When thinking about what makes the perfect brunch, a few deal-breaker ingredients come to mind. For starters, the food needs to be tasty, and the menu must balance breakfast- and lunch-oriented plates (it's called brunch for a reason). A quaint, quiet atmosphere is essential too. Brunch parties are fun every once in a while, but free-flowing booze and obnoxiously loud DJs are for Saturday nights, not Sunday mid-mornings.
About a month ago, when Pinch Kitchen unveiled its iteration of the beloved weekend meal, cult brunch-goers had high expectations. The Biscayne corridor, which houses Pinch and is a few minutes away from neighborhoods like Miami Shores, El Portal, and Shorecrest, has been in need of a neighborhood gem on Saturdays and Sundays. It's safe to say those expectations were met and then exceeded.
The eatery, which opened about six months ago, describes its experience as "small bites, big impact." Though it sounds like a lofty statement to fill, chefs/partners John Gallo and Rene Reyes make it look easy.
If you've eaten here for dinner, brunch is a bit different, which makes Pinch dynamic. The best way to imagine it is to think of its slogan: "A pinch of this — a pinch of that." The menu features an eclectic bunch of mismatched plates that together create a flavorful and filling meal. There are fewer specials and more staples, though the menu is still on the smaller side.
Inside the restaurant on weekend mornings, light delicately shines in, and the volume is mostly a hush. Expect most tables to be filled, though the overall atmosphere keeps a laid-back and calm vibe. There are ten dishes to choose from, along with two desserts. Make your meal bottomless (for $25 extra) with red or white house wine, a chef's choice beer, or mimosas. But don't worry, Pinch's boozy twist doesn't take away from its homey and peaceful experience.
New Times was invited for a taste of nearly every plate. Though the menu is modest, each dish turned out to be more filling and satisfying than expected.
In typical 305 fashion, begin with an order of ceviche ($14). It's served in a petite Mason jar with a blend of corvina, shrimp, corn, red onion, ají limo, and citrus. Thin yuca chips are served alongside, adding an extra crunch. It's a perfect share-for-two plate to prepare your palate for what's to come.
To get the most out of your meal, Pinch suggests sharing. Consider an order of the brisket slider ($7) and the egg in a basket ($9). The slider is served between a feathery potato roll, oozing so much tender brisket that it's a bit much to eat by hand. Keep napkins and silverware close by. The egg in a basket, which is a little less messy, is served with a gooey egg inside an edible potato-crusted bowl. Slices of whole-wheat toast are served alongside, giving you no excuse to not get every last bit of egg yolk. Be sure to order a side of applewood-smoked bacon too ($4).
Transition to sweet with Pinch's stuffed French toast ($16). A thick slice of brioche is infused with guava and whipped queso crema and then topped with powdered sugar. Though it looks too rich to finish, it's relatively light and airy.
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If you thought this meal couldn't get any sweeter, think again. There are two dessert options ($8): chocolate soufflé, served in a tiny hollowed-out orange, and baba au rhum, served with a scoop of thyme gelato. If you're sightly hungover from last night's revelry, pass on the rum-soaked cakes and go straight for the chocolate.
Brunch is served Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, visit pinchmiami.com.