University Chicken Grill's diverse staff—including a Nicaraguan cook, a Haitian grill-master, and Cuban-American owners—combines its culinary cunning to make a menu of fast food that doesn't skimp on quality. Chicken chops include the Hurricane Chop ($8.99 for full size), a marinated chicken breast topped with lettuce and tomatoes and served on a bed of yellow rice, and the Fricassee Chop ($7.99 for full size), which fricassees chicken in tomatoes and herbs, and serves it atop white rice. Diners preferring to leave their chops in the Dojo District can opt for several grilled-chicken plates, including a quarter dark-meat chicken breast ($6.69 with two sides) or a half white-meat chicken ($10.69 with two sides). University Chicken Grill also offers its marinated meats in wrap form ($8.49+ with two sides), with a savory slate of sides ($2.29 for small size) available for support, including sweet plantains and sautéed mushrooms.
Indecision is a virtue at CG Burgers. It gives diners more time to peruse the menu of build-your-own burgers and design a mental blueprint of the perfect meal. The patties of certified Angus beef, all-natural turkey, or bison begin as blank canvases before diners adorn them with as many as 17 complimentary toppings and condiments. The cooks can also load down burgers with 15 premium fixings, such as avocado or a tiny gold crown. Made using locally sourced ingredients whenever possible, the menu of all-American classics also distinguishes itself by including a vegetarian burger patty, zucchini fries, and silken gelato milk shakes. Even the fire-roasted wings present a bit of a spin on the original: they may arrive in a traditional buffalo sauce or glazed with a mixture of olive oil, garlic, herbs, and crushed red peppers.
Sawa's chefs creatively cook up the distinctly different cuisines of Japan and the Mediterranean, fusing the flavors into a menu of tapas, soups, sushi, and kebabs. Prevent an unnecessary belly vacancy and entertain taste buds with small plates of tempura vegetables with honey-yuzu sauce ($6.75) or pan-fried frog legs in roasted garlic aioli ($9.75). More than 20 sushi options, such as the Black and White roll of cream cheese, caviar, sesame seeds, scallions, and lobster ($12), keep company with six grilled kebabs, including the filet-mignon kebab ($18). A wide selection of beers, sakes, cocktails, and wines patiently wait to compliment mains—such as the pan-seared chilean sea bass ($25) and grilled lamb rack in a jalapeño mint-demi reduction ($24)—on their impeccable taste and ability to sit completely still.
Cinco Cantina & Tequila Bar's agave-savvy staff pours artisan tequilas at a bar softly lit by punched-tin lanterns. Duos or quartets of tasters sample three shots of blanco, anejo, and reposado tequilas crafted in small batches by respected distillers such as Don Julio and Tres Generaciones. Spiced chips surf creamy waves of classic guacamole between sips as patrons strain to overhear salsa-themed knock-knock jokes whispered by brightly colored masks on the walls.
Recently profiled in the Miami Herald, Sake Blue crafts freshly made sushi rolls and classic Asian entrees with a contemporary twist. Hungry eyes can peruse upscale lunch and dinner menus stocked with sushi rolls, shareable plates, and main dishes, and adult mouths sip on more than 30 types of sake. Chilled lobster, red pepper, cucumber, and avocado join forces to create lobster sui sushi rolls ($16), and the dinnertime tuna poke crudos’ combination of yellowfin tuna and mango dazzles with more tropical flair than a hermit crab juggling coconuts ($13). Diners also delight in the sichuan beef with potato gratin ($25), and munching on the wok-charred salmon relaxes incisors more effectively than gnawing on a neighbor’s car tires ($19).
The cuisine team at Smoke't Southern Kitchen & Tap prints a menu chock full of barbecue descriptions and a thirst-quenching arsenal of beer and wine. The kitcheneers cook the barbecue brisket for 18 hours to honor the flight duration of Apollo 11 ($15.75). A half rack of slow-roasted baby back Miami ribs ($15) makes a meaty companion for a 16-ounce Blue Moon ($7), 1 of 12 draft beers, while the dry-rubbed pulled pork, which is enveloped in a seasonings and spices and slow smoked ($15.50), companions a glass of Primaterra pinto grigio ($7), which, like the Ferrari and the Ferris Bueller's Day Off script, was imported from Italy.