Bird’s the Word: Yardbird
May 21, 2018
Our Rating: A+
As a self-proclaimed Southern food enthusiast, I am always open to trying any restaurant that claims to serve “good Southern food.” Thus, I was more than happy to visit Yardbird Southern Table & Bar. Yardbird boasts many locations across both the United States and overseas; the Miami location is situated right in the heart of Miami Beach. Offering inventive takes on traditional Southern fare while ensuring that everything served is of the highest quality, Yardbird does not fail to disappoint anyone who enjoys Southern cooking as much as I do.
There are three items that are absolutely necessary on any Southern restaurant’s menu: shrimp and grits, biscuits and fried chicken. These three dishes are quintessential in Southern cuisine, and the quality of these three dishes are strong indicators on how good a Southern restaurant really is. Yardbird not only offered all three items, but it also exceeded all of my expectations.
“Yardbird truly makes good Southern food. I went there not that long ago and I’m always dying to go back. The shrimp and grits are a must try,” senior Catherine Healy said.
The shrimp and grits were some of the best I have ever had the pleasure to try and were even comparable to some of the shrimp and grits I’ve had in South Carolina and Georgia. The grits themselves were neither watery nor thick—they had the perfect consistency that can only be achieved through years of practice and tweaking recipes. The grits were cooked with “pbr” chicken jus, a seemingly simple addition that gave the grits a bold and savory flavor. The shrimp were not overcooked in the slightest, and the roasted tomatoes and Virginia ham brought the dish together with their smoky flavors. For a dish that is so important to Southern cuisine, Yardbird met all the standards.
Another iconic Southern dish is fried chicken. Many restaurants claim to offer fried chicken, when in reality it is nothing more than a couple of sad, skimpy pieces of chicken that are drenched in oil—a sad attempt to please the taste buds through grease. Yardbird’s fried chicken is as far away from that as possible. Honoring Southern food to its finest, Yardbird elevates fried chicken to the next level with their “Lewellyn’s Fine Fried Chicken.” The bird is first brined for 27-hours, allowing sufficient time for the meat to tenderize and absorb plenty of flavor. Afterwards, it is battered and dredged with their special spice and flour blend before it gets fried to golden perfection. The chicken is perfectly cooked on the inside—even the breast is tender and juicy. The breading is both crispy and crunchy, and not overly coated in oil.
“I love fried chicken and Yardbird probably has the best fried chicken I’ve ever had. The chicken breast was juicy which is impressive because chicken breast is usually dry and pasty. I would also recommend the cornbread because it comes in a cute little cast iron skillet,” junior Isabella D’Ottone said.
While Yardbird is definitely worth a visit, it is, unfortunately, quite expensive. Even though you do get your money’s worth for the quality, Yardbird is a restaurant that should be reserved for special occasions. Fortunately, they are open for dinner, lunch and brunch, so there’s always an opportunity to dine there. On every level, Yardbird does not disappoint and everything they serve not only honors Southern culinary traditions, but also elevates them to another level.