October 2, 2014

Florida Life - Dining

Sustaining Miami

The Sustain Restaurant and Bar

| 7/13/2011

Sustain Restaurant + Bar
3252 N.E. 1st Ave., No. 107, Miami
305/424-9079

Sustain's 'kitchen sink'
Sustain's "kitchen sink": Roasted vegetables, soft egg, greens, focaccia, grain pilaf
[Photo: Victor Sanabrais]

Funky, high-style MiMo hardly seems the setting for fresh-from-the-field food. With its otherworldly twig walls and basket ceiling, there's more sci-fi than farmhouse about the urbane look of Sustain.

But the Fifty Mile Salad brings the proof — an organic, local and eco-friendly bounty, all harvested from four separate farms in the un-urban corners of Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

Sustain Restaurant + Bar
This is one spot on the Miami hip parade where foraging trumps decorating. The food is uptown down-home, from ricotta pancakes and poached eggs to bone marrow gravy and mini corn dogs. The menu spells out sources for more than a dozen ingredients: Borek Farm beets and Swank Farms carrots, turnips and watercress — many within an hour's drive and a lightyear's cultural journey.

The restaurant skips the "when available" proviso on many menus, but finding the goods is not easy or cheap when the movement has barely sprouted in Florida.

Like many American chefs, Sustain's Alejandro Pinero turns to Benton Farms in Tennessee for the pork and bacon of the moment, and chicken is from North Carolina. But he finds a lot of meat and poultry at home. Four Arrows Ranch in Ocala supplies grass-fed beef for the burgers, and duck comes from LaBelle by Okeechobee. Of course, seafood is from south Florida. Bleu cheese comes from Winter Park Dairy, Florida's star cheese maker, and goat cheese is from locally based Hani Khouri.

In the kitchen, Miami whimsy combines with hand-crafted effort — watermelon tossed with citrus and thyme or pork rillettes served as in a French bistro. Boniato, the starchy Latin favorite, becomes "gnocchi"-style dumplings. Swordfish is served on white beans.

Tags: Dining & Travel

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