It's hard to believe that Verde, the restaurant inside PAMM, opened only in December. On a recent Tuesday, the café was practically filled to capacity during lunch service. It's a Stephen Starr restaurant, after all -- excellence is expected.
Saturdays and Sundays are no different, now that Verde offers brunch on weekends. Museum guests can now get their art with a view and a variety of brunch items. Stroll through the museum to work off your meal and all the delicious cocktails you'll be drinking.
Chef Nicolay Adinaguev has kept things simple and local, with a fresh, Florida-centric menu. Some favorites from the lunch menu have carried over to brunch, so visitors who can't break away from their jobs midweek can get their fix on the weekend. For cocktails, the selection ranges from classic bloody marys to more tropical concoctions such as guava margarita and blood orange mimosas. Try the spicy yuzu gin, which fuses Bombay gin, yuzu calpico, and jalapeño slices. There are no bottomless option here, but Verde makes up for it in tasty food.
In the warm shrimp salad, a lunch option, succulent Florida shrimp are lightly grilled and paired with mesclun greens, avocado, and a truffle beurre blanc dressing ($18). Course sea salt dots the salad and adds a nice bite to the dressing. If you're sharing, the friendly staff will divvy up your portion upon request. It's a perfect counterbalance to the less healthful -- but equally delectable -- options.
Other highlights carried over from the lunch menu include squash blossom pizza (zucchini, goat cheese, tomato sugo, and roasted garlic olive oil), bigeye tuna tartare, and Jonah crab ceviche -- a must on any visit.
But you're here for brunch, and brunch you shall get. Nothing says it better than eggs Benedict ($14). If you prefer your eggs in an omelet, Verde offers two options -- a Gruyère omelet with fines herbes and a spinach omelet with goat cheese and mushrooms.
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A smoked salmon bagel is always a solid brunch choice ($15). Nothing unusual about it -- tomato, capers, and cream cheese keep it simply fresh and simply delicious.
If you're a pancake person, you'll be particularly excited about these colossal ones ($12). They're about the size of our head. But what makes them really special is the maple syrup butter. That's right -- maple syrup butter topped with maple syrup (oh, and some fruit). If you're thinking that's too much syrup, brunch isn't the meal for you.
Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha