MIAReview

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings

Jass Kitchen  image
7.8

Jass Kitchen

Mediterranean

Buena Vista

$$$$Perfect For:Live MusicFirst/Early in the Game DatesDate NightEating At The Bar

Included In

It is hard to stay mad at a baby. Or a puppy. Or (rest in peace) Leslie Jordan (not that he ever did anything wrong). And what do these things have in common with Jass Kitchen, a Mediterranean restaurant in Buena Vista? They’re cute. Like, the kind of white-knuckle cuteness that makes you want to crush the very thing you find cute to dust.

And for this reason, it’s hard to get mad at Jass’ shortcomings, like service that moves a tad slow, or a few underseasoned dishes. But Jass doesn’t need to provide a technically flawless hospitality experience. What this place does so well is ambiance. It’s a restaurant you visit when you want to feel unironically romantic, sway to a saxophone, and leisurely eat a few tasty things in the process.

Jass Kitchen  image

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings

But even removed from its painful cuteness, and judged solely as a restaurant, we still like Jass. The food is a mix of straightforward Mediterranean mezze with a few unique entrees sprinkled in. Nothing is bad, it’s all reasonably priced, served in generous portions, and tastes like family recipes written on a tattered napkin instead of meticulously fussy dishes you’d find in a glossy cookbook. Plus, they keep salt on the table in case you also think the otherwise delicious baked lamb stew could use just a little more salinity. 

If you do find yourself dwelling on any of the restaurant’s flaws while here, do this: Look around. Take in the brick columns, the chandeliers, the real candle flickering in the center of your table, which a server lights as you take your seat. Absorb the live jazz playing at an ideal volume in the corner of the dining room (which usually takes place Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights). Feel grateful that you finally found a perfect date spot where you can get a bottle of wine for under $50. That should snap you out of it. What’s the rush anyway?

Jass Kitchen  image

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings

Because this place has a way of boosting moods, use it for a date you want to impress, or a date who you’re trying to make up to after (for the second year in a row) thinking their birthday was on July 14th instead of June 14th. Bring them here and hopefully they, too, will find their frustrations evaporating. Jass has that effect on people.  

Food Rundown

Jass Kitchen  image

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings

Mix Mezze Trio

This is a great way to start a meal here, and you get to choose your three mezze. Our personal power ranking is: muhammara, tzatziki, and the hummus. We’re also thankful for the generous serving of pita that comes along with it.
Jass Kitchen  image

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings

Clay Lamb

The clay pot comes to the table encased in a dome of delicious brioche. Your server slices it open at the table, steam dramatically billows out, and then you can have at this stew of tender lamb and vegetables—which is a tad underseasoned, but cooked perfectly. It’s one of those rare Miami dishes that’s appropriate on a chilly night. But we order it regardless of the temperature, and you should too.
Jass Kitchen  image

Pavlova

If you’re one of those people who doesn’t like your dessert too sweet, order this. It has pieces of macerated butternut squash and a smear of tahini that gives the dish a savoriness to counterbalance the sweet pavlova. Plus, like all pavlovas, it’s very fun to smash apart with your fork.

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FOOD RUNDOWN

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