When I first read about a restaurant made up of shipping containers, I was a little skeptical and envisioned the tankers at the Port Of Miami with all those stacked up containers with names like Hanjin and Hapag-Lloyd.
But as I strolled into Charcoal in The Wynwood Yard, that vision completely disappeared as I saw instead a cozy outdoor café, a glass enclosed indoor dining room, open kitchen, and a cool bar all from reimagined shipping containers. Why, even the restrooms were housed in a sleek trailer.
Charcoal is the newest addition to the creative and entrepreneurial hub, The Wynwood Yard, and is it’s first sit down/ full-service restaurant. Adjacent to della's test kitchen with its own entrance on 29th St., Charcoal is helmed by Culinary Director Nicole Votano, and the menu offers many charcoal grilled fresh vegetables in addition to the highly anticipated charcoal-grilled meats and fish.
The Josper grill is the very hot star at Charcoal. Made in Spain, the Josper is an all enclosed grill that uses 100% charcoal and heats up to over 700 degrees resulting in every dish having a crispy outside and juicy inside. The chefs and staff in the kitchen are very proud of their pair of Jospers, so don’t hesitate to ask to see it in action. It is quite an impressive site.
The flavors, especially of the freshly picked vegetables, are really enhanced by this form of grilling. All produce is from local farms, and the menu includes a special condiment selection of fresh herbs and sauces, many created from Little River Cooperative garden out back. The meats and poultry are hormone and anti-biotic free and the fish and seafood are North Atlantic sourced.
We started our evening with a couple craft cocktails including the Paloma and a Bourbon, Bitters and Strawberry "off the menu" cocktail.
The menu changes based on availability of fresh ingredients and on our visit, we enjoyed Beets + Greens, a grilled dish of yellow and red beets, blistered red onion, local greens and toasted pecans, tossed with blue cheese (or you can choose goat cheese).
Feeling very “veggie-centric”, we also opted for Roots, a seasonal mix of root vegetables, which included carrots, turnips, shallots, and mushrooms all slightly blackened by the charcoal grilling.
For our mains, we knew that we had to order a charcoal grilled steak and selected the Hanger Steak, a perfectly grilled butcher’s cut that was crispy on the outside, juicy and cooked medium rare on the inside.
The whole Branzino was “Mediterranean” style with green olives, herbs and sea salt with a side “Container” salad of little gem lettuce, shaved raw vegetables, with an apple cider-dijon vinaigrette. Very flavorful with plenty of crispy skin and tender flaky fish inside.
A colorful "not to be missed" side dish of Egyptian Kosheri, Jasmine rice, Lentils, Faro, Vermicelli, Cinnamon, and Cardamom completed the meal.
Dessert was that final guilty pleasure and we couldn’t resist the homemade Strawberry Rhubarb pie, which came in its own pan, warm with a side of vanilla ice cream. We had no room left for the Bread Pudding, but have heard that is another delicious way to satisfy that sweet tooth.
And to bring back those seemingly long gone evenings of simple conversational dining, Charcoal offers #AnalogTuesdays. Make it thru dinner without using your phone and you score a free dessert. That Bread Pudding and Rhubarb Pie are waiting for you.
Charcoal is open Tuesday-Sunday for dinner and reservations through Resy are suggested.
82 NW 29th St.
786 646 2998