping center as Fernanda's International Market and the Culture Room - in the back corner)
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33306