The goods: Sustain is Miami’s newest destination for locavore eats. The Midtown spot aims to serve sustainably harvested seafood, humanely raised meat and locally grown fruits and vegetables. The backdrop to all this freshly-foraged bounty is a cavernous neo-industrial spot on Midtown’s mini-restaurant row (just a few doors down from Sugarcane and Mercadito).
Ambience: Sustain is more modern American diner than rustic farmhouse, with handsome wood tables constructed from reclaimed Florida cypress, purple-upholstered benches and aluminum discs levitating from the ceiling. The soundtrack is set to hip indie rock and hickory aromas waft through the space via a wood-burning oven.
The grub: Haute barnyard cuisine. Expect fancy comfort food like homemade corn dogs, mac & cheese and a gourmet burger. The beef, lamb and pork are from Citra, FL and the seafood complies with the Monterey Bay Fish Guide (expect to see snapper and wreckfish). Chef Alejandro Piñero heads the kitchen, having learned about the intricacies and rhythms of seasonal cooking during stints with Michelle Bernstein and as chef de cuisine at Fratelli Lyon.
Small plates include house-made soft pretzels accompanied by wholegrain mustard and orange blossom honey and mini corn dogs served with spicy mustard and fried chickpeas. The “50-mile” salad is made with ingredients sourced within fifty miles of the restaurant, including roasted beets, pickled onions, Paradise Farms brassica and Hani's Mediterranean Organics feta cheese. Pork makes a predictable appearance as a roasted porchetta seasoned with garlic, sage, thyme and rosemary. There’s chicken too - fried, over escarole and mac & cheese or roasted to a golden crisp with cumin honey-glazed squash (pictured). Don’t miss curried kabocha squash soup – autumn in a bowl – and the “wet fries” doused with bone marrow gravy.
Desserts include a peanut butter and jelly Panna cotta, a plate of milk and cookies and a classic carrot cake.
The verdict: Socially responsible cooking without the guilt? Perhaps. Who knew eating corn dogs could feel so virtuous.