27th Heaven

After moving to Miami I naturally started to get lots of visitors from up North, but there was one annual guest that I always looked forward to receiving more than any other – my grandma, Mimi. She had been making the yearly winter pilgrimage from New Jersey to South Florida for years, but now that I was around she would take time out of her itinerary for me to pick her up in the beachside town where she was staying in Palm Beach or Broward to drive down to Miami Beach and spend the day together. We would go to the movies (for nap time), nosh on tongue sandwiches at the now defunct Jerry’s Famous Deli, and just enjoy our quality time together. She would tell me stories of her days as a young woman during WWII when she spent a summer on South Beach with her friend working at the war office on Lincoln Road and eating banana sandwiches.

Anyway, I’m telling you all of this because a recent visit to the new 27 Restaurant & Bar at the Freehand Miami really brought Mimi back to the forefront of my mind. Located in an historic house adjacent to the Broken Shaker courtyard, 27’s welcoming communal atmosphere and creative spirit reminded me of of a place that she would have loved to visit – either during her time in Miami in the 1940s or during one of our yearly visits.

When it comes to its menu offerings, 27 utilizes fresh local ingredients and high-quality produce, including fresh fish and shellfish, choice meats, and local produce – much of it grown on the property’s onsite garden. The menu pays homage to the diversity of Miami and its melting pot of flavors and cultures, much to my delight.

I tried mostly a mix of the regular menu items: Bubbie’s Latkes with house made sour cream and Granny Smith apple relish; Red Grouper Crudo with baby heirloom tomato, avocado, and pickled chilis, Elad’s Shakshuka, paired with two eggs and Zak The Baker bread; and the Certified Angus Skirt Steak with patatas bravas, parsley, and a shaved onion salad.

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Add to that a side of Romanesco, and not one, but two (yes two) desserts – a take on a Strawberry Shortcake and Brownie Sundae – and you’re in 27th Heaven!

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Finally, I would be remiss not to mention 27’s great craft cocktails. As the first full service restaurant at the Freehand, joining the already outstanding Broken Shaker, the drinks were just as fresh, eclectic, and delicious as the food. And I’d expect nothing less from the Bar Lab geniuses.

If you like your drinks “Stiff & Boozy” go for the Miso Horny Old Fashioned, which combines Old Forester bourbon with a miso honey reduction and barrel aged mushroom bitters.

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If you’re into “Florida & Citrus” try the Lulo Daiquiri, pairing Colombian lulo fruit, fresh lime juice, and mint from the garden reduction with Bacardi rum.

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Or, if you prefer “Long Drinks & Aperitifs” order either the Doctor Zhivago (Wodka vodka infused with lemongrass, ginger honey vinegar shrub, lemon juice, and ginger beer) or the Green Acres (matcha tea infused with celery, fresh citrus, Dolin vermouth and Beefeater gin.)

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Mitch’s take: Over the past year-plus of blogging, I’ve had the pleasure of tasting some of Miami’s best food at some of its best restaurants, but it’s not often that a dining experience transcends the yummy factor to make a true emotional connection. The fact that this place made me think of my grandma while simultaneously providing me with a delectable meal, made my experience at 27 a true delight.

Standout dishes: For me, the best dishes on the menu were the simplest ones. The combination of the potato latkes, steak, and a nice bourbon cocktail was comfort food at its best. Mimi would have approved.

I miss you Mimi! This post's for you!

Mimi at my apartment circa 2008. I miss you! This post’s for you!

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