Enough With the Pork, Miami: Here's a Case for Vegetables

How do you know you're in a cool Miami restaurant?

The setting is festooned with Edison bulbs. The menu includes an heirloom tomato and burrata salad, perhaps year-round. The chef relishes pork belly. There's charcuterie, pickles, free-range chicken, beets paired with goat cheese, and servers who recite, "Dishes come out as they're ready." There are no tablecloths. There are shared plates. And there most certainly aren't too many vegetables.

In a city where local produce should be prized for its scarcity, chefs still banish greens to the beginning of the meal or the side of the plate. Which is why I've gotta say: Enough with the pork, Miami.

See also: In 2013, Miami's Food Scene Finally Blossomed

The Magic City has come a long way in 2013. We've got a brewery, a yakitori joint, and two vegan bakeries. We're finally a fine-food town. But that doesn't mean there isn't more work to be done.

Nationally, the age of pork belly has come and gone. While Food & Wine Magazine and Bon Appétit announce the vegetable revolution like it's the second coming of Jesus, Miami is still oohing and aahing about short-rib sliders and bacon-wrapped dates. Kale has finally arrived in the 305. But others are wondering whether kohlrabi will be the next darling of Brooklyn.

We don't need a vegetarian restaurant. (Although it wouldn't hurt.) I'm just saying pork has been in the spotlight for too long here. It's restricting our creativity. Miami's menus are beginning to resemble checklists: poultry, short ribs, local fish, and the mandatory vegetarian pasta.

Vegetables are versatile. They're tough to mess up, and perhaps most important, José Andrés thinks they're sexy.

Right now, Miami is at its prime. Farmers are at the market. Foragers are frolicking through the Redland. And chefs should be flipping out over scoring the best radishes in town. So sauté those green beans with sauerkraut and smoked pork, but let the beans shine.

They deserve a moment of their own too.

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Emily Codik