Social Club at the Surfcomber Serves More Than Cocktails

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When you think of the Surfcomber, you probably have flashbacks of Winter Music Conference pool parties and bouncing beach balls. But that's in the past. Now the classy Social Club is serving modern American fare with Southern flair.

The chef behind it is Blair Wilson, who was chef de cuisine at Jackson 20 and Rustico in Washington, D.C., before moving to Miami in June.

See also: Michael's Genuine Food & Drink to Turn Eight; Introduces Raw Bar

Wilson's experience spans food metropolises, from New Orleans to Charleston to D.C. The chef has taken a bit from each community and culture where he's worked.

"D.C. is a melting pot of cultures, but Miami is definitely growing culinary-wise," he says.

Wilson has been adapting to the use of local ingredients here. "Miami doesn't have the seasons that I am used to, but I will try to use ingredients in tandem with seasons, with what's available, and with what our bartender, Chad Phillips, has on his menu."

Short Order was invited to taste the Social Club's revamped menu.

Start with an apple ginger (apple, pineapple, and ginger) for $10.

Grilled Camembert with truffled walnut honey, brandied cherry, and crostini ($14).

"Burrata is just basically everything I love about summer," Wilson says. Perfect, considering it's pretty much summer year-round here. This colorful rendition ($15) packs tomatoes from Paradise Farms, local peaches from Homestead, basil, and crostini, along with a zesty peach-jalapeño jam.

Another nod to Miami, Florida alligator is cooked to a crisp with shaved Brussels sprouts, barbecued pecans, and local honey ($15).

St. Louis-style ribs with a tamarind-chili glaze and jícama slaw ($16) is a dish that Wilson has evolved throughout the past 15 years of his career. "The technique is a little different from traditional ones." He uses a combination that involves brining, marinating, smoking, and then cooking the ribs sous vide for three days. "This saves all the flavor and stops it from getting lost in a grill or smoker. It doesn't overpower the dish either." Inspired by Miami cuisine, the chef decided on tamarind and ancho chillies instead of Carolina style. The sweet and spicy elements balance perfectly.

Sweet meets savory in ricotta doughnuts with dulce de leche ($10). You'll want to eat all of them, but show some restraint so you can take a few to go -- they are just as good the next day.

Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha

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