By Enrique Fernandez
Nothing beats a plate of greasy hashbrowns at two in the morning — except a plate of greasy hasbrowns with a side of apple pie a la mode. We take a look at a which diners are worth wandering into, starving, in the middle of the night — or anytime, for that matter.
This is the real thing, even if it’s ensconced in a mall parking lot. According to one of the waitresses, the most popular item was the Santa Fe chicken wrap. The pot roast was fork tender but quite salty, served in its gravy with deliberately lumpy mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables. A biscuit was a welcome if dry addition. Service was friendly, informed and overworked — perhaps they take advantage of the full bar post-shift.
Kendall Village Diner, 8695 SW 124th Ave., Miami; 305-595-4444; $8.50-$15.95. 11 a.m.-3 a.m.; Mon-Thurs, 7 a.m.-4 a.m. Fri-Sun; free parking.
Tucked in a corner building on Northeast Second Avenue, the 70-year-old S&S has been well-served by the newfound trendiness of nearby Midtown and Edgewater. The place can command a waiting list during peak hours. The food is basic to the core. Hamburgers looked freshly made, thick and hand-shaped. Roast pork
was a generous serving of slices in gravy. Mac and cheese was pure baby food for grown ups (no al dente here) and dangerously addictive. A London broil ordered medium-rare came out well done, to a crisp, in fact, but the flavor was good nonetheless. Unlike other diners we visited, S&S serves real chocolate cake and real apple pie — made for them, not by them.
S&S Diner, 1757 NE Second Ave, Miami; 305-373-4291; $5.95-$9.95. 5 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon-Fri, 5:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Sat-Sun; cash only; free parking.
On the weekend, breakfast is the meal of choice throughout the day here for Biscayne Corridor regulars. Once known as a Bee Gees hangout, it has not lost its bohemian bonhomie and is a great place for people-watching. An order of eggs came with a big link of juicy, grilled country sausage. One can have home fries, grits or sliced tomatoes — remarkably good ones, which is a surprise at a diner. There’s a full menu of standards like roast turkey — home-roasted, an old sign assures us — as well as Miami favorites like palomilla steak. The place is jumping, and sometimes there’s a wait for a booth, but service is quick and efficient — precisely what one wants at a diner.
Jimmy’s Eastside Diner, 7201 Biscayne Blvd. Miami; 305-754-3692; breakfast $3.95-$8.95, entrees $4.95-$12.95; 6:30 a.m.-4 p.m. daily; free parking.
11th STREET DINER
Breakfast is also a favorite at this silver-clad classic, but this being South Beach, it may be consumed any time of day and night. With a Bloody Mary. (There’s a full bar.) The steak that comes with the steak and eggs is a small, juicy strip. You can also have your eggs with country-fried steak, or, for true Southern excess, biscuits and gravy. The menu reports a critic called their Southern-fried chicken the best in town, and it does stand up. The nicely seasoned crust is thin and crispy; inside the meat is tender and moist. This being Miami-Dade, traditional Southern sides like mac and cheese are listed next to beans and rice — very good frijoles negros, as it turned out.
(I admit to having felt great skepticism about a SoBe diner I had passed countless times and
dismissed as a gimmick. I was wrong. This is the best diner food I’ve had in South Florida.)
11th Street Diner, 1065 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 305-534-6373; entrees $8.95-$16.95; 7:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.-midnight Mon-Thurs, 7:30 a.m. Fri-2:30 p.m. Sun, 5 p.m.-midnight Sun; street parking.
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