Welcome to new MIAbites Contributor, Manuela Meija, who is a local passionate food lover who posts on Instagram as @MiamiEatz.
When I heard that The Sarsaparilla Club in The Shelborne Hotel was featuring a Chef’s Tasting Menu with ten dishes, TEN DISHES, for $39, I screamed. Actually screamed. Let’s just say I’m not the favorite at my office this week...
Earlier this month, The Sarsaparilla Club, known for its American dim sum concept, launched its Chef’s Tasting Menu offering a taste of some of the restaurant's most-loved dishes. It’s split into three courses with three dishes each and a dessert to finish. Chef Jeff McInnis describes it as the restaurant’s own “greatest hits album,” so I had to check it out.
Chefs Janine Booth and McInnis combine fresh ingredients with Asian-inspired flavors to create a very creative and interactive experience as dishes are presented and served “a la carte”, literally from a cart.
“Because of my past restaurants, upbringing and repertoire we get typecast as having southern food...although there is a fried chicken on the menu that is extremely Southeast Asian inspired in flavor, this is our opportunity to really show our range in the kitchen.” Mc Innis explains.
I suggest you come hungry for the tasting menu because you’re in for a long, delicious dinner. Our first course rolled up to the table in a dim sum cart. The Carrot & Beet tartare was prepared tableside and presented beautifully.
The Drunken Deviled Eggs were a tasty two-bite treat and the crunch of the root chip gave it a unique texture.
The standout dish for me was the Tomato Toast. I get it, toast sounds boring but THIS. This was anything but. The crispy olive oil toast was topped with house made ricotta, heirloom tomatoes, basil and... wait for it…tomato sorbet. The sorbet was so different yet SO good. It added a bit of sweetness and smooth texture that went great with the crispy toast. It was one of my favorites of the night.
The second course came shortly after and included Pork Belly Bacon Steamed Buns, Braised Short Rib Dumplings and Corn 4 Ways. Who knew you could incorporate corn into one dish in so many ways? There was the grilled sweetcorn, cornbread butter (which could probably taste good on a shoe), cornbread crumbs and lemon popcorn. My only complaint: it wasn’t bottomless and I could have enjoyed endless amounts.
The third course features a taste of the Large Plates section on the menu. I wish more restaurants offered a taste of their larger plates. I love being able to try a lot of different small plates rather than stuff my face with just one. I went into this course most excited for the Green Curry Fried Chicken and left most impressed by the Short Rib Meat Loaf. The meat loaf felt like a warm hug with its tender short rib, jasmine rice, pickled chilies and coconut cream. I could taste fall in the Spiced Honey Carrots and Farro Salad. The warm spices, farro and honey made for a cozy seasonal dish that even McInnis says is “very fall.”
The dessert was a such a sweet finish. Sarsaparilla Chocolate Cake topped with Chocolate Ganache rolled up to our table where the server dropped rainbow chips over it and poured delicious, honey butter glaze over it as we watched.
It’s safe to say I rolled out of there with an almost-busted pant button and a very satisfied tummy/wallet. At only $39 for ten of their best dishes, it’s a steal. I highly suggest you check it out if you have a love for unique combinations, beautiful presentations and a stomach to be filled.
1 18th St, Miami Beach, FL 33139
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