By Jaweed Kaleem
In South Florida, where posh hotels and restaurants reign, it can be difficult to find good, affordable brunch options. Not willing to spend more than $15 for a meal on a sleepy Sunday? Here are three casual restaurants that won't break the bank.
Clover-stamped, tinted windows may give passersby the impression of a dive, but Clarke's -- an Irish bar and restaurant lined with dark wood tables and lit with glass chandeliers -- is both casual and chic. Brunch (11 a.m.-4 p.m.) favorites including challah French toast with vanilla-cognac butter, maple syrup and fresh strawberries ($10.95) or eggs benedict ($10.95). The Irish oatmeal crème brûlée ($6.95), made from thick-cut Irish oats and topped with caramelized brown sugar, will stick to your ribs while it satisfies your sweet tooth.
OUT OF THE BLUE CAFE
This European-style coffee shop in Miami's Wynwood neighborhood, which has offered lattes, soups and sandwiches for about two years, recently added Sunday brunch (10 a.m.-5 p.m.). Menu items include Venedictiney (eggs benedict with prosciutto, $8.95), baguette Parisienne (brie, green apple, drizzle of honey, $5.95), breakfast croissant (egg, ham, tomato and Swiss cheese, $6.75) and omelets made to order at a station in the back room. Those with a big appetite will want to try the tapas-style, all-you-can-eat brunch ($19.95), which includes a mimosa, most brunch menu items plus crepes and chicken and beef skewers.
SHINJU JAPANESE BUFFET
Though it doesn't offer a traditional brunch, this Japanese-Chinese restaurant is packed on weekends. The daily buffet-only menu is a bargain at lunch (11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.; $10.95 weekends, $9.95 weekdays). Start at the extensive sushi bar, which includes salads such as edamame, snow crab and seaweed plus 40 types of rolls (salmon avocado, mango shrimp, Boston, JB and California are just a few). At the mostly Chinese buffet, selections include soups such as egg drop, hot and sour, wonton and miso, plus lo mein, sesame chicken, orange chicken, shrimp with broccoli, fried rice, steamed string beans, crab rangoon and beef and vegetables. Chicken, vegetables and other foods are cooked to-order at the hibachi grill. For dessert, there's a selection of ice creams, puddings, sliced cakes and fresh-cut fruit.
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The Shinju Japanese Buffet has a large selection of food. Pictured here are raw mussels and cocktail shrimp in the background. Photo: Charlotte Southern.