This week I had to opportunity to travel from sunny Salt Lake City, to sunny (wait for it….) Miami! I swear that driving out of the rental car lot from the airport in my sporty white Jetta I felt just like Will Smith a.k.a “Welcome to Miami, Bienvenido a Miami” . Of course my primary reason for taking this trip was business, but if that was reason 1A, then reason 1B was obviously to try the local cuisine. I had to go somewhere at an awesome location, and somewhere that I just couldn’t get back home in Salt Lake. My first thought was I wanted to go somewhere in the South Beach area, and also that I wanted to try Cuban or Colombian food. Urbanspoon told me that there were over 500 Cuban restaurants in the area, and over 200 Colombian places, however after browsing all of the “Best of” lists I started to notice a place that seemed to appear on all of them. Yardbird Southern Table seemed like a cool name, and it was in South Beach. After checking into my hotel in Biscayne Bay I made my way over there.
I really liked the message on the paper wrap from my napkin. “Be Humble”. I noticed that driving down South Beach, there was lots of lights and music and energy, it wasn’t something I was accustomed to seeing in Salt Lake City. The only other place I could compare it to would be the Las Vegas Strip or perhaps downtown Disney at night. This place however, didn’t have all the neon lights and salsa music blaring in your face, but it did have that warm and inviting feel to it, that makes you feel right at home when you walk in the door. “Be Humble”. While I was sitting down waiting for my drink and food, I noticed a wall with a picture of a lady that was probably taken 30-40 years ago. It was slightly crooked, and after a few minutes, a man who I assumed was the manager came over, and straightened it out. He then stood back and looked at it for a few moments before walking off. This was the attention to detail that impressed me throughout the night with not only the service, but also the food at Yardbird.
Now I’m not a drinker, but I was listening to my waitress describe the drink menu to the table next to me. She specifically pointed out the blackberry bourbon lemonade, that had fresh fruit and a sparking wine inside. When someone brought it out to the table, I sheepishly asked if I could take a picture. I like how it was in a mason jar because something about mason jars reminds me of fruit from a tree. I’m sure it tasted fabulous.
I went with the chicken and biscuits tonight. My mouth and belly thanked me later, because it was awesome. I don’t know if they fried their chicken in gypsy tears, or if the meat was taken from the goose that lays the golden egg. The chicken was so tender and moist. Forget everything you ever learned from KFC. You don’t know chicken until you learn it properly from Yardbird. And the biscuits? They even had a drizzle of honey coming off the top and dripping over into the fried chicken goodness inside. These were so good I wanted to hug my waitress, but I didn’t want things to get weird, so I contained my excitement the best I could. When my waitress did come by to ask how my food was, apparently I had such a euphoric look on my face, that she understood that it was good without me even having to answer the question. The only thing that could of made the dish better was maybe a little Crosby, Stills, and Nash playing “Southern Cross” next to my table.
One key thing you should know about me, is that I was raised on macaroni and cheese. That was the only thing I knew how to make as a kid, and would always eat a box of Kraft Mac and Cheese after school growing up. Even in college I sold my plasma for $15 dollars twice a week to buy mac and cheese and root beer. You might understand how much I like mac and cheese if you ever were to see my lady humps. I’m only bringing this up, because I did notice that Yardbird had some mac and cheese you could order in the “Fixins” section of the menu. I never go into a restaurant that sells mac and cheese and not try it, so I of course had to order.
All due respect given to Pat’s BBQ in Salt Lake who previously had the title of “Best Mac and Cheese”. This is the new golden standard in mac and cheese excellence. Look at the size of the macaroni! Look at how golden baked the breadcrumbs on top are? Check out the little black cauldron they come in. The kitchen was even nice enough to provide the lid that clearly could not possiblly have fit to go along with the plate. I was happier than a witch in a broom factory eating this stuff. Going back and forth between my mac and cheese and my chicken and biscuits. The cheese was the cheesiest cheesy cheese and just perfect. I know that is not gramatically correct, but it was so good!
Call me a little weird, but I really respect a place that has well decorated restrooms. The wood and white brick that you see in this picture was the same wood and brick found throughout the restaurant. I liked the cast iron faucet and wash basin. There were even some pictures of criminals on the back wall. Pretty cool place if you ask me.
I’m pretty happy I found this place. I was flying solo on this trip without a wingman, and no recon data of the area other than my smart phone. It would of been understandable to make the wrong choice for dinner. Tonight however, was definitely the right choice. I loved everything about Yardbird. “Be Humble” This place let the atmosphere, service, and food do the talking. All of it was top notch, and that is why I highly recommend this place to anywhere traveling to the Miami area.
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