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Behind the Line: Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill

Chef Timon Baloo ready to shout out a ticket.
Chef Timon Baloo ready to shout out a ticket.
photos by Jacob Katel

Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill in Midtown Miami is a busy place on a Friday night. As Lee Klein says in his review of the place, "A tsunami of near unanimous praise has catapulted Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill to the top of Miami's dining scene at breakneck speed." Here's a behind-the-line view of the action thanks to Chef de Cuisine Timon Balloo, Sous Chef Angel Leon, Sushi Samba Corporate Sushi Chef Koji Kagawa and all the kitchen, and front of the house staff for letting us invade their space and for hooking it up with a killer steamed pork bun and a piece of squid hot off the grill.

Bacon wrapped dates with linguica and manchego.
Bacon wrapped dates with linguica and manchego.
Tripe with kimchi.
Tripe with kimchi.
Blue 42, blue 42, hike.
Blue 42, blue 42, hike.
Fish presentation for mung fish special.
Fish presentation for mung fish special.
Chef's mung fish special. Note the small green mung beans.
Chef's mung fish special. Note the small green mung beans.
Line cooks at work and fungi.
Line cooks at work and fungi.
The line.
The line.

 

Working the robata grill.
Working the robata grill.
Traditional Japanese binchotan white charcoal. It is favored by yakitori cooks "because it does not release smoke or other unpleasant flavors."
Traditional Japanese binchotan white charcoal. It is favored by yakitori cooks "because it does not release smoke or other unpleasant flavors."
Sous Chef Angel Leon works the robata grill.
Sous Chef Angel Leon works the robata grill.
Seasoning freshly grilled corn.
Seasoning freshly grilled corn.
Flame grilled corn special.
Flame grilled corn special.
Grilled calamari special.
Grilled calamari special.
Dining room view from behind the robata grill.
Dining room view from behind the robata grill.
In the dining room. Tables to the left, booths to the right.
In the dining room. Tables to the left, booths to the right.

 

Sushi Samba Corporate Sushi Chef Koji Kagawa at work.
Sushi Samba Corporate Sushi Chef Koji Kagawa at work.
Dressing the Crunchy Tuna specialty roll (avocado, sweet chili) with spicy tempura flakes.
Dressing the Crunchy Tuna specialty roll (avocado, sweet chili) with spicy tempura flakes.
Jumbo Madagascar shrimp cocktail.
Jumbo Madagascar shrimp cocktail.
Jamón Serrano with arugula and figs.
Jamón Serrano with arugula and figs.
First to correctly identify this dish in the comments section using valid email address for contact wins a prize.
First to correctly identify this dish in the comments section using valid email address for contact wins a prize.
Sushi by the piece.
Sushi by the piece.
Chef Kagawa expediting orders.
Chef Kagawa expediting orders.
Dining room view from sushi kitchen/raw bar.
Dining room view from sushi kitchen/raw bar.

 

Back in the main kitchen.
Back in the main kitchen.
Steamed pork bun with apple kimchi and cilantro.
Steamed pork bun with apple kimchi and cilantro.
Ticket window bird's eye.
Ticket window bird's eye.
Goat cheese croquettes served with membrillo marmalade.
Goat cheese croquettes served with membrillo marmalade.
Wedge salad with blue cheese, tomato, and bacon.
Wedge salad with blue cheese, tomato, and bacon.
"Kobe" beef sliders with tonkatsu and quail egg.
"Kobe" beef sliders with tonkatsu and quail egg.
Fried lobster claw for sushi kitchen.
Fried lobster claw for sushi kitchen.
Charcuterie plate with artisanal meats, olives, mustard, toast.
Charcuterie plate with artisanal meats, olives, mustard, toast.
Crispy sweetbreads with capers, oranges, arugula.
Crispy sweetbreads with capers, oranges, arugula.

 

Vanilla panna cotta backed by torrejas backed by chocolate peanut butter caramel bar.
Vanilla panna cotta backed by torrejas backed by chocolate peanut butter caramel bar.
Rhubarb cobbler served with brown sugar streusel and goat cheese ice cream.
Rhubarb cobbler served with brown sugar streusel and goat cheese ice cream.
The working kitchen.
The working kitchen.
Prep work.
Prep work.
The fountain when you walk in.
The fountain when you walk in.
At the bar.
At the bar.
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