It Takes a Village: Vagabond Village opens at the Vagabond Hotel
CLOSED One of our favorite renovation projects in Miami has been The Vagabond Hotel. Built in the 1950’s The Vagabond on 73rd and Biscayne was one of the more than a dozen mid-century modern motels that lined Biscayne Blvd. Now, the Vagabond is home to Vagabond Village, a F&B and lifestyle concept that is the brainchild of Amir Ben Zion of Bond St, Miss Yip, Bardot and Gigi.
MIAbites covered the original pre-opening of The Vagabond and its restaurant back in 2014 (https://www.miabites.com/home/2014/10/17/miami-food-blog-the-vagabond-hotel-mimo-restaurant-bar-cocktails?rq=vagabond), when the reimagined and very hip Vagabond Hotel, developed by top Miami developer, Avra Jain, led the way for the resurgence of the Upper East Side or MiMo area.
A couple of restaurants later, Vagabond Village has arrived. The Village consists of the very cool poolside bar and lounge area, Vagabond Sushi & Market, in the completely redesigned main restaurant and Brigitte, a retro feeling pool hall for late night hanging out.
We stopped in to Vagabond Sushi this past week and were impressed with the vision and redesign Amir Ben Zion has created for the special space. A cozier more intimate restaurant with separate seating areas feels more like a lounge than a full-service restaurant. The bar in center also has plenty of seating and a long banquette. Outdoor seating on the patio is breezy and pleasant. A sushi bar by the open kitchen allows one to watch the chefs in action.
In speaking with Avra, we learned that Amir’s vision included creating an ambiance that both locals and visitors could enjoy, be it a cocktail at the poolside bar, affordable and fresh sushi at the restaurant, the pool hall or the front Take Out Counter and market for late night orders and snacks.
The menu features Sushi and Sashimi and rolls, but it is the starters that are not to be overlooked, as one could easily make a meal out of a number of them. I mentioned to Avra, that it felt like a Japanese Izakaya, which is Japanese style pub where small plates are designed to be enjoyed with cocktails and sake. There are over 25 options under the Start Small and Share section. And the extensive sake list takes up half of the cocktail and drink menu.
We selected to start with, the Japanese Eggplant in Mustard Miso, the Tempura Shishito peppers with Hoisin dipping sauce, the Crispy Cauliflower, fresh Hamachi Serrano and the Duck Foie Gras Fried Rice. It was a nice assortment of flavors and textures, mixing the crispy with the spicy with the decadent fried rice. One note, on the tempura shishito peppers, I might have preferred a lighter dipping sauce than the hoisin.
The Duck Foie Gras Fried Rice deserves its own mention, as it is served tableside in a Hot Pot with fried egg on top. The server gently broke the egg and stirred the mixture together before serving. Very flavorful with pieces of foie gras throughout, it was a special dish meant to be shared… yes, shared!
Always in search of fresh and reasonably priced sushi, we were very pleased with the assortment of a la carte options mostly priced at $4-5 a piece. A Sashimi and Sushi sampler is available, and we selected the Sushi Combination which included 6 pieces of sushi and Chef’s Choice of a roll. The combo included tuna, salmon, fluke, hamachi and shrimp and a “surprise”, which in our case was a fresh and delicious Tasmanian Sea Trout. A Salmon roll was the “Chefs Choice”.
Most of the Maki were simple rolls, like Spicy Tuna, Rainbow and a Spicy Lobster, which is nice for a change to appreciate the freshness. The exception was The Futomaki Big Roll, which I plan to try next time and includes tamago, kanpyo, cucumber, shitake, spinach, ebi and eel.
We planned to pass on dessert, but Avra encouraged us to try the Torreja, Cuban Bread Pudding with maple, baked apples, cinnamon and a scoop of cinnamon ice cream. It was quite divine and a sweet way to end the meal.
Sip sake, enjoy fresh sushi or starters and shoot some pool at the Vagabond Village sooner rather than later..
7301 Biscayne Blvd.
786 332 4991