There are a ton of chic new restaurants popping up around Miami’s Brickell avenue. Brickell is becoming the new “it” place for the young, urban professional. Saturday night, I decided to give a new Brickell eatery a whirl and tried JB Kitchen and Bar.
The restaurant is spacious, airy and the decor is modern, yet comfortable and cozy. We sat outside to enjoy the cool night air and avoid the utterly empty inside. The restaurant patronage was sparse despite the 8:30 Saturday night timing of our arrival. The menu is full of options you might expect at a Miami eatery…American fare with a few Latin inspired twists. There are burgers and sandwiches, pastas, steaks and the Peruvian classic, Lomo Saltado.
We ordered the Cheeseburger minus bacon, the special for the evening, a surf and turn with New York Strip Steak and prawns and to top it off we decided to try the lobster mac and cheese recommended by our often absent waiter. Before we could order we were transported into a twilight zone of limbo when our waiter came a few minutes after our drink orders arrived. We asked a few questions about the menu and then announced we were ready to order. Instead of pulling out the notepad to take our order, he said, “Let me get your order in just a minute…I have a table that just arrived and I need to greet them.”
Okaaaay. So we waited, joked about the lousy tip he was earning, waited some more, cursed him out, waited some more and literally 15 minutes later he arrived to take our order. Needless to say, the biggest beef with this restaurant is the service which should have been fabulous considering the place was E-M-P-T-Y. There is nothing worse than being in a near empty restaurant…oh wait…there is…being in a near empty restaurant with an absentee server.
Ten minutes after the waiter took our order, some bread arrived at the table. The bread was fine (average) and a welcome addition to the table. The food arrived well presented, hot and meats cooked exactly to our specifications. The burger was a good, solid burger with nice flavor and cooked well. The New York strip was a little fatty, but tasted fine. The best part of the surf and turf was the prawns which were cooked perfectly and had a great flavor. The texture was perfect and seasoning was spot on. The mac and cheese was fine, but probably not worth the calories. Overall the food was good, but nothing out of this world.
We finished off the meal with the chocolate molten cake which was again good but not earth shattering. The bill arrived and before we could assess the amount of tip we wanted to leave, we noticed an 18% gratuity had been included. How very European of them to include a tip for a table of two! We paid the bill and bid adieu to this restaurant with solid food and less than solid service.
Overall, I give JB Kitchen and Bar two fabs out of five for its solid food but less than desirable empty atmosphere, shameful service and even more shameful forced 18% gratuity for sub 10% service. If the place livens up a bit, we think it could definitely rise on the fab meter.
JB Kitchen and Bar
1250 S Miami Ave
Miami, FL 33130