Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill
A big, glowing review for sushi & small bites in Midtown
Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill
3250 NE First Ave, Miami
Hours: 11:30am-midnight Sunday-Thursday, until 2am Friday-Saturday.
Prices: Small plates, sushi and raw bar items $2-$16; raw bar towers $45-$85; desserts $7-$10.
FYI: Reservations suggested. Metered street parking or Midtown garage. Full bar; no outside wines; 4-7pm weekday happy hour.
Led by Timon Balloo, a chef of Chinese-Trinidadian descent (Chef Allen's, Azul, La Broche) and a management team as well-versed in tweeting as it is in old-fashioned manners, Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill has caught on faster than fire in a dry cane field. And with good reason. The broadsheet menu makes everything from the crispy sweetbreads with oranges and arugula to the goat cheese croquetas sound impossibly alluring.
Like its sibling, SushiSamba, Sugarcane has a Japanese-Brazilian-Peruvian bent, but there are also All-American crowd pleasers like wedge salads, flatbread pizzas, charcuterie, a full raw bar and skewered dishes cooked over binchotan charcoal on a Japanese-style robata grill.
- Ruggedly delicious Kobe sliders with fried quail eggs, toasty brioche buns and slatherings of tonkatsu sauce
- Crispy twin tempura shrimp the size of Corona cigars
- Charred shishito peppers and smoky bacon-wrapped dates with a peppering of diced linguica (Portuguese pork sausage) and melty manchego cheese
- Burrata with sliced strawberries, heirloom tomatoes and balsamic vinegar
- Signature lobster & endive roll
- Simple-as-tic-tac-toe fluke appetizer - four lozenges of silvery fish on a bed of seaweed flecked with sea salt and Japanese amazu vinegar
- A chocolate-caramel-peanut-butter bar with gooey marshmallows and salty puffs of popcorn evocative of a heavenly Snickers
What Didn’t Work
- The absence of noodles, rices, breads, pastas or even chips
- Fairly golden, but not all that crispy whole roast chicken laced with butter
- A skimpy, stale-rolled New England lobster roll
- Tongue-blisteringly salty grilled Japanese eggplant
- Miami restaurant review: Centro Taco sees Mexican food through a Miami lens
- Miami restaurant review: MesaMar Seafood Table swims into Coral Gables
- Miami restaurant review: Byblos in South Beach gives Mediterranean food a makeover
- Miami restaurant review: Massive menu makes Crust bite off more than it can chew
- Miami restaurant review: La Moderna in Miami Beach has a winning recipe for Italian classics
- Miami restaurant review: Red Ginger is an Asian-inspired party den in South Beach
- 20 years in, Italian restaurant Spiga stays true to form in South Beach
- Review: Four stars for exceptional Alter in Wynwood
- Review: Tom Colicchio's Beachcraft shows potential in Miami Beach
- Review: Mezzes dominate but don't dazzle at Cleo in South Beach