The other Sunday I was really craving a good breakfast/brunch place and coincidentally one of my friends texted me asking “did you ever find a good brunch spot in Miami?”. My friend knows that it is one of my most passionate pursuits in (Miami) life! Such describes the search for many people used to the plethora of brunch options in many other cities and looking for similar here. Miami definitely has many solid breakfast and brunch places (Deli Lane Cafe, the Federal, Morgan’s, and more), but with it’s own flavor and atmosphere. I keep searching for a homey place that has multiple options for mouth-salivating-crazy-combination-of-ingredients-goodness but I think I am too particular and always trying to find a place straight off 23rd Ave or the Eastside in Portland (where are you Besaw’s of Miami?!). Instead I have come to like the places that do breakfast/brunch with their Miami style, even if no matter the space brunch is not the social event of the weekend it is in Portland!
For some reason in craving breakfast/brunch I also was simultaneously craving a buffet (perhaps because it was almost noon and I hadn’t eaten!). There are a number of breakfast buffets in Brickell (like Perricone’s) and the Grove, but that seemed a bit far at the time. A couple Google searches didn’t yield much beyond Yelp listings that seemed a bit unclear on what places actually had a buffet. I did eventually find Essensia on 30th and Collins and it looked like a restaurant that used a lot of fresh, quality ingredients from gardens and farms around Miami (despite fitting very appropriately with the restaurant “fresh” and “quality” are definitely on my list of most used words in my blog posts. Along with “definitely”). Essesnsia had a breakfast buffet of fruit and berries, cereal, meats and cheese, bagels, house baked pastries and breads, eggs, bacon and sausage, potatoes, and made to order omelets and waffles, along with different juices, coffees, and teas. Mmm I’m salivating thinking about it! Plus what else could you ask for!
In taking some time to try and figure out from the website how late brunch went (as it was almost noon) my mind started to wander. It fell on a conversation the previous weekend with a friend/co-worker who went to a buffet, called POC, in Coral Gables that had breakfast food, steaks and meats, sushi, and much more. Despite just having sushi Friday night (check out the blog post for Sushi Siam here) the thought of unlimited sushi was quite attention-grabbing (since my friend had said it was all good food!). Now after spending time trying to find a breakfast buffet closer to home because we thought Brickell was too far we now were considering going all the way to the Gables for this place!! Well unlimited sushi won out and we got in the car to drive down south! But I know I will be checking out Essenssia very soon!
POC is set inside a building along Ponce de Leon a bit hidden if you’re not looking for it or looking closely as you drive by. We were seated and our waiter told us about the unlimited mimosa or Bloody Mary special for an additional $7. Of course I already knew this from my other friend who went the weekend before and was all over those mimosas! We then were left to pick from the many different options. We passed the chocolate fountain and started on the Chinese entree section since sushi looked a little crowded. Of course with the soy and breading a lot of the Chinese dishes are off limits gluten-freewise, but there were a couple American dishes to grab from like potato skins and french fries. In the middle was a large salad bar with a variety of lettuce salads, pasta salads, and even a tomato burrata salad.
The sushi line cleared out pretty quick so I went to get a second plate with sushi. They had a lot of different kind of rolls including a lot of standard ones like spicy tuna, JB roll, California roll, etc. They also had a lot of specialty ones named after cities like the Las Vegas roll (unagi, cream cheese, salmon), San Francisco roll (crab and avocado) and more. I kept my sushi selection limited given the amount of rolls with tempura flakes on them and sauces I wasn’t sure about. The standard rolls I did have like the California and JB rolls were all solid. They weren’t incredible or anything, but certainly fresh enough and good enough given that it was a buffet at a good price.
In addition to the sushi and stations already mentioned there was a meat carving station with different steaks, chicken, and sausages, as well as a station for custom omelets and pancakes/waffles. My friend got a custom omelet, plus sushi and some of the Chinese dishes. The churrasco and sausage were some of my favorite- both very juicy and flavorful!
I think we did surprisingly well pacing ourselves given multiple plates of food. We both seemed to take some small breaks after plates and we seemed to postpone the inevitable stuffedness a little bit. In the meanwhile our waiter refilled our mimosas pretty much any time there weren’t completely full (Sunday Funday right!).
After a few plates of the sushi, American dishes, and the carved meats, plus one plate of salad (have to do something healthy right?!) for me we headed for dessert. As mentioned before there is a chocolate fountain. There were strawberries and marshmallows to dip in it. I was however a bit worried about cross contamination from some of the other desserts nearby that someone might have dipped in it so I passed. I did get a bowl of ice cream, some creme brulee, and some chocolate mousse. The ice cream had the standard chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry flavors plus cookies and cream and even a green tea flavor. The ice cream was really good and creamy and “cleansed the pallet” enough for me to go get the creme brulee and chocolate mousse- both of which were good. Besides that there were different cakes, cookies, and things like tiramisu for the gluten-eaters.
We finished off the experience with a work around Coral Gables and Miracle Mile attempting to burn off all those calories and have our stomachs feel at least less than 130% full before getting into the car.
All in all it was a solid buffet experience well worth the price for both food ($16 for brunch) and drinks ($7 for unlimited mimosas). The quality is what you’d expect from an “upscale” buffet and the sushi wasn’t bad at all! If you’re looking for a place to sit, gorge out, and enjoy then POC is a place to check out!
POC American Fusion Buffet and Sushi- 2121 Ponce de Leon Blvd Coral Gables, FL (also a location in Weston)