I may have taken off a few weeks this summer away from the blog, but that in no way represents the amazing eats we’ve enjoyed in Miami (and also while traveling in the Cayman Islands – stay tuned for that photo gallery!). I’m back in the saddle this week, so be on the lookout for photos and reviews of our tasty meals within the next several weeks.
Let’s first start with one of the quintessential summer foods, in which we’ve indulged quite a bit this summer: the All-American, classic hamburger. It’s safe to say my husband, Kenny, is a burger aficionado. If I had to guess, every time we go out to eat, there’s about a 50-65 percent chance he’s ordering a burger. (And no, that’s not a confirmed statistic. Like I’ve mentioned before … I don’t do math, people.)
It was actually his brilliant idea that I pull together a blog post honoring some of the best burgers we’ve eaten this summer in Miami. I do happen to think he’s quite a genius, and so … voilà! Here, find our top three gut-busting burgers from summer 2014.
B&B: Burger and Beer Joint
Multiple Locations: Brickell, South Beach, Pembroke, Orlando
Both Kenny and I agree that the “massive burgers with a gourmet twist” at this local franchise are consistently among the best we’ve had in Miami. We often walk to their location in Mary Brickell Village, but in honor of Kenny’s 30th birthday weekend in July, we visited their original location in South Beach.
There are many reasons we love Burger and Beer Joint: the friendly and attentive servers, the sizeable craft beer list, the fact the burgers are always cooked to our liking (a pink-centered medium). And speaking of the burgers, we enjoy having the choice of the “Build-your-own” option (ranging from $6-$8, plus add-ons) or a variety of pre-selected combos. These patties come with some rather out-of-the-ordinary toppings, such as guacamole, Cajun-spiced shrimp, walnut pesto, and even foie gras.
The appetizers also typically please our palates: I’m talking mini corn dogs and fried dill pickles. I highly suggest adding a side of spicy garlic mayo, and no trip to B&B would be complete without the duck fat fries. Trust me, they are salty, decadent and worth the extra $3.
I’m telling you, this place is solid. We’ve had several of the menu items, all of which we’ve had no complaints about. I’ve yet to try the adult shakes (I know, I know, shame on me!), but those are definitely on my to-do list for our next B&B visit.
3190 Commodore Plaza, Coconut Grove
Set in the bohemian environs of Miami’s Coconut Grove neighborhood, LoKal’s name says it all. There’s something to be said about a burger joint that uses all sustainable and locally sourced ingredients from Floridian farmers, dairies and brewers. (Note: No, I’m not a hipster, I just happen to support the homegrown guys.) According to their website, LoKal is “the first restaurant in Miami-Dade County to use 100% clean, renewable energy sourced from wind and solar power!” And there’s no doubt, this farm-to-plate approach shines through their menu.
All of the burgers at LoKal are made with free-range, Kobe-style beef from the Coward Ranch in Sumterville, Florida (that’s about 50 miles northwest of Orlando). On the hot summer day we stopped by LoKal for lunch, we ordered the Fidy-Fidy ($14, made with half ground beef and half ground bacon from Miami Smokers in Little Havana). The burger packed in pretty much everything you’d want: juicy patty, sturdy-yet-soft bun, meaty flavor. I will say though, the smoky essence from the bacon played more of a background role than we would have liked. The combo does, however, come with half French fries and half sweet potato fries, which were some of the best I’ve ever had – crispy, sweet, paired perfectly with the honey mustard sauce served alongside them.
LoKal’s atmosphere certainly represents the eclectic vibe of the Grove, with its intimate interior space, covered outdoor patio ideal for people watching, and colorful graffiti wall art. They even have a doggy menu with savory treats for your furry friends. Not to mention a locally focused menu of craft beer comprising the likes of Wynwood Brewing, Miami Brewing and M.I.A. Brewing.
Multiple Locations in Miami and Fort Lauderdale
Its name might resemble some sort of trendy Twitter or texting lingo, but this South Florida chain considers itself a neighborhood joint with “no red ropes and no attitude.” Consistent with each of its locations, the South Miami restaurant where we had lunch ties into a prohibition theme. The sizeable bar packs in plenty of TVs, making for a prime game-watching spot.
And while we are speaking of sports, we were delighted to see many of the burgers on ROK:BRGR’s menu are named after famous Miami Heat basketball players (ranging from $12-$16): the D Wade (chorizo, fried egg), Bosh Burger (Swiss, mushrooms, truffle oil), the Birdman Sandwich (grilled chicken, roasted corn and black bean salsa), and the King James (you might want to rethink that one!).
Our Bosh Burger ($14.50), which was a combo of chuck, brisket and short rib, was cooked to a perfect medium. The toasted brioche bun served as the ideal vessel to hold in the juicy patty as well. The side of truffle fries we ordered ($7), however, were another disappointing and soggy story. I never thought too much truffle oil could be a bad thing … but those fries didn’t do much for us at all. I might try the onion rings, loaded tots or poutine next time around. And yes, with the spectacular sports bar atmosphere in ROK:BRGR’s bar area, I see us returning again perhaps to enjoy a few craft beers while watching the Heat play next season.