By Linda Bladholm
Cheap restaurants in Miami, here’s Part 1 in a series by Linda Bladholm who is a columnist for the Miami Herald on the topic. Find exciting picks, from rotisserie chicken and Indian to raw juice bar/Vegan, bakery and more. All are family run, no big chains, where the emphasis is on home made food in no frills to smart spaces. Price point is $20 or less with no alcohol.
Find French-style organic rotisserie chicken in a funky former car wash in Little Haiti at Sixty 10. When star chef Marcus Samuelsson filmed his No Passport Necessary segment in Miami he focused on Haitian culture and in one scene viewers could see Sixty in the background. After it aired, it was packed. Sit at a picnic table surrounded by graffiti. Dip wings in spicy BBQ sauce, jalapeno pineapple jam, pikliz (spicy slaw) or honey mustard. I also like the curry chicken salad with celery, raisins and walnuts and tabbouleh made with couscous and minced mint.
The signature here is a quarter chicken with roasted fingerling potatoes and with chicken au jus. Before being placed on the revolving spit the birds are rubbed in a mixture of Himalayan pink salt, five kinds of ground peppercorns, rosemary, thyme, onion powder and paprika, a recipe one partner got from a street vendor in Montreal who had lines around the block. There’s also half and whole free range chickens and jerk chicken kebabs. Sides include sautéed Brussels sprouts and ratatouille. A complex called Magic City is breaking ground across the street with technology, wellness, arts and entertainment. Guess where everyone will be eating? Sixty 10 is located at 6010 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami, 786-502-8006, open daily 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
There’s no signage above Black Sheep in North Bay Village just a lumpy sheep silhouette with with curly yellow neon outlining the bar-café. I like the quirky shoebox-size space with seating at the bar, three high tops and a couch in front with a low communal table. Regulars come for the eclectic comfort fare and all day breakfast. Beer and wine are served with a few sake mocktails. In the morning I get egg-in-a-hole with potatoes, bacon, sausage and avocado. Reuben croquettes are hard to resist bringing six fried potato and corned beef puffs topped with sauerkraut and Russian dressing. My dining companion R gets the Greek fries with crumbled feta and roasted garlic saffron aioli for dipping.
The picada criolla is Argentine barbecue with grilled chunks of beef, chicken sausage, morcilla (blood sausage), sweetbreads, a chicken empanada and cheese quesadilla with chimichurri sauce. I also like the Prince Edward Island mussels steamed in red Thai coconut curry broth with a kick. Duck confit tacos come three to an order with spicy mayo, shredded cabbage and hoisin sauce. My favorite dish is the potato gnocchi. The light pillows are stuffed with ricotta in a creamy parsley and cilantro sauce with meaty oyster mushrooms garnished with toasted pistachios for crunch. Find the black sheep of North Bay Village at 1884 79th Street Causeway, 786-204-1295, open 9 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. Be sure to get the butterscotch pot de crème as a sweet ending here.
To dine like a desi I head to Andaz Indian Restaurant in a former nightclub. The name means “personal style” and has a personality with white on white disco décor and outdoor dining on Astroturf. I start with potato and pea samosas with tamarind chutney or spicy crab cakes with cilantro and chile mayo. The must try cocktail is the Old Monk mule shaken with an award-winning dark rum distilled in India. Entrees are divided into tandoori, biryani, vegetarian and curries with a choice of protein. My must have is the luscious south Indian coconut curry with shrimp enhanced with aromatic curry leaves and mustard seeds.
Biryani comes with a choice of meats, shrimp or vegetables marinated in yogurt, layered with basmati rice then slow steamed until every grain expands and fluffs. Plant mains include dal tadka with stewed yellow lentils tempered with cumin seeds and mustard seeds. From the clay oven come lamb chops, chicken tikka pieces and blistered shrimp. Accompany your feast with pepper jack cheese stuffed naan. On Sundays I come for the masala dosa, a crispy crepe filled with spiced potatoes. I end with saffron ice cream infused with cardamom garnished. Find Andaz Indian Restaurant at 1435 Alton Road, Miami Beach, 305-397-8846. Open Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday noon-10 p.m., Friday and Saturday noon-11 p.m.
Jelly is small neighborhood bakery and café and is my go-to for cachapas. Check the glass cases to see what is on offer from guava and cheese pastelitos to bombolone Italian-style donuts stuffed with apple jam. The owners are all Venezuelan so you can also get snacks from that country along with fresh squeezed juices and coffees. For breakfast I crave the pancake slider. It is two buttermilk pancakes sandwiched with scrambled eggs and bacon with syrup. Perico (parrot beak) is scrambled eggs with tomatoes, onions and green peppers with Cuban toast and fries. I also like the English muffin with melted brie, fried egg, bacon and baby spinach.
There are also burgers and sandwiches. The chickchopan has grilled chicken, tomato, lettuce and potato sticks. Lechon is roasted pulled pork with onions. The jelly sandwich is a Cuban on sweet egg bread with additions of ham croquettes and potato sticks. Cachapas meaning “crumpets” are Venezuelan pancakes made from freshly ground corn cooked on a griddle and folded over a thick slab of queso de mano or handmade mozzarella-like cheese. It is then sprinkled with grated hard cheese and a generous amount of slightly tangy crema. Jelly Bakery is located at 17010 West Dixie Highway, North Miami Beach, 305-760-2149 and 305-627-3725. Open Monday-Saturday 6 a.m.-9 p.m., Sunday 7 a.m.-5 p.m.
I head to Raw Republic Micro Juicery to get a quick fix of vegan mostly raw fare in a small space with a counter and stools. Cold pressed juices include crazy carrot with pineapple, orange and ginger and purple paradise blending acai, strawberry, pineapple, orange and chia seeds. I favor the 8 wonder blending green apple, cucumber, kale, spinach, Swiss chard, parsley, ginger and lemon. The magenta-tinted pretty in pink bowl is a dragon fruit smoothie blended with coconut water and banana. The Hawaiian punch is a puree of acai pulp, berries, banana, almond milk and pineapple.
There’s also prepackaged fare. Grab a curry guru patty made with quinoa and veggies. The mixture is also rolled up in nori as “sushi”. The fiesta burger is formed from brown rice, walnuts and oat flour with sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms and onion. Zucchini noodles come in marinara sauce infused with nutrient packed drumstick leaf powder with nut and seed “meat balls” and cashew-hemp “parmesan”. Kelp noodles are tossed in peanut dressing for pad Thai. My weakness are the almond butter cups topped with a fudgy layer of cacao. Find Raw Republic at 20804 Biscayne Boulevard, Aventura, 305-705-4226, open Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m.-7 p.m., a sister location is at 14871 Biscayne Boulevard in Biscayne Commons, 305-957-5226.