Chez Madame John's Restaurant
This North Miami Haitian restaurant got its start in a home kitchen where the owner sold her amazingly good griot to Haitian expats hungry for a taste of home. Griot is one of Haiti’s national dishes and consists of chunks of pork marinated in a complex mix of spices called epis, slowly braised (sometimes overnight), and then quickly deep fried before serving. The end result is a mountain of fatty and lean pork pieces that are crunchy on the outside and super tender on the inside. Chez Madame John makes one of the best versions around and each order is made fresh. You can opt for the griot simple, which comes with a side of bannann peze and pikliz, or go for the griot complèt with a side of diri kole—a dish of beans and rice cooked together with cloves.
The griot is well worth the long wait time you’ll often encounter here. The fried pork chunks are perfectly crispy on the outside, and somehow both the lean and fatty pieces are fried to equal perfection. The seasoning is just spicy enough, and the crispy crust on each piece of griot gives way to unbelievably tender and juicy meat. This is one of the best examples of—not just griot—but pork in all of Miami.
These fritters are made from malanga, which tastes kind of like a mix of chestnuts and funky cheese. They’re seasoned with a spice blend that includes thyme, chiles, onions, and garlic before getting shaped into little fingers and dunked into hot oil. They’re crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. A dunk in the tangy pikliz slaw is highly recommended.
The tassot kabrit is a close second to the griot, which makes sense: it’s basically griot in goat form. The seasoning is very similar, too—savory and slightly spicy—but the meat is leaner and has a much deeper flavor than pork without being as gamey as lamb. As with all Madame John’s fried meats (collectively called fritay in Creole), a crisp outer shell conceals super tender, slowly braised meat.