Yardbird Southern Table & Bar

Technically, Miami is in the South but I feel like I’m more likely to find stone crab claws and ceviches over grits and green tomatoes. Living abroad most of my life, I always had a stereotypical idea of what Southern food would be like, long baby back ribs drenched in BBQ sauce with a side of coleslaw, or Bubba Gump Shrimp. I wasn’t too far along, but in my mind it was much more exaggerated.

At Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, Chef Jeff McInnis (formerly of Top Chef and Gigi’s in Midtown) merges Southern cooking with the city’s melting pot sensibilities. Yes, there are still the fried chicken and waffles. 

The décor, music, and overall ambiance are synchronized with the style of food to enhance the meals like a secret seasoning. The wood-beam ceiling, reclaimed wood walls from a farm in North Carolina, white reclaimed-brick walls, butcher-block tables, Mason-jar lamps, and other recaptured rural appointments merge into a comfortable farmhouse aesthetic antithetical to glitzy South Beach.

The American blues tunes that saturate the air are likewise a refreshing change of pace from the Miami restaurant norm of notoriously awful music. Bottles of bourbon line a shelf above the bar (around 50 at $7 to $35, plus Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve, aged 23 years, for $78 or $135).); an open kitchen occupies the longer stretch of wall.

Sawbuck Chardonnay from California and Milk-bottled Water

Don’t forget to try the famous Blackberry Bourbon Lemonade (fresh-pressed Lemon juice, Benchmark Bourbon, Organic Blackberry and Cardamon topped with sparkling wine)

Simple decorated walls

And a beautiful outdoor setting

Yardbird is open all day from 12 with a Brunch menu on the weekend and a Lunch then Dinner menu during the week. McInnis and chef de cuisine Phillip Bryant split the menu between 11 “small shares” and seven “big shares.” so there is a wide selection to choose from…

What was ordered…

Lightly Smoked Pulled Chicken with fresh crisp Seckel pear, house made raisins, field greens, smoked pecans Vidalia onion, country bread crouton, Texas olive oil and dark meat chicken – addictive

Fried Green Tomato BLT with house made cured bacon, crispy iceberg lettuce, fried green tomatoes and cherry tomato jam. Probably the best (and only) fried green tomato I have ever had. I thought the patty was a potato and thought wow, that’s a shame, then thought hey, wait the waiter mixed up my order and ordered me something else…no, it was tomato all along, green tomato, fried green tomato..Mmmm
Check out that bacon.
The best sandwich I have ever had. Hands down. It’s salty from the bacon, sweet from the tomato and the cherry tomato jam and the bread just toasted right. 

Slow Braised Short Rib Sandwich with thick tomato, gooey cheese, house made tomato jam and grilled country bread

Heaven…

Blue Plate Special – Llewellyn’s Fine Fried Chicken with two pieces of “27 hour” Bell and Evans fried chicken,citrus pepper watermelon and house made buttermilk biscuit. Awesome fried chicken batter, and those biscuits! The house specialty…

Shrimp N’ Grits with Florida shrimp, crisp Edwards VA ham, Adluh SC stone grits

The dinner menu is much more extensive featuring dishes like Brunswick Stew (with alligator sausage, smoked rabbit, butter beans, pickled okra and preserved lemon) or the much-loved Sweet Tea brined Southern Ribs (tender slow-cooked ribs smothered in house made BBQ sauce, pickled chilies and Southern Slaw) and finally the Elvis Ribeye (Florida wagyu beef, bone marrow butter, whipped garlic mash, and sautéed greens). Definitely, coming back on my next visit!

An ice coffee to end the meal (no more room for dessert) – a bit on the milky side though.

The food is hot but definitely on the heavy side (we are eating Southern food – except for the slow braised rib sandwich) but I most enjoyed the freshness of the fruits and vegetables like the cubes of watermelon that were tossed in salt and mint and the plain old grilled pumpkin with spiced maple pecan drizzle. 

Since its’ opening last fall, the place has been slammed. Want to eat a humongous, Cheesecake Factory-size meal? Order lots of food. Watching your weight and.or wallet. Two or three plates will do. Yardbird is affordable but difficult so try to get a reservation (if you can).

Yardbird Southern Table & Bar
Address: 1600 Lenox Ave, Miami Beach 33139
Tel: 305-538-5220
Website: http://www.runchickenrun.com

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