Yardbird

1600 Lenox Ave. Miami Beach, FL 33139 • (305) 538-5220 runchickenrun.com

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This place makes me happy. Just one toe through the front door and I knew we were dancing. Great contemporary, rustic Southern décor. Awesome music, like Aretha Franklin’s “The Weight,” pumping out of the speakers. And when it came to service, textbook Southern hospitality.

Every slurp, sip, gulp and bite was a crowd-pleaser and judging from the menu, there’s more where that came from. Fortunately I live over 1000 miles away or I’d be getting my arteries bilged about every other week.

Served in mason jars, the cocktails are as potent and flavorful as they are irresistibly charming. I recommend both the Blackberry Bourbon Lemonade, if you want something more refreshing, or the Bloody Mary, if want something spicy… and packed with goodies (like okra, a pickled green bean, a cornichon stuffed olive and a crispy strip of bacon, because how could you not?).

As a starter we shared the fried green tomato BLT with pork belly (pictured), tomato jam and a homemade pimento cheese. It’s got a little something for everyone. The refreshing acidity of the tomatoes. The savory decadence of the pork. The spice of the jam and cheese. I highly recommend next to the kale salad.

The kale salad being my wife’s idea to be fair. It’s made with cheddar, apple, golden raisins, red onion and cornbread croutons. Definitely one to add to the Ultimate Salad list, I mean c’mon- corn bread croutons!

And I had the eggs benny. Two poached eggs served in a skillet, casserole style, along with a buttermilk biscuit crumble, cured bacon, and cheese grits I believe – just awesome!

Thankfully we were too full to take the waiter up on his suggestion for a maple glazed bacon donut, otherwise I think we’d still be trying to crawl out from under the table.

I’ll tell you what though, next time I’m in Miami, this place is at the top of my list. And that donut is going down… into my belly (to be read in a thick Scottish, Fat Bastard accent).

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The Ultimate Fried Chicken

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ABC Kitchen – New York, NY

The South has nothing on this bird (pictured). Prepared in such a way that seems more derivative of fish and chips, the chicken winds up coming out like a juicy, poultry breaded bag of bliss. The other thing that winds up happening is you make everyone else at the table jealous they didn’t order the chicken.

 

Maharlika – New York, NY

Prior to Maharlika I really didn’t get the whole chicken and waffles thing. And yes, I tried it, so don’t get all Green Eggs and Ham on me. And what’s weird about it is that I love both dishes independently, just not together. Well, maybe that’s because no one else was doing it right. So leave it to a Filipino restaurant to show me how Southern cooking is supposed to be. Go figure. Gotta love New York though. So what’s so great about ‘em? I’m not entirely sure to be honest. I mean the fact that the waffles are purple is aesthetically unique, but I doubt that’s the reason. Moistness is, however a huge part of it. The waffle wasn’t dry, which is my usual gripe with this dish. The other plus was sweetness, again, a miss with so many other posers. I mean on a philosophical level, isn’t the purpose of this dish the contrast of savory and sweet? Well, Maharlika gets it. And now so do I.