Tired of the same old brown bag paper lunch or simply want to get out of the office for something other than Subway? Good news: Vagabond Restaurant & Bar is now serving lunch. Well, starting Tuesday, which is perfect considering you'll be recovering from Memorial Day festivities and either craving a) breaded pork, or b) a hearty and healthy salad. Lucky for you, they're serving both.
The MiMo eatery, which opened at the beginning of 2014 and is helmed by 25-year-old Alex Chang, has already become a go-to for locals looking for innovative dishes you can't get anywhere else — such as beef heart tartare and jerk chicken wings. "The goal was to always do lunch," says Chang. "We just wanted to get our feet under us and make sure we were properly executing dinner before we took it on."
"You could say we opened on the basis of what we thought was most important." By that, he means first came dinner, then tackling Miami's growing brunch craze, and now lunch as the third base. For the home run, Vagabond will introduce breakfast. "Given we're in a hotel, we want to cater to all meal periods."
So, what's for lunch? It's basically an amalgamation of dinner's lighter fare and brunch's non-egg dishes. Eventually, however, more novel dishes will be incorporated. "We're starting out with one – a Japanese meatball sandwich." Said sarnie, dubbed Tsukune, will contain tare, nori, scallion, and pickled cucumber.
Other items include the dinner's über successful stracciatella with leek, oil, and country bread ($15); zucchini salad with sauce pipian, pistachio, and tarragon ($12); little gem lettuce with walnut and anchovy dressing ($11); and the Vagabond cheeseburger with dry-aged beef, B&B pickle, and remoulade on a potato bun ($15).
Brunch favorites that have made their way onto the lunch menu consist of Genova tuna melt with aged Hook's cheddar on sourdough ($12); Chinese chicken with herbs, avocado, citrus, almonds ($14); turkey sandwich with provolone, lettuce, tomato, and green goddess on country bread ($12); cured ocean trout smorrebrod on rye bread with cucumber, dill, and poppy seed ($15); and perhaps what will have you coming back every day for lunch — pork tonkatsu sandwich with yuzu kosho sauerkraut, and spicy wasabi mustard on plain white bread ($12).
"Tonkatsu is a very simple dish you can find in convenience stores in Japan. You'd be surprised how well you can eat in Japanese Korean stores." Anyhow, this was Chang's inspiration for the sandwich that might change your life. The pork is impeccably breaded, packing a nice crunch that gives way to tender meat. At first you might wish that the bread itself be toasted and buttered if not for any other reason that what you're accustomed to, but if it were, it wouldn't carry the sauces as well as it does. Instead, you get a contrast of textures (crunchy and soft) and temperatures (cold and warmth) that's brought to a close with a nice kick of heat thanks to the wasabi spiked mustard. "We played around with this dish a lot and in the end after everything I tried standard white bread was the best option."
Remember those peanut butter and jelly sandwiches mom made for you as a kid to take to school? Well, this is the adult version: house-made shortbread with guava jam or black sesame seed cookies ($3 each). And you can get it to go.
Vagabond will serve lunch Tuesday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
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