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Review

Cleveland Jennings

27 Restaurant

Written by
Cleveland Jennings

Having friends over for dinner and drinks can be intimidating. Sure, by this point they probably accept most of your flaws, but how will they react to your lack of giant spherical ice cubes? And will they ever want to hang out again after they find out that your bathroom door only kind of closes?

These are valid concerns that you won’t have to worry about, though, if you just grab a reservation at 27. Eating here is like having an open invitation to the coolest house in Miami, where you can eat, drink, and never have to worry about making Old Fashioneds with crushed ice after running out of the four ice spheres you have in your freezer.

Cleveland Jennings

27 is attached to the Freehand hostel and the Broken Shaker, both of which attract the type of people who somehow make large, unwieldy hats look cool. But 27 is easily the best piece of it all. It’s a lot more laid back than the insanely expensive hotels around the corner, where you’re always slightly nervous that you’ll trip and fall onto an irreplaceable piece of art. The two-story space has a few dining rooms, each of which is furnished with the kind of vintage tropical decor you always hope you’ll discover in thrift stores - like picnic benches, floral curtains, and antiques that will make you feel like you’re eating in the house of a very hip abuela.

Just being at 27 can trick you into thinking that you could pull off one of those wide-brimmed hats you’ve always been too scared to wear in public. That’s a big reason why people come here with dates they want to impress or friends from out of town who think all of Miami Beach looks like Ocean Drive. When you bring someone to dinner at 27, it’s like introducing them to Brad Pitt. And then, on the ride home, when they bring up the fact that you know Brad Pitt, you can be all casual, like, “Who Brad? Yeah. He’s great isn’t he?”

Cleveland Jennings

The delicious and slightly random menu at 27 bounces from Florida to the Mediterranean with pit stops in Latin America, Korea, and the Atlantic ocean. The local catch crudo and daily catch are always delicious. The arepa platter - which comes with ropa vieja, cheese, and a few sauces - is also great to share and lets you customize your perfect arepa. They use ingredients from their little on-site garden next to the pool in salads, daily specials, and cocktails, which are also a huge part of the menu. You should get one, especially if your table plans on going out after dinner.

And “going out” can just mean walking next door to the Broken Shaker, where there’s almost always a crowd regardless of how hot it is outside. You’re welcome to use the pool, though, even if you’re not staying at the Freehand. That’s the kind of hospitality you’d expect at a friend’s house, not a restaurant. But that’s the best part about 27: it feels like both. And the bathroom doors work too.

Food Rundown

Local Catch Crudo

Your server can tell you what fish you’ll be eating today, not that it really matters. Every version of this is delicious.

Griot & Pikliz

This excellent Haitian favorite should be on your table, especially if you’re a big fan of pork. These chunks of pork shoulder are crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside. Get some of that spicy slaw on your fork too and you’re very close to a perfect bite.

Yogurt Tahini Massaged Kale

Whoever massaged all this kale probably has massive forearms because there is a tiny mountain of it on the plate. The kale - not unlike ourselves after a massage - is quite tender and has a nice citrus bite to it. This is an especially good veggie to share with a group of three or more.

Kimchi Fried Rice

If you really love kimchi, you’ll probably wish this came with a little more of it. But the fried rice itself is perfect and comes topped with two sunny-side-up eggs you can mix into the rice to make the whole thing even better.

Gabe’s Arepa Platter

This is probably the best and tastiest thing on the menu to share with the table. It comes with eight halved arepas, which you can stuff with your ideal ratio of shredded ropa vieja, queso de mano, avocado, hogado, and aji. But someone needs to monitor the table to make sure no one hogs the cheese.

Daily Catch

We don’t know what the catch of the day will be, but we know it’ll be awesome - because everything that comes in this yellow coconut curry is awesome.

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