Having debuted during Art Basel 2010, Wynwood Kitchen & Bar quickly became the place to dine while visiting the galleries in Miami’s arts district. The restaurant’s doors are located right next to the famous Wynwood Walls - a collection of murals and courtyards that is better experienced than explained - and the restaurant’s exteriors, including its al fresco dining, seem to be halfway incorporated into the art installation. Graffiti artist Shepard Fairey’s politically-charged black, red, and white murals that occupy a full “Wynwood Wall” are reiterated inside the restaurant’s bar, which is plastered with the artist’s signature posters. Wynwood Kitchen & Bar feels as if it has always been part of Wynwood and was born out of the creative energy that hums throughout the entire district.
Executive Chef Miguel Aguilar’s cuisine offers a sophisticated menu with an emphasis on small plates that are heavily influenced by Miami’s very Latin culture. Dishes like ropa vieja empanadas, queso frito, and black bean soup ring familiar with many Miami natives. The restaurant has recently introduced several new additions to the menu that continue with the global Latino trend, as well as a cocktail list inspired by the many artists whose work graces the walls of Wynwood Kitchen & Bar.
For those who are always on the lookout for interesting cocktails, the artist-inspired cocktail menu offers a selection of libations that are each more intriguing than the next. The Shepard Fairey, a perfectly refreshing choice for the Pisco lover, consists of Pisco Porton, St. Germain, simple syrup, pineapple, and lime mint (a citrusy variety of the herb). The Nunca offers a bit more bite with the inclusion of grapefruit juice and Campari to a concoction of Absolut Ruby Red vodka and yuzu (a Japanese citrus fruit similar to lemon). Perhaps the most interesting cocktail that I sampled from Wynwood Kitchen & Bar’s menu was the Barry McGee, containing Bluecoat gin, hibiscus syrup, basil, lemon juice, and soda. The juniper quality of the gin plays very well with the anisette-like basil and tart, floral notes of the hibiscus.
Thin strips of pork belly rubbed with adobo offer crispy exteriors that give way to a melt-in-your-mouth combination of tender pork and creamy fat - a combination that any pork lover daydreams about. The accompanying lightly seasoned black lentil and diced sweet potato salad provides a bit of starch to soak up the richness, as well as a contrasting coolness and a pleasant mélange of earthy and sweet flavors. A dish of Pork rillettes on the menu will leave diners delighted by this Latin-inspired variation that more closely resembles Cuban lechon asado (tender roast suckling pig). A veritable brick of pulled pork arrives at the table encased in a crispy crust that breaks away easily in a slightly sweet and smoky roasted tomatillo sauce drizzled with chili oil. It is simply addicting and perhaps the best dish on Chef Aguilar’s new menu.
New desserts at Wynwood Kitchen & Bar can be quite decadent, such as a molten chocolate cake served inside a ramekin and intensely flavored with ancho chile and Mexican cinnamon with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. However, a Latin variation on a tiramisù, aptly called a Latin Misu, has espresso-soaked lady fingers, and lightly torched Italian meringue topping. A white chocolate bread pudding offers a great variation of texture from soft to slightly chewy, and is topped with a lightly tangy guava sauce that pairs so wonderfully with the rest of the dessert.
In our new foodie-driven culture, it’s evident that any great neighborhood needs great places to eat, and Wynwood is no exception. With restaurants like Wynwood Kitchen & Bar, as well as other new eateries and cafés in the area, it’s possible that Miami’s arts district will soon become Miami’s new dining destination.
Wynwood Kitchen & Bar
2550 Northwest 2nd Avenue
Miami, FL 33127