3 stars for American comfort food at Morgans on the Beach

 

3 stars for American comfort food at Morgans on the Beach

joe allen dessert

Jodi Mailander Farrell

Morgans on the Beach doesn’t have the charming porch of the original Morgans in Miami’s Midtown neighborhood. Nor does it have the consistent comfort of Joe Allen, which occupied the same squat space for 13 years as an iconic respite from South Beach glam. But it does have chef Doug Sisk, who will make you forget both places if you let him. When it opened last summer in Miami Beach’s chill corridor along Purdy Avenue, Morgans tried to please everybody. For Joe Allen’s loyalists, it kept house favorites like La Scala Salad and Rice Krispies treats. For the Midtown brunch-and-lunch crowd, it brought over chicken with waffles, chunky salads and baked-to-order cookies. But for the past six months, the boyish, earnest Sisk, 39, has been quietly slipping his own creations onto a dinner menu that steps out of the shadow of both restaurants.

Ambience: Much as we enjoyed most of the food, not all is picture perfect inside Morgans East. The drop-down white trellis ceiling, white straight-back chairs and tables and Roman window shades are simplicity squared, but lavender walls tip the décor toward Easter egg basket territory. White tablecloths topped with brown butcher paper and jars of colored pencils seem dated and silly.

What Worked

  • A seared 18-ounce bone-in rib-eye charred on the outside, red and juicy in the middle, and warm throughout
  • Crispy fried onions
  • Creamy twice-baked potato
  • Snappy haricots verts
  • A crispy, crusty, moist and flaky mahi mahi balanced on basmati rice and tender rows of asparagus, with a crunchy tropical salsa, springy sprouts and a puddle of red pepper coulis
  • A grilled mustard balsamic glazed salmon with heartiness from fingerling potatoes, green beans, cherry tomatoes, white beans and micro greens
  • A sublime, ultra-moist, vanilla-sauced bread pudding with deep pockets of dark chocolate and gooey, sweet banana
  • Morgans’ trademark meatloaf, garlicky mussels in white wine-shallot sauce and naked chicken pot pie
  • Complimentary cornbread served in a mini-cast-iron skillet with a chunk of honey butter melting on top

What Didn't Work

  • Servers who appeared disinterested or nervous and confused about seating and menu options
  • Bland and limp yellow fin tuna tartare appetizer topped with avocado, tomatoes and wakame seaweed
  • Eggs Benedict with a dry English muffin, deli-counter ham, a skimpy drizzle of Hollandaise and under-seasoned potatoes

 

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