Step into Buns & Buns in South Miami and embrace the magic of baked dough meant for dipping in savory sauces.
The bowler hat, mustache and monocle logo, and a shelf of vintage toy cars and cameras, evoke another era, but the food is modern with an evolving menu.
Executive chef Reuven Sugarman is from Philadelphia and got his start volunteering at soup kitchens with his mom. The joy of feeding people inspired him to go to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.
He then worked a string of restaurants, from Cuba Libre in Washington to Toro Toro in downtown Miami. He met business partner Alex Zibi through a mutual friend, did a tasting menu and was hired.
They then set off to explore London, Istanbul, Bangkok and Hong Kong for culinary ideas. The buns they brought back and put on their menu include brioche, ciabatta, Chinese bao and Indian naan enriched with cheese for wrapping around small bites such as spinach and Manchego puffs with tahini or beer-battered corn fritters with lime.
Items with the buns include tamarind-marinated lamb ribs, pork belly with bourbon glaze, brisket in a red-wine reduction and salmon teriyaki with yuzu-honey vinaigrette. You can also find an Angus burger in homemade brioche, BBQ pulled pork in steamed buns, and a chicken bun with truffle goat cheese.
Roasted heirloom tomato salad with burrata, watermelon and avocado or kale salad with candied pine nuts make good sides with sweet potato chips.
Finish with brioche soaked in custard with ice cream and maple glaze.
Linda Bladholm is a Miami-based food writer.