/ The South Florida Traveler
South Florida — By klynch on February 10, 2010 at 9:54 am
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Review: SUGARCANE Raw Bar Grill

I think twitter has made SUGARCANE Raw Bar Grill the “it” place to go. All of this talk about their Whole Roasted Chicken with Truffled Fingerling Potatoes and Mushrooms had me drooling before I ever walked into the restaurant. I can just see the hordes of people making their way there now, and this chicken is only on the list of specials.

Whole Roasted Chicken with Truffled Fingerling Potatoes and Mushrooms

It was comfort food at it’s finest and the accompaniment of truffled potatoes and mushrooms brought 3 of my favorite ingredients together, though I must admit, if it wasn’t for twitter, chicken would have not been on my list of must-have items on this creative menu.

Brussels Sprouts with balsalmic glaze

Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill opened just a few weeks ago in the Midtown area, an area I don’t make it down to too often. (I spent my time driving around in circles, but finally made it thanks to the helpful staff.) As I made my way inside, I was drawn to the hip atmosphere and vibrant feel of the restaurant, that in the wee hours turns into more of a club-like atmosphere. You aren’t going to come here for a quiet meal, but you will come here for innovative cuisine to share amongst your friends.

The restaurant comes to us from the founders of SUSHISAMBA, and features a small plates/tapas menu with South American influences created by Executive Chef, Timon Balloo — who you may remember from Domo Japones. He will tell you that his talent and true passion for what he does arises from growing up in Trinidad and learning under the helm of Michelle Bernstein. SUGARCANE raw bar grill combines 3 distinct kitchens, that at first made me think that they were all over the board, but soon understood the concept and blend of flavors/preparations. The 3 kitchens were the robata grill, the hot kitchen and a raw bar.

Himachi Hako

On my first visit here, we tasted our way through the menu. That [sticking to the small plates], I highly recommend you do. Highlights from my experience include the brussels sprouts with orange and sweet soy. Brussels sprouts have become a recent favorite of mine (Did I just say that?), and this slightly sweet, slightly crisp version will be turning heads soon. The himachi hako (pictured above) fools you in a sense, as it looks like you’re eating white-bread sandwiches, but in fact, it is fresh himachi with a spicy dipping sauce making it a nice play on flavors — and my favorite of the evening. Another stand out dish was the fluke with the grapes and red shiso and from the crudo menu. Definitely impressed with my first visit here and am confident that they will do well. Only problem is, the menu is large so it will take a few visits to taste your way through. My suggestion — go with a large group so your can taste your way through the menu.

Another standout, thought not on the menu, was the staff. Their knowledge was incredible and they could ramble off an entire encyclopedia description of anything on the menu. For being only open a few weeks, I found this to be mind-blowing.

Will that chicken ever make the regular menu? Well, we were told that they only wanted to use the freshest ingredients and they want to have the ability to adjust it so it probably will stay up on the blackboard, but no worries, expect to see a variation of it for your dining pleasure on most nights.

SUGARCANE raw bar grill is located at 3250 Ne 1st Ave in Miami. (786) 369-0353

Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill on Urbanspoon

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