This week I had a couple luncheons for work at the Verde Restaurant at PAMM (Perez Art Museum Miami). I didn’t think too much about it beforehand (partially from being really busy preparing for them), but I should have been super excited to check out Verde. The first reason is that I’ve become pretty obsessed with PAMM. Even driving through the parking garage with peaks at the sparkling blue water of Biscayne Bay makes me vocally express my love for the space. It only gets better as you walk up the stairs and see the hanging gardens high above and the vistas of palm trees, the Bay, and the cruise ships from the back “porch” (complete with deck chairs). The building is as much a work of art as what it has inside.
I’m talking a lot about the museum, but what makes Verde so awesome is that it’s very much a part of the museum. Inside it’s a somewhat small cafe space, but it’s light, sleek, and modern with big windows looking out onto the patio (the best part). When you include the outside seating (something I really want to try next time) it becomes a pretty good size. It definitely feels integrated into the incredible space that is PAMM.
The second thing Verde had going for it, before I even visited, was that it’s a Stephen Starr restaurant. He’s a restaurateur from Philadelphia, who has assembled quite the delicious food empire. I became a huge fan the two summers I worked in Philly. He also has restaurants in New York City, New Jersey, D.C., and South Florida. The food, themes, styles, decor, etc. of the restaurants really run the gamut, which is another reason his work is really impressive. Besides Verde, Stephen Starr’s other South Florida restaurants are Makato (in the Bal Harbour Shops) and Steak 954 in Fort Lauderdale. Soon he will be opening Ted’s in the Young Arts Building (old Bacardi Headquarters) on Biscayne.
Verde is supposed to be fresh and casual and use local and seasonal ingredients. For the luncheon there was a choice of chicken under a brick or a vegetable sandwich for the entree. I asked if the chicken was gluten-free (it was) and I went for that. We also started with some family-style salads and margherita pizza for the group. Unfortunately I couldn’t have the pizza, because it looked really delicious (thin-crust and and what looked like some really gooey, rich cheese), but I enjoyed the salad. It was light and fresh and a good mix of lettuce with the other veggies (might seem like a simple comment, but as a slightly picky eater I don’t like a high ratio of veggies to lettuce).
The chicken was super crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. From looks I was almost worried it was breaded, but I had asked explicitly about breading (waitress said it wasn’t) and the crispiness just came from the skin. The chicken didn’t actually come with or under a brick (some sort of food in a brick shape was what I thought might come with it), but it did come with some delicious potatoes. Someone commented they were the best potatoes they’ve ever had. I know that chicken isn’t as complicated as cooking steak, but this chicken was perfectly cooked. I also usually am not a craver for chicken (while I am for steak), but this chicken is crave worthy.
The luncheon ended with some doughnuts (beignets might be more appropriate) and chocolate and caramel dipping sauce. Of course not something I could personally try, but many of the guests (not knowing my allergy) raved about them and said I absolutely had to try them. There were a number left over that I brought back to the office. Not only were they gone in a few minutes once the word spread, but each first bite was accompanied with “oh my god”s and eye closings.
I’m pretty sure I’d be happy after any visit to Verde just because of the space and PAMM, but going off my first meal I think the food makes each visit a winner as well. Next time the burger (during lunch) or the steak (during dinner) are going to be at the top of my list to try. I recommend PAMM to anyone (local or visitor) and Verde as a meal afterwards now gets the recommendation as well! Fresh, easy, and casual after a great art experience. For fans of Stephen Starr’s restaurant it’s a must-see.
Unfortunately no pictures of the food (didn’t feel appropriate being “that guy” at a work event), but check out the shot from the patio of PAMM.
Verde- 1103 Biscayne Blvd. Miami, FL