With reasonable rents, loads of parking and a streetscape that actually encourages walking, Midtown Miami has become a restaurant hotbed - a sort of Williamsburg for Miami. One of my favorite newcomers is Sustain, where the ingredients are front and center. Since its December opening, it's been called "Michael's Junior," and it does pay homage to Michael Schwartz's Design District mecca with its daily printed menu of local bounty, from heirloom tomato salads to wood-roasted whole fish. But the locally sourced chef, 37-year-old Alex Piñero, has worked in some of South Florida's best kitchens, beginning with Dawn Sieber's at Cheeca Lodge, and also references his gigs with Michelle Bernstein at the old Strand, (love that buttermilk fried chicken), Andrea and Frank Randazzo at Talula and Sergio Sigala at Casa Tua.
The best items on the mostly Mediterranean menu are those that keep with the mission statement: "To provide consumers with the purest and finest local ingredients and to support farmers who take such great pride and passion in their work."
Ambience: The setting is as welcoming as owner Brian Goldberg, managing partner Jonathan Lazar and their energetic young staff, who don't hover but glide by with an occasional "How is everything?" Quite good, actually. The décor works with the theme. Deep eggplant-colored cushions on roomy benches, reclaimed-wood tables and mangrove "bones" create a bright, earthy feel, and a subdued but hip soundtrack allows for conversation.
What Didn’t Work