Dirt's New Summer Menu: The Best Vegetarian Chili You've Ever Had

A new soda at Dirt features blueberry, orange blossom, mint soda, and a touch of house-made syrup.
A new soda at Dirt features blueberry, orange blossom, mint soda, and a touch of house-made syrup.
Photo by Valeria Nekhim

For Dirt's director of operations and chef, Nicole Votano, it's important that the healthy fast-casual eatery continues evolving and doesn't become stale. It's why she's adamant about changing the menu to reflect the seasons and customer preferences. For summer 2016, the new plates will focus on peas, mushrooms, broccoli, and asparagus, Votano says. 

Dirt is all about serving affordable, all-natural food that's made from scratch without any additives. Vegetables are the foundation for nearly every dish, and diners can add their choice of protein from options such as quinoa-crusted day-boat fish, free-range orange-basil chicken, cage-free eggs, and sprouted chickpeas and lentils. Here, you order at the counter and then wait for your items to be delivered to your table unless you're taking it to go. An added perk is Dirt lists nutritional information for the entire menu. 

A couple of months ago, Votano, who was previously executive chef at Fooq's and Crumb on Parchment, went on a research trip to Los Angeles. The mother of two says she returned to Miami inspired and is particularly proud of the improvements and updates made to Dirt's drink menu. For starters, the South Beach restaurant has partnered with Miami's JoJo Tea and uses those products in its new spice tea latte and matcha green tea latte. There's also a lavender latte on the menu that Votano first tried in Napa Valley a while ago and fell in love with. It's subtly sweet with a pleasant aroma of the soothing herb ($5.50). All coffee- and tea-based drinks can be ordered hot or cold. 

Also new on the menu is a section featuring open-faced sandwiches made with grilled Zak the Baker bread. Peas are a focus this season, so try the toast topped with whipped goat cheese, lemon-scented peas, toasted pumpkin, and sunflower and hemp seeds ($9.50). The kitchen has also added a sandwich packed with braised beets, avocado, fennel, cucumber, arugula, French feta, golden raisins, and lemon vinaigrette ($10.50). Get it in a collard wrap if you're Paleo, gluten-free, or simply feel like it. Indeed, Dirt has a vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and Paleo menu to accommodate customers' needs. 

New Times was invited to try some of the new summer dishes. Here's a rundown:

Dirt's vegetarian chili is filling and scrumptious.
Dirt's vegetarian chili is filling and scrumptious.
Photo by Valeria Nekhim Lease

Sure, traditional chili isn't exactly a summery dish, but Votano's version is fresh, creamy, and delicious. It includes sweet potatoes, local peppers, and zucchini slow-cooked with a house-made smoky spice blend, heirloom beans, and stewed tomatoes. It's then topped with Greek yogurt, sharp cheddar, jalapeño jack cheese, and spring onions and served over bamboo rice. It's vegetarian and gluten-free and can be made vegan if you subtract the cheese. It's a hearty dish, and you really don't miss the meat because of the multitude of textures and flavors. It's hands down the best vegetarian chili in town. 

The seasonal plate is vegetable-rich and comes with a choice of protein.
The seasonal plate is vegetable-rich and comes with a choice of protein.
Photo by Valeria Nekhim Lease

The seasonal plate is composed of Greek-yogurt-and-olive-oil smashed potatoes, spicy grilled broccolini, herbs, and shaved vegetables, plus a choice of protein. Try it with quinoa-crusted salmon, with a crust that's light yet crisp and well-seasoned. And even without milk or cream, the potatoes are surprisingly rich and tasty. 

Pastries are new at Dirt, and this peach and honey crostada is a winner.
Pastries are new at Dirt, and this peach and honey crostada is a winner.
Photo by Valeria Nekhim Lease

Dirt also now serves a selection of pastries, including a peach and honey crostada. The mix of sweet and tangy is lovely and the crust excellent. The fast-casual eatery was packed during our lunch, and Chef Votano and her partners are considering expanding their concept in Miami. Clearly, people can't get enough of Dirt's healthful, fast, and affordable fare.

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Dirt

232 Fifth St.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

305-239-3000

dirteatclean.com


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