By Monique Gonzalez
If you’re a local, and reside on the mainland, chances are you may not frequent South Beach as often as you’d like. (Or, am I just an old lady who just doesn’t get out there as often as I should?) In any case, my latest #MMTM assignment forced me to cross the bridge and boy was it worth it…I fell in love. Her name’s Izzy. Izzy’s Fish & Oyster to be exact. After Mitch’s first visit for brunch after their grand opening, it was my turn to visit to see what was going on a year later.
See, it’s not often you come across good ol’ traditional New England fare in South Florida. Lucky for us, Izzy’s fills that void. Chef Jamie DeRosa’s concept is inspired by summers on the shores of Cape Cod, and while located in the heart of South Beach, Izzy’s delivers an authentic New England cuisine experience, within a warm, inviting setting. The space is contemporary with a slight nautical feel and exudes a local vibe that makes you feel right at home. At least we did while indulging in the Izzy’s weekend brunch. Spoiler alert: it’s is a winner.
We kicked off our boozy brunch with the Pontoon, their version of a Moscow Mule, which was a nicely crafted cocktail made with crisp ginger beer, lime and fresh thyme (nice touch!). And yes, they serve it in a copper mug, AKA the only way a mule should be enjoyed. We then ordered a couple of IPAs, and were surprised to find one on the menu that we had never tried — the Town Beach IPA from Rhode Island. Two thumbs up there.
Typically, oysters aren’t at the top of my list of cravings, despite my somewhat eclectic (more like feed-me-anything) palette. But when in Rome, right? I channeled my inner North-easterner and ordered the sampler our server recommended. The Izzy’s selection of Island Creek Oysters is quite extensive, but if you feel any sort of trepidation while looking at the raw bar menu, do not fret…our server was able to guide us in the right direction. The sampler included a variety of mollusks from different areas such as Moonrise (Dennis, MA), Beausoleil (New Brunswick, CAN), Lieutenant Island (Wellfleet, MA), and Avery (Loagy Bay, MA). The homemade sauces that accompanied the oysters were killer – a made-from-scratch chunky cocktail sauce, marinated horseradish and the star of all sauces, a Champagne Mignonette with shallots.
As any visit to a New England style restaurant should involve a roll or two, we ordered the Izzy’s Maine Lobster Roll. Dare I say this roll is near absolute perfection? Served warm (or, you can order it cold with lobster mayo if you prefer), the Maine lobster is cooked in and drizzled with butter, topped with a lobster béarnaise, chives, and lemon zest. The lobster meat is fresh, sweet, and tender, and the soft, fresh bread is the perfect complement. The dish is served with crispy waffle fries. This dish is a MUST-try.
What’s brunch with no benny, you ask? Our sentiments exactly! The Maine Lobster Benedict (yes, more lobster!) was another standout dish. Served on an English muffin, the Maine Lobster (sweet and tender) and perfectly poached egg are topped with an Old Bay hollandaise sauce. This benny will not disappoint your taste buds.
Veering off the lobster road…When it comes to buffalo style ANYTHING, I’m your gal. Hence our next menu selection — the Crispy Chicken Sandwich. This sandwich will gratify even the toughest buffalo critic. It’s chicken sandwich simplicity at its best, with a buffalo style crispy chicken breast perfectly cooked and served with ranch sauce and pickles on a potato roll. Also served with those scrumptious waffle fries that I’m still craving.
Finally, we rounded out our meal with a little sweetness, with the Key Lime Stuffed French Toast — two fluffy pieces of challah stuffed with a key lime custard and sprinkled with graham cracker crumbs. If I had to nitpick, I’d say I could’ve used a little more key lime custard in my toast. But that’s just the glutton in me speaking, so no need to listen.
That said, my Sunday brunch game was clearly just kicked up a notch. I suggest you try it out, friends! It’s shucking good!
Monique’s take: If you’re looking for authentic New England cuisine, or a new killer brunch spot to add to the rotation, Izzy’s is the place. Warning: Lobster roll-induced coma may occur. Satisfy a raw bar, clam chowder, or clam belly roll craving, or simply swing by for Izzy’s daily happy hours (5-7pm). Weekend brunch is available Saturday and Sunday, from 12-3pm ; Izzy’s is now open for lunch Monday-Friday from 12-4pm.
Standout dish: Izzy’s Maine Lobster Roll. Without a doubt. Will not disappoint. Served warm or cold, and features the some of freshest Maine Lobster you’ll find in our backyard.