Brickell's Golden Fig Isn't Perfect Yet

Atlantic tuna tartare, with a preserved-lemon-and-saffron aioli.
Atlantic tuna tartare, with a preserved-lemon-and-saffron aioli.
Photo by David Salazar / Courtesy of Golden Fig

Sometimes, changing the menu simply isn't enough — you need to change the entire concept. At least that's what Michael Sullivan did a few months ago when he closed his popular Brickell gastropub, OTC, and opened Golden Fig (1250 S. Miami Ave., 305-374-4612) in its place.

Inspired by his conversations with chef Tomas Prado (the Bazaar, My Ceviche), the 28-year-old restaurateur decided he wanted to offer his customers a more polished dining experience with a focus on local ingredients. Named for an indigenous Florida tree, Golden Fig serves dinner and brunch in an intimate setting best described as farmhouse chic.

Miami-born Prado is behind the seasonal menu, which includes a cheese and charcuterie section and plenty of vegetarian options. Listed under the menu's snacks section, croquettes are made with hickory-smoked ham from Virginia ($8). There's no mistaking the smoky flavor and aroma of these delectable fried orbs. Conversely, the homemade duck prosciutto ($6) is a tad too fatty and underseasoned.

Trained at Johnson & Wales University, Prado clearly demonstrates a knack for seafood dishes. His tuna tartare, served with a preserved-lemon-and-saffron aioli ($15), tastes effortless, while his pan-seared scallops ($25) from Portland, Maine, are impressive. Sullivan explains they are of the dry variety — no water or preservatives have been added. This light dish, whose mollusks are served over a corn purée and fringed by a few pork-belly bites, is surprisingly filling.

Golden Fig's buttermilk fried chicken ($18) features a tender and juicy breast from Joyce Farms, but the skin falls off the flesh. However, a side of stir-fried quinoa and vegetables ($8) is bland, and potato purée ($7) is a watery disappointment.

Fortunately, a lovely organic peach cobbler ($9) smoothes things over. And the s'mores jar ($9) is sinfully good; all of its components, from the chocolate mousse and the graham cracker to the lightly torched marshmallow, are made in house, Sullivan says. It shows.

The prices, laid-back atmosphere, and friendly service are also appealing. Still, Golden Fig needs further work to elevate it from bronze to gold. In the meantime, don't miss the scallops and s'mores.

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