Only the boldest, hungriest diners dare take on A&G Burger Joint’s Creature Burger—a gigantic tower of meats, toppings, and pickles weighing in at more than four pounds. But if these intrepid eaters can polish off the hefty burger—along with a pound of fries—they are rewarded with a t-shirt, plaque, and $20 gift card.
The Creature Burger is the brainchild of chef Alex Parra, who also extends his culinary expertise to a variety of more diminutive burgers. Deep in his kitchen, the skilled chef showers Angus beef patties with imaginative toppings, such as housemade barbecue sauce, fried egg, and roasted poblano peppers. Alex invites guests to invent their own burgers from a selection of five different buns, patties, cheeses, and sauces, encouraging them to come up with a name, back-story, and favorite Beatles song for their original creations—such as “Mustard-Yellow Submarine”. Out in the retro dining room, glasses of craft brews clink over plates of truffle fries between black-and-white walls speckled with old-fashioned pin-up artwork.
At a new West Kendall location, the culinary team at Latin Restaurant churns out authentic, flavorful Cuban dishes ranging from savory ropa vieja to sweet tres leches, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The menu comprises traditional beef, chicken, seafood, and pork entrees and showcases a selection of 25 sandwiches and at least twice as many slices of bread. Breakfast items such as french toast and omelets are available around the clock.
Few meals please the taste buds and warm the soul more than a piping-hot pepperoni pizza or a ham-and-cheese sandwich served with a bowl of hearty minestrone soup. Such is what you'll find at Victorino's Subs & Pizza, whose menu also has salad bowls filled with chicken, baby spinach, tomatoes, and zesty dressing, and housemade chocolate-chip and oatmeal cookies. The pizza chefs and sandwich-smiths prepare each meal before customers' eyes, and they never cut corners by resorting to cheap frozen, precooked, or replicated foodstuffs.
Though Benny Ojeda's kitchen is packed with a mélange of frying pans, butcher knives, pots, and spatulas, his most treasured tool might be his giant wooden mortar and pestle. It's this massive contraption that the skilled chef uses to make his renowned mofongo dish, a deliciously chewy concoction that was lauded by reporters from Miami New Times and featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives as well as The Best Thing I Ever Ate. Benny fills the tall mortar with fried plantains, garlic, olive oil, and housemade pork rinds, and then pounds the mixture into a fluffy pulp. He scoops his mofongos into wooden bowls, sending them out of the kitchen plain or topped with buttery lobster, crispy chicken, and juicy steak.
Diners eagerly await mofongos out in the colorful dining room, where water trickles down from an elegant stone fountain and walls are painted to resemble a rustic Puerto Rican village or a convincingly disguised space ship. Some sip on imported beers and fresh fruit juices, and others sample traditional dishes from Benny's native Cabo Rojo—dishes such as stewed pork belly, rice with pigeon peas, and seafood ceviche. Before meals are through, waiters offer guests a tiny cup of complimentary coquito, a creamy blend of coconut, rum, and cinnamon.
As they bustle past the clothing stores and restaurants inside Dolphin Mall, shoppers can't help but pause to peer in through the glass windows of Kobe House Japanese Steak & Seafood. Inside lies a world of light and color, where flames roar up from tableside teppan grills, vivid japanese murals sweep across the walls, and gold Japanese characters glimmer from dark wood pillars. Chefs stand before the grills, tossing their spatulas spiritedly in the air as they whip up seafood, free-range chicken, and steaks from genuine Wagyu Kobe beef. For added fanfare, the cooks stack slices of onion into mountains and arrange rice into playful hearts amid cheers and laughter from the audience. Behind the sushi bar, sushi chefs roll up fresh lobster, shrimp, and crab, infusing traditional Japanese recipes with contemporary twists.
Enjoy a meal on the go at BannaStrow's, where the chefs work their magic in front of your anticipatory pupils and breakfast is served all day. Start by selecting a crepe, wrep (wrapped crepe), or salad as your edible canvas. Then, throw down your choice of four fresh veggies, a refreshing dressing, and one highly pleasing cheese to complete your creation ($5.95). If for some reason you hit a creperie block, feel free to enjoy any signature item, including good morning breakfast crepes (eggs, mozzarella, cheese, and ham; $3.99), a sweet crepe (strudel supreme with cinnamon apples, caramel sauce, and vanilla ice cream; $6.15), or classic California salads (spring mixed lettuce, tomatoes, croutons, raisins, parmesan, and olive oil; $4.35). By the time your food's prepped, your eyes will have already basted your face in tears of joy and hunger.