Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Vagabond Restaurant & Bar (Miami)


Food Restaurant Fans of Miami you have another new spot to get excited about.  I stressed restaurant over food because they have nailed almost every facet of the dining experience.  It's the type of place that you can go with a group of friends and everyone will be happy.  Food fanatics, scenesters, trendsetters and vegetarians too.  The food, setting, design, vibe and service are all outstanding.  The cocktail game is the only weak link (pour/price ratio) but it has potential.  It's a fun, lively place and I don't think there is a bad seat in the house. Plus you can grab some prime real estate at the kitchen bar area where you can keep an eye on the 25 year old star of the show, chef Alex Chang.

This is a great overall restaurant but make no mistake, Chef Alex Chang and his food are the primary reason to go. And go often.

Miami may not be familiar with the name Alex Chang but you should be and I bet you will be really soon.

In a nutshell, Alex started a popular underground restaurant in his apartment while attending USC (hmmm sounds like he has a Cobaya in him…) It was called Paladar, a reference to the home operated restaurants in Cuba, and he charged a whopping $15.00 for three course tasting menus. I'm hoping his squid ink and roe pasta dish makes the Vagabond menu. 

After graduating he traveled and trained at reputable spots around the world before settling in at Animal Restaurant where he cooked under South Florida natives Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo.

His dishes at The Vagabond are diverse, creative and bold. They also exhibit finesse and restraint. His flavors are balanced and devoid of the ubiquitous Miami heavy hand.  And his dishes are not pretentious. He's young and aggressive and that may result in some misses along the way but that's okay. The triples and home runs are well worth the risk.

Still not sold? Watch the trailer for the documentary on Paladar below and then watch the movie. Then go while you can still get a reservation.

Alex and The Vag are on the verge of blowing up.

You can watch the documentary in its entirety on Amazon

Recent visits featured great dinner and brunch dishes. I enjoyed them all.

Sun shrimp & Anson Mills blue corn grits, Benton's bacon, poached egg.

Cured ocean trout Smørrebrød, rye bread, cucumber, dill, poppy seed.

Soft scrambled eggs, fines herbs, EVOO.
Sun Shrimp Hash, nduja, fennel, poached eggs. 

Stracciatella, leek oil, country bread.
Tsukune Sandwich (best sandwich in town) tare, nori, scallion, pickled cucumber.

Dry aged burger, potato bun, American cheese, b&b pickles, onions, remoulade.

Smoked Fish Huarache, salsa campechana, lime.

Roasted baby carrots, mole, hazelnut, yogurt, za'atar.

Foie Gras Torchon, loquat, fermented honey & Japanese milk bread.

Ricotta Gnocchi, kale butter, breadcrumbs, savoy cabbage.

Pan seared beef heart, warm duck egg yolk, shiitake mushrooms.

Pork Tonkatsu Sandwich, yuzu kosho sauerkraut, spicy mustard.

Blistered cauliflower, grilled goat's milk, smoked trout roe.

Sweetbread milenesa, swiss, country ham vinaigrette, mustard frill.

Rabbit leg piccata, nasturtium caper, blue oyster mushroom, potato purée.

 Vagabond Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

7301 Biscayne Blvd North Miami, FL 33138

(305) 400-8420

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