We had dinner at the Confidante Miami hotel at 4041 Collins at the newly opened restaurant Bird and Bone, under the tutelage of Chef Richard Hales. He is the chef who also helms Blackbrick (a favourite) and Sakarya Kitchen. The spot was previously where Michelle Bernstein’s Seagrape was but never took off. They will be doing a total redo in early 2017. In the meantime, dinner is served at an outdoor space with a breezy, laid back, island vibe. Here Chef Hales and his Chef de Cuisine, Aaron Busch, meticulously execute their take on American Southern fare. Hales’ interpretation of American cuisine takes it to another level. I prefer this restaurant to Yardbird. His menu reflects the heart and soul of traditional country cuisine and shows a true passion for southern dining. Apparently, Hales travelled to Charleston, the Carolinas, Georgia and Nashville, and he brought back his ideas to Miami. The ingredients are sourced from small local farms and organic butchers. All the poultry and dairy offered on the menu is organic and all meat is raised responsibly.

The menu starts with charcuterie boards. We tried the cheese board with local Florida cheeses. Who knew Florida made such delicious cheeses? Our selection included cheddar, blue and Gouda sourced from local farmers. Hales’ wife makes the pepper jelly, house pickles and benne seed crackers to accompany the cheese board. A must try are the jars with homemade heirloom corn chips. It’s a trio of dips – avocado with blue cheese, honey and almonds, egg salad with 12-month aged ham and whipped sheep’s milk ricotta with pepper jelly. Another delightful dish is the wedge salad, which is actually romaine, with pepper bacon and smoked blue cheese in a shallot dressing. The seasonal picked local greens with heirloom tomatoes, radish and sunflower seeds with a green goddess dressing was a nice light choice. Another standout is the Florida cheddar and chive biscuits baked to order with Hales’ wife’s strawberry preserves. They actually made me do a happy dance. But the standout dish of the evening was the Nashville Hot Chicken. I wouldn’t call it spicy hot, but the best damn southern fried chicken I have EVER had. Hales brines the chicken and dry ages them, intensifying the flavours. Once aged, he soaks them in buttermilk and coats them in a flour with spices. They are then fried fresh to order and placed on a Zak the Baker bread. They are finished with Florida honey, house mustard and pickled cucumber. The bird is so moist and tender. Even the white meat met my expectations. This dish was truly unforgettable. Additionally, the menu offers lamb ribs and pork ribs. We tried the latter which are drizzled with a North Carolina mustard BBQ. The meat fell off the bone but was a touch dry. We also tried the shrimp and grits and the crispy skin snapper with heirloom green beans on a bed of whipped potatoes. There are also choices like the Bird of the Day or the Bone of the Day. Chef Hales doesn’t forget vegetarians or vegans either. He does a series of different vegetables. We tried the crispy Brussel sprouts and they were outstanding. He also does a variety of potatoes and grains as well. The sweet potato mash with maple bourbon butter was calling to me, and I must try them on my return. We had the special vegetable of the day, celery root done three ways – puréed, braised and caramelized. Who new celery root could taste so divine? The bar here has been renamed Nina’s and they offer cocktails made with fresh pressed juices and high-end artisanal spirits. The Strawberry Smash, made with bourbon, and the Purdy Pear, made with Absolut vodka and ginger beer, were great choices. There is also a great selection of local, draft and imported beers as well as reasonably priced wines.

Dessert here also delivered. The Abuela Maria Ice Cream, with cookies was tasty. And Wife Hales’ Fresh Baked Cookies are pretty delightful, especially the blueberry cream and chocolate chip. The menu also has choices like a chocolate bourbon cake, a fried apple pie and a key lime pie ice box cake.

For now the restaurant is open for breakfast and dinner. The breakfast menu looks pretty impressive too. They also serve lunch poolside. Sunday brunch is coming soon. If you have not tasted Richard Hales cuisine, you are in for a treat.

Highly recommend.

Happy dining,

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