Brunch in South Beach usually equates to free-flowing booze, a DJ playing sultry beats, and a dress code where less is more. As weekend sunshine peeks through floor-to-ceiling windows inside Upland, the collaborative eatery from restaurateur Stephen Starr and chef Justin Smillie, you'll find something strange by South Beach standards: families with children, couples, and friends quietly chitchatting over pistachio pizza and eggs Norwegian.
The restaurant, which opened in late November in SoFi, is behind the neighborhood's newest brunch, which breaks many unspoken traditions of typical South Beach spots. For starters, there is no DJ and there never will be. Diners can find bottomless booze ($26), but it's limited to mimosas, bloody marys, and rosé meant more for relaxation than continuing Saturday night's shenanigans.
Brunch at Upland is calm, basking in its own warm glow, reminiscent of a café in Paris. The food and decor channel a Northern vibe, similar to Upland's original location in New York City.
Inviting comfort food nods to rustic Italian, and 95 percent of the dishes, including during brunch, are cooked in an oversize wood-burning pizza oven or the adjoining coal oven, giving plates a hint of smoke without a charred taste.
The brunch menu, listings an assortment of breakfast or lunch plates, allows diners to customize their meal.
As you await a bloody mary, consider for your appetizer the asparagus and fried egg ($12), which coats the pencil-thin spears in Parmesan, breadcrumbs, black pepper, and a farm egg.
Those in the mood for breakfast should opt for an eggs Benedict, which places smoked salmon or country ham and a juicy poached egg drizzled in Meyer lemon hollandaise on a toasted English muffin ($16 to $17). For something sweeter, a plate of pancakes comes smothered with whipped cream, strawberries, and butter ($13).
For lunch, consider the cheeseburger, a beef patty piled with American cheese, Peppadew peppers, and avocado ($19), or the pistachio pizza, which blends mozzarella and fontina cheese with red onions and a smattering of crunchy baked pistachios.
For a little of everything, try a smoked and preserved board, fit for two to three diners. It comes with house-cured salmon pastrami, tuna prosciutto, smoked sturgeon, boquerones, whipped farmer's cheese, toasted bagels, pita, and za'atar bread ($35).
Whatever you order, don't pass up the avocado toast ($10). Half an avocado is seasoned and ready to be scooped onto a toasted slice of bread.
Brunch runs Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit uplandmiami.com or call 305-602-9998.
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