Way overdue on several posts but this is gonna be a good one for gluten-frees! The other weekend it was my friend’s birthday and we went to brunch at Yardbird. She had really been wanting to try it out for awhile and our other friend said that their roasted pecan pancakes were to die for so it had been pumped up for awhile beforehand!
I had been to Yardbird once for dinner and liked it, but only found a few gluten-free items to chose from by scanning the menu (Southern food tends to have a lot of gluten-y food in general). So I kind of wrote it off. But oh how wrong I was! This time I asked if they could point out a things that are gluten-free and they pulled out an entire menu of sorts! It was the original menu with things crossed out and comments on dishes on how to make them gluten-free (as well as dairy free for those with that allergy). Probably most exciting of all was that they could make gluten-free fried chicken!
My friends started with pumpkin beignets (to quote from the movie Morning Glory- “what the rabble call doughnuts”). They came in a dish with a strawberry preserve layer on the bottom. My friends were visibly in bliss from eating them and said they tasted like “Christmas in their mouths” and then revised it to “fall in their mouths” since it was pumpkin. Needless to say they come very recommended.
The gluten-free fried chicken takes a little while to make and since Yardbird is a comfort/family style restaurant the food comes out whenever it’s ready and to be shared. Unfortunately the things that came out first (such as the beignets) weren’t something that could be shared with me but I knew I’d be happy when my food arrived. That didn’t cut the anticipation while waiting (or my growing stomach) but ah well. One of my friends got the BLT Benedict cast iron casserole, which was buttermilk biscuits, soft-poached eggs, house made bacon, tomato, and Hallandais sauce. My friend gave it rave reviews and was cleaning out the dish to get everything (very similar to what they all did with the beignet dish as well).
My two other friends both got the pecan toasted French toast. It comes with blackberries and bacon on top and apple butter and maple syrup on the side. Unfortunately it wasn’t the same toasted pecans my friend had gotten before on pancakes and that she said they’re to-die-for, but the French toast was still really delicious they said.
The first dish that I could have was a shared one and was the house cut fries. They came with some cayenne sprinkled on top and little bits of bacon on them. It also came with a side of buttermilk ranch dressing on the side. The whole combination looked pretty awesome and tasted accordingly said my friends. Unfortunately the gluten-free menu said the ranch wasn’t gluten-free so I had to settle for just the fries themselves. I was ravenous at the time so I really liked them and know I would have even if I hadn’t been so hungry.
I had picked the gluten-free fried chicken for my meal, because I obviously couldn’t pass that up. However I was still very much in the brunch mood so I also got a side of bacon. Now Yardbird seems to be pretty serious about it’s bacon and it has several types. One is the pieces of what I’ll call standard bacon that came on the fries. There then was the very long and crispy piece that came as a garnish in my friend’s Bloody Mary (see the pic below). There then was the more-unique kind of bacon that came as the dish and it’s a bit hard to describe. It was super crispy but still tender. It kind of reminded me of pork belly in it’s texture (while being eaten although a bit crispier) and taste. The appearance though made it look like…. little fried pieces of something and I’m reaching here for an appropriate description. I’ll let the pic speak for itself but it still was delicious!
For a grand finale of sorts my gluten-free fried chicken came out! The breading was really tasty and stuck on pretty well to the chicken (I’ve found a lot of gluten-free breading comes off easily in other dishes). The chicken inside was very juicy and tender. It was delicious and also just a great thing to try and start to you know experience different types of food I can’t usually have.
Not only does Yardbird have food to rave about, but it has a really cool atmosphere. We had a four-person table to ourselves but a lot of tables are quite bigger and you usually share with other parties. It along with the country/family style dining contributes to a nice community vibe (sometimes honestly lacking in Miami). It was super busy and had quite the brunch “buzz” I’m used to from growing up in Portland. The decor is somewhat hip and trendy, but also Southern homey.
Certainly if you’re gluten-free you should check out Yardbird in South Beach and for all others if you’re looking for a popular and hip restaurant in Miami and/or Southern comfort food you should check it out for sure! The “South” in South Beach doesn’t usually conjure the true South to mind, but Yardbird certainly seems to present a great option in Miami (disclaimer: not a Southerner here).
UPDATE: I went the other night with some friends who were in town (after previously living in Miami) and Yardbird did not disappoint! They’ve made their gluten-free menu more official (no more crossed off regular menus). When the waiter saw I had a gluten-free menu he asked how serious my allergy was. He then said that the fried chicken is fried in the same oil as the regular chicken… That was kind of a bummer, although I didn’t remember having a reaction when I had the chicken before. Better to be safe than sorry though and I appreciate his attention to detail. I was also more than satisfied with the alternative- the St. Louis style pork ribs. I also got some of the house cut fries with buttermilk dipping sauce and bacon salt. DROOOL…. The house cut fries were definitely up to its description, but I was blown away by the ribs. They were some of the most tender and saucy ribs I’ve ever had and the sauce was tangy with a bit of a kick. I’m still thinking about them now… Even with the disappointment over the fried chicken being made in a common fryer I will always be back to Yardbird as an old favorite and know I will probably often end up with the ribs!! Check out some of the added food porn below!
Yardbird Southern Table and Bar- 1600 Lenox Ave Miami Beach, FL