Over at MMTM Headquarters we’re big fans of the foodie favorite Top Chef. When any alumni of the show decides to bring their culinary creations to our city, we jump with joy. Spike Mendelsohn, one of said former alumnus from season four, brought his skills to The Hall, a new Miami Beach hotel concept located on 15th and Collins that recently opened by hotel chain Joie de Vivre. The hotel has a certain je ne sais quoi that sweeps you off your feet with charm, easily translating into the courtyard that plays hosts to Mendelsohn’s restaurant.
The spot is called Sunny’s, named after Mendelsohn’s grandfather, is reminiscent of beachside restaurants from his travels across the world: small, casual, breezy, and colorful.
The menu is just as whimsical, with small bites and original culinary takes on beachside favorites.
Upon arrival, it was easy to settle in, feel comfortable, and start ordering. We enjoyed the Un, Dos, Tres, Balls, which were Sicilian rice balls with saffron, mozzarella, peas, and lemon aioli. It’s an Italian dish with a Spanish name that offers just as much diversity in flavor. You’ll bite into a nice crispy coat of rice balls and find cheesy goodness inside. Dip the balls in the honey mustard sauce if you’re in need of extra flavor.
The Aloha Tacos brought fried avocado, cabbage, pickled red onion, lime and cilantro crema. I’ve never been enticed to even murmur the word “vegetarian,” but if giving up meat means dishes like this, I’d whole-heartedly give the lifestyle a chance.
We then had the Head High Poke Bowl, soy-marinated yellowfin tuna, Maui onion, sea beans, toasted sesame, and puffed rice. This Hawaiian favorite is becoming quite popular in menus across Miami so we’re always interested in tasting the different renditions. This particular one was fresh and we appreciated the avocado slices to, again, make the dish a bit more “Miami.”
The piece de resistance was definitely Sunny’s Smokehouse Burger. Sunny’s “Hang Ten” burger blend created by Pat LaFrieda (famed New York butcher) with applewood smoked bacon, sharp cheddar, house made potato sticks, and pineapple-chipotle BBQ sauce on a brioche bun. I can’t speak highly enough of this awesome burger since everything about it felt like it was well thought out. The list of toppings and flavorful combination left little to desire.
And of course no good meal comes to an end without dessert. We recommend the Donuts via Española Way (aka Churros) when coming to Sunny’s. A Miami favorite, this rendition was sprinkled with Nutella and accompanying dulce de leche dipping sauce to give our visit a sweet goodbye.
Mel’s take: If you’re looking for a casual, under-the-radar meal in the heart of South Beach, Sunny’s is your spot. Its quaint, welcoming décor, will make you feel like you’re dinning at a friend’s uber chic and cozy backyard. The creative menu will also make for a great conversation starter.
Standout dish: Undoubtedly, it was the burger. Mendelsohn has made a name for himself with his burger crafting skills in Capitol Hill – we all remember that time that President Obama made a stop at his restaurant, Good Stuff Eatery, to dish on his eponymous burger. If you make it to Sunny’s choose the burger, it will not disappoint.