1.5 stars for comfort food at Blue Collar

The vintage metal lunch boxes on the wall and under-$20 entrees on the menu let you know that Blue Collar, in the old American Noodle Bar space on Miami’s Upper East Side, aims to appeal to regular folks. The single-sheet menu, replicated on a blackboard above the gleaming stainless steel counter, offers such down-home dishes as pork and beans and po’ boys as well as nostalgic plays like chicken cordon bleu. Modest meats like pot roast, short ribs and burgers take top positions, while unexpected items like latkes and tostones topped with vaca frita reflect Miami’s diversity.

Blue Collar fills a void in the area as evidenced by weekend crowds of eager young regulars. They must not mind leaving smelling of the smoke that billows from the open kitchen, where cooks shout to each other over a head-banging sound track of The Clash, Dead Boys and Amebix that I doubt even Sid Vicious could eat to. This down-home diner doesn’t deserve a pink slip, but it definitely has its work cut out for it.


What Worked

  • A juicy, well-seared cube of mahi mahi
  • Satisfying grilled New York strip steak
  • Thick-cut house fries
  • Brussels sprouts sautéed until the color of maple syrup
  • Unpretentious but respectable wine & beer lists
  • Potent, butterscotch-drenched Heath Bar Crunch Challah Bread Pudding with cayenne-laced whipped cream with crispy edges and a warm, creamy interior
  • Espresso-tinged dark Valrhona chocolate cake
  • Panther coffee served in a kitschy plaid Thermos and mug


What Didn’t Work

  • Overworked veggie sides
  • Curried cauliflower puree and spaghetti squash with grainy, overly creamy sauces
  • Mushy mac and cheese that uses four upscale cheeses with buttery toasted bread crumbs to no great effect
  • Disappointing roasted beets that had papery skin on some bits & a borscht-like taste from vinegar
  • Breaded and greasy veggie burger loaded with corn, broccoli peppers and onions
  • Excessively greasy pizza roll with mozzarella, tomato and pepperoni drenched in marinara sauce
  • Excessively greasy Cuban spring roll with Serrano ham and tangy pickles
  • Dense & flavorless wild mushroom and goat cheese croquettes
  • Shrimp and grits – tiny baby crustaceans in a cheesy pool of corn mush swimming in a sweet Worcestershire sauce



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