Vagabond as defined by Websters (on line, of course, not in that actual book with millions of words in it): a person who travels from place to place and does not have a home or much money; one leading a vagabond life especially a vagrant, tramp.
Vagabond, the new restaurant on Biscayne Boulevard, as defined by me: classically modern, always happening, with a globally inspired menu that oozes creativity. It’s a mid-century modern gem that is part of the newly restored Vagabond Hotel. This isn’t the dilapidated Biscayne Boulevard building you’ve driven by thousands of times. THIS is the new and improved Vagabond restaurant and bar. The shining star of the Miami Modern (MIMO) Historical District.
According to the press release, the Vagabond menu is “casual fine dining”. The casual part is what you might expect. It’s stuff you’ve seen at restaurants before like the Vagabond cheeseburger ($15), ricotta gnocchi ($15) (the ricotta keeps it light so it doesn’t sit in your stomach like a blob of play-doh but I digress), and sweet and sour sun shrimp ($14). Then comes some unexpected stuff like the pan seared beef heart ($13). They tell me it’s a top seller but i’ve gotta admit I haven’t had the nerve to order it. I did tap into my foodie fierceness and ordered the peanuts and chapulines ($6). Chapulines? What are those? Glad you asked: little grasshoppers. The Vagabond’s rising star chef, Alex Chang, gets them from Mexico and sautees them with peanuts, szechuan peppercorn, cilantro and lime. It’s tasty AND interesting. I mean when’s the last time you had grasshopper? Chef Alex is bringing his “A” game to go with the restaurants “A+” design.
Walk in the door you’re in the thick of it. The bar is always buzzing and the energy is always good. It’s part restaurant, part art gallery and all of the parts are expertly curated to go with that “old is new” vibe. The decor looks like a scene from Mad Men, retro but so modern. If this is the vagabond life then I think I found a new home.
Belkys Best Bite: Ricotta Gnocchi
Vagabond Restaurant and Bar
7301 Biscayne Blvd.