If the name doesn’t grab you the food certainly will! This new concept restaurant Walrus Rodeo, from the same people who brought you Michelin Star Boia De, located in the same plaza at 5143 NE 2nd Avenue, Little Haiti. Chefs Luciana Giangrandi and Alex Meyer have brought on partner and chef Jeff Maxfield to run things, who formerly worked at Toscana Divino, Ironside Pizza and as a corporate chef for Brad Kilgore. He’s cooked all over the world, from Italy, Spain, Mexico, Vietnam and Thailand. So, “This is not a pizza joint”, although it was previously. Don’t be fooled by the pizza oven although they do offer two pizzas nightly. Instead, you will find ingredient driven and locally sourced seasonal products. This new spot has become a sleeper hit in just a short time and for me one of my best meals in Miami.  

The menu is concise, offering 9 appetizers, 7 mains and 2 desserts. The menu may read like it is understated but it is anything but, with unique and ambitious dishes, a real trailblazer, and a ‘rodeo’ if you will.

The décor is country western, meets Italian, meets rock. It’s actually hard to describe, but the 32 seat establishment is casual and definitely fun. The central wood fire is the star of the show. We couldn’t snag reservations as this is the new hot “it” place, so we came at the opening as walk-ins, and got a seat at the 9 seat bar. Our bartender/server, Sean, was fun, knowledgeable and gave us some great recommendations. 

From the appetizer section I had two memorable and standout dishes. The charbroiled oysters with jalapeño, Franciacorta, and tomato conserva, were a cut above any other variation I have had of this dish. My husband who never eats oysters was devouring them. Another dish that didn’t read well and was suggested by Sean, a vegan carrot plate done 5 ways, was outstanding. It looked just like a tuna tartare, but it had carrot top salsa verde, mustard seeds and espuma. Trust me, you need to try it. We also munched on schmaltz roasted maitake mushrooms, with heirloom beans, tuscan kale and sesame seeds. This place offers a lot of elevated vegan and vegetarian plates. We chose the rodeo pizza with anchovies, spicy tomatoes and maple brown butter. The crust was perfect. Next up a wood fire quail with fermented pineapple, peperonata and rodeo ranch dressing. The mustard green lasagna was a highlight and something like I’ve never had before. It had a neat crusty edge and inside was a lamb ragu, grana padana and stracchino which gave it a different and interesting profile than a traditional lasagna. 

Almost every dish is kissed by fire, including one of our desserts, a ‘Bust-A-Rhyme’, graham churro, with birch marshmallow and an oaxacan chocolate. The bar serves low alcohol drinks, cocktails, beers and wines. 

I was impressed with the friendliness of the staff. (Someone spilled a shopping cart outside of the restaurant and half of the staff came out to help a complete stranger pick up his mess.) They also changed plates between courses and re-folded napkins. I was also dazzled by the multidimensional flavours, the purity of the ingredients and all the dishes that had so many wonderful components and concentrated flavours. Michelin should definitely check out this place next time they are in town!

Recommend enthusiastically.

Happy dining,




  1. Cookie says:

    Glad you were able to go…I have tried staying up to midnight to book this new restaurant as well as Boia De and so far no luck this season.

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