By Melanie Galarce
I tend to have a nostalgic gravitational pull towards all speakeasy bars. I’m not sure if it’s the allure of finding the hidden gems or maybe the thrill of the concept’s origin during prohibition that appeals to me. In either case, the team behind Coconut Grove’s widely popular Ariete, have a new hit on their hands with Baby Jane, which stands in the midst of the growing Brickell landscape.
I’m a sucker for good décor and I want to steal everything inside this bar. From it’s iconic neon sign that hangs aptly on top of the kitchen and boldly claims, “Don’t Call Me Baby,” to the thoughtful plates hung on the wall with pop-culture phrases that seem to speak to the millennial in search of a good cocktail (think: “Becky with the Good Hair.”)
The libations are most definitely the leading patrons at Baby Jane. The bar is a focal point and a paradox of modern cool and old school class. In retrospect, if you find an empty seat, opt for the bar – you’ll have the best view in the house. I chose a booth near the bookshelf that was a bit more private if that’s your thing, and then just drooled at the bookshelf décor while I drank and ate to my heart’s desire.
My drink of choice? The Bebito, which brings Ilegal Mezcal, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, luxardo maraschino, green chartreuse, muddled fresh jalapeño, and rosemary. I love spicy drinks and this was no exception.
Another drink I highly recommend? The Jane & Juice, made with Bombay Sapphire gin, cucumber bitters, lime juice, St-Germain, and egg white. This is the kind of drink you’ll enjoy with every sip, never wanting it to fully end.
With winning drinks on hand, I decided to munch on the Duck and Foie Gras Croquettes first, because I’m always curious to try the many versions of croquettes in Miami. This particular version had Hudson Valley duck with foie gras, maraschino cherries, tarragon, and mint, and was served with fig ketchup. It was an interesting first dish and pretty darn good, but I’m an old-school Miami resident that might still opt for the Versailles croquetas. In either case, these are an excellent rendition for the refined palette that can make for a good side dish while enjoying the superb cocktails.
I was told the Burrata was a popular dish we should try and I’ve never been known to turn down a piece of cheese. This particular Burrata derives from Mimmo’s Market in North Miami and it was dutifully fresh as well as perfectly drizzled with toasted pine nuts, saba, and extra-virgin olive oil. This was one of our favorite dishes. It was light and refreshing and not what you would think to order at a bar, which made it even more appealing.
Next up were the Soy Caramel Wings , which you can order grilled or fried, tossed with soy caramel, and garnished with crispy garlic, chives, radish, and orange segments. Finger licking good! I loved the sweet hints of caramel and orange combined with stronger flavors like chives and radish. It’s an out-of-the-park combination.
The piece de resistance? The Pegasus. A deep fried pie, stuffed with guava and cream cheese that puts every pastelito at Cuban bakeries across Miami to shame. I could justify eating this pie for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Mel’s take: Baby Jane is the kind of place you’ll want visit to enjoy a well crafted cocktail while catching up with friends and munching on very good, upscale bar food. It’s a hidden gem that we know will become a neighborhood favorite rather quickly, so we suggest making your way to Brickell for this one sooner rather than later. The whole place just oozes cool.
Standout dishes: Overall, the drinks at Baby Jane were superb. The food, although not meant to have a protagonist role, does a very good job at playing front and center with innovative dishes like the Soy Caramel Wings and Pegasus dessert, which put modern and appealing twists on otherwise jaded bar menus across Miami.