Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill – One of Miami’s Best Restaurants
Photos By Jason Hesch
Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill exceeds expectations with its globally inspired and insanely scrumptious fare. Executive chef Timon Balloo is focused on the “shared experience” while dining and that is what you will get along with a chorus of intense foodgasms. He accomplishes this aura with shareable small plates and hardy large plate fares, such as the crave-worthy comfort food dish of whole roasted chicken with truffle fingerling potatoes and wild mushrooms.
Winning numerous awards and recognition, I was excited to be dining there. Sugarcane received an ecstatic review from Zagat and Food & Wine. It won “best new restaurant” award from Miami New Times, “best restaurant” from Johnson & Wales, a AAA 4-Diamond rating, and a Miami Herald 3-star review, twice. But if you know anything about the fine dining world, nothing is more coveted than the James Beard award and Sugarcane was a semi-finalist in the Best New Restaurant category.
Back in 2010, midtown Miami was in its infancy and Sugarcane’s gastronomic sensibility started the foodie scene. It’s mantra, kick back, eat well, and stay awhile. Having a traditional kitchen, open fire grill and raw bar combined with its timeless eclecticism interior design and architecture, vibrant with varied textures goes along with an overall sense of “openness,” that truly lends itself to their mantra.
By incorporating the authenticity and warmth of historic Miami, with the inspiration of South American’s Colonial Spanish-style architecture, one takes note of organic textures, salvaged ironwork, reclaimed shutters, and vintage “found objects,” seamlessly combined with modern design to standout as an icon.
Let’s not forget Sugarcane found fame with its lite healthy fares. And I wanted to give a shout to excellent service by our kind and attentive waiter, Chris. Now the moment you all been waiting for, onto the food…
Starting us off, Chris, brought us the Crudo Hokkaido Scallops over top compressed apple and topped with a peck of black truffle, lime juice and a sliver of jalapeño ($14). The smoothness of the scallop melds well with the crispy crunch of the apple underneath. I highlight this dish, even if you’re not a fan of raw fish texture, because you can’t even tell. And if you are a fan, this dish is just a delight.
Sugarcane has wonderful options if you are looking for a light and healthy experience. Besides the deep list of crudos there is sashimi, salads and grilled meat options to keep our Miami Winter bods in check.
Next came the exquisite Carrot Soup ($10). A complex, multi layered soup composed of red curry, coconut milk, almonds and chili oil, I would call it a “healthy” dessert like soup. A creamy, delicious blend melts in you mouth with crushed peanuts delivering a crunchy added texture. I highly recommend this gorgeous dish.
A trifecta of breakfast and a real brunch meal came with the Duck & Waffle, crispy leg confit, duck fried egg on top of a Belgium waffle, with mustard maple ($19). The duck, egg, waffle and syrup worked in tandem to create some happy dances at the table.
One of two very popular choices at Sugarcane Miami is the Goat Cheese Croquettes with Membrillo Marmalade ($9) is a twist on the classic Miami snack. The other is the vaunted Bacon Wrapped Dates with Linguica and Manchego ($13). Anything wrapped in bacon is stellar and these date balls takes cuisine to a new level. Probably the best bite we had all day and in Miami in a very long time. Inside the date is a sausage and cheese pâté and paired with a watercress salad with fennel and light mustard dressing. These balls will elevate your palate!
Another superb pick is the Foie Gras Fried Rice with shredded duck, coriander, recap manis ($23). The Foie gras was encapsulated in its own fine crisp shell and blends prolifically with the rice, duck and egg. The rice merits Asian accolades with its deep spices and a hint of sweet soy sauce.
We just had to try the Canvas special, which for February is a Florida Snapper, galangal & jalapeño curry ($18). A flavorful spiced meal served over yellow rice and enough to feed the whole table. The Canvas special is their new charitable initiative. Each month a guest chef is invited to create a unique inspiring dish using a bowl as a “blank canvas.” A portion of the proceeds from each order of this dish is donated to No Kids Hungry to spread awareness for and help fight childhood hunger in America. February’s featured guest chef is Clay Conley.
Finally, even with full stomachs, dessert(s) could not be passed up. We ordered two desserts. The first was Torrejas with maple caramelized apples ($10). A version of french toast, topped with baked apples, smothered with cinnamon maple butter and served with cinnamon ice cream on top of graham cracker crumbs. Another Sugarcane Miami winner.
Second, was the Coquito Crème Brûlée with passion fruit curd, and coconut-sesame crisp ($10). My french favorite dessert. The creamy sweet brûlée cream is like a water underneath frozen pond, a crystal sheet of sugar glass glazed on top. And on top of that like ice skaters are a dollop of passion fruit curds and their hockey puck coconut crisps. Get a spoonful of all three in one bite and your taste buds will feel woken up like a breath of chilly fresh air on hitting your face.
Sugarcane Miami is beyond splendid. The cuisine was flawless, the prices are affordable, the ambiance is inviting and the waitstaff is on point. We did not even have a chance to delve into their very impressive cocktail menu, but it is unique, reasonable and so enticing. Miami has really emerged as a fantastic dining destination and we feel that Sugarcane Raw Bar and Grill is definitely one of the best Miami has to offer.