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Rusty Pelican Offers Seafood-Inspired Brunch Feast

Miami has no shortage of brunch spots, but a restaurant with a seafood-inspired brunch menu is ironically a rarity. Avoid a two-hour trek to the Keys with a quick trip to the Rusty Pelican instead. Unlike most locales, which default to traditional offerings such as pancakes and eggs or plates with a stark Latin twist, the Rusty Pelican tastefully melds delectables like lobster and crab into Benedicts and omelets. 

A $7 million renovation in 2012 refined the restaurant's rustic vibe, taking the seafood joint from nautical to lavish. The waterfront view remained just as powerful, highlighted through clear bay windows and from outdoor tables surrounded by lit fire pits. Four years later, the swank atmosphere remains stylishly updated, keeping the Pelican both a culinary example and a city landmark.

On a weekend visit to brunch (New Times was invited for a taste), the indoor and outdoor spaces were vibrant. Most tables were filled, topped with bubbly drinks and hearty plates. Though the menu features appetizers, sushi, salads, lunch, and a raw bar, it's the "Brunchy Type of Things" section, crafted by executive chef Jim Pastor, that makes the eatery worth a visit. 

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That section features 13 plates, four of which are Benedicts ($17 to $42). Make it a point to try one, such as the smoked salmon, crabcake, Maine lobster, or filet mignon. All are placed on brioche toast or a crisp potato-hash patty, except the lobster iteration, which comes on Pastor's jalapeño-cheddar cornbread. Served with about a pound of lobster, each plate comes with two Benedicts topped with a runny poached egg and crisp shallots. Though the dish sports a substantial amount of seafood, it's balanced by Pastor's sweet and salty bread, lightly toasted to give a slight crunch on the outside while keeping it an airy and buttery taste on the inside.
Seafood aside, the menu features Pastor's pork belly waffle sandwich ($16), where Niman Ranch pork belly is stuffed between two slices of savory chive waffle, along with sun-dried tomato, baby arugula, and maple mustard sauce; and fried chicken and waffles ($27), made with a savory 24-hour-brined half-chicken and sweet waffles, then topped with grilled watermelon and sriracha maple syrup.
For something sweet, consider Pastor's crusted French toast ($17). Made with almond butter and banana-stuffed brioche, the dish features four slices of bread that are coated with frosted flakes and salted caramel and then fried. Cinnamon whipped cream and raspberries top it off, and banana paste temptingly oozes from the brioche's center. 

Brunch runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information, visit therustypelican.com

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