Openings

The Mayfair Grill Offers American-Southwest Cuisine in a Lush Garden Setting

Dishes at Mayfair Grill
Dishes at Mayfair Grill Photo by Patrick Michael Chin
The Mayfair Hotel was Coconut Grove's gem — more art piece than hotel, it featured a lobby with waterfalls, an atrium that gave the entire hotel an outdoor feel, and a rooftop pool. Though beautiful, the hotel eventually started to look more like a relic from the 1970s than a classic boutique establishment.

In 2019, the hotel was sold to Brookfield Asset Management and received a $50 million makeover. The renamed Mayfair House Hotel & Garden has reopened. Though the hotel has gotten a noticeable refresh, the DNA has been (thankfully) retained and some changes — made out of necessity — actually improve the property's function and charm.

Take, for example, one of the glass elevators that soared above the atrium. After it was found to be irreparable, the shaft was turned into a mini tequila bar. And part of the first-floor water fountain has been transformed into a dining patio that channels a lovely bistro in a seaside Mexican village.

What most Miamians will appreciate most about the newly reopened hotel is the Mayfair Grill, one of two food and beverage outlets by Lost Boy & Co., the owner/operator of downtown Miami's Lost Boy Dry Goods. (The partners have also opened SipSip, a cocktail bar on the rooftop of the hotel.)

Cofounders Randy Alonso and Chris Hudnall have redone the once-awkward, first-floor restaurant space — moving and expanding the bar to face the woodburning oven and opening the kitchen up for guests to see executive chef Sean Bernal and his team work in tandem to form a culinary ballet of sorts.

The restaurant serves American-Southwest cuisine that garners inspiration from Arizona, Mexico, and the Sonoran Desert. Chris Hudnall, an Arizona native, tells New Times when he moved to Miami he hadn't found any restaurant that served the food he grew up with. "When me and Randy (Alonso) and I were going through our journey at Mayfair Grill, I had always thought that Miami really does have such a rich international food scene, but I had yet to find the Southwestern flavors of Arizona and the flavors of Mexico done well."

Alonso is quick to agree. "Being born and raised in Miami, as soon as you say Southwestern, you think Tex-Mex, but Chris explained the food was more varied," he says.

Hudnall explains, "Arizona is a big agricultural state. There are places on the side of the road where you can get fire-roasted poblano peppers to make into a mole. Markets offer fresh artichokes, baby squash, a lot of species of peppers. We wanted to bring these flavors to Miami."

Nearly all dishes are fired either in the wood-burning oven or the Josper grill, lending a subtle smokiness to offerings like the picanha steak, the wood-oven cheese (an absolute must-order), and even the charred marshmallow dessert (a play on a campfire favorite).

The menu also offers two different Navajo breads — one topped with braised beef shank and the other with hen of the wood mushrooms. Says Hudnall, "This bread is what you get when you cross into the Native American reservations. I wouldn't say it's Sonoran cuisine, but it's our own versions of it."

The partners tapped Sean Bernal to run the kitchen after an extensive search. "We brought Sean in for a tasting and he did his research. The food was great," says Hudnall, adding, "Sean showed his true passion for seafood and open-fire cooking. He was so passionate about it."

The Mayfair Grill's breads are baked by Helen Kim of the soon-to-open Oori Bake Shop. A former bartender at Lost Boy, Kim started baking during the pandemic. Hudnall says she brought a few loaves to share and was impressed by her skills. "She started to really get her stride baking bread from her apartment and selling it to chefs around pandemic time." As she transitioned from bartender to baker, the Lost Boy partners decided to support her venture. "The sourdough is what we use for the wood-oven cheese and we use her Japanese milk bread at Fox's. She's truly passionate about baking."

On a recent Friday evening, the dining room was filled with people eating cactus fries and wood-fired cheese. In the coming weeks, as the weather becomes more beautiful, Mayfair Grill will offer a happy hour and brunch in the courtyard. "There's something really special about sitting around lush landscaping and greenery," says Hudnall.

Mayfair Grill. 3000 Florida Ave., Coconut Grove; 305-441-0000; mayfairhousemiami.com. Breakfast daily 7 to 11 a.m; Sunday through Thursday noon to 10 p.m, and Friday and Saturday noon to 11 p.m.
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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss

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