The Place: Bird & Bone is in the old Seagrape space in what is now the Confidante Hotel, a boutique property that is part of Hyatt’s Unbounded Collection. The interior is still being renovated, so head to the outdoor patio surrounded by foliage under a retractable roof. The floor is the original striped tile from when it was a ’50s apartment building for the rich and famous. Chef Richard Hales designed the space and white wood tables. At night, strings of small round lights are stretched above and candles are lit. It has a breezy seaside vibe and is casual but with table service.
The History: Hales was born just outside New Orleans, but the family moved to Tampa when he was a baby. The chef is Irish, Italian and Filipino and went on trips to the Philippines in his youth to visit relatives. He graduated in the mid-’90s from the French Culinary Institute in New York and worked at La Grenouille French restaurant. He then went to Asia, where he was based in northern Thailand and did stages at restaurants in Bali, Tokyo, Seoul and Singapore. When he got low on funds, by a connection through a friend he helped open Vong, the Hong Kong outpost of Jean-Georges Vongerichten. He then came to Miami and was the Asian chef at Azul in the Mandarin Oriental and wrote wine lists for all the Mandarin properties. After operating a dim sum food truck, he opened Sakaya Kitchen in 2010, followed by Blackbrick Chinese in 2013, both in Midtown.
The Food: A family trip to Savannah led to more road trips around the South, which inspired the Bird & Bone menu. One product of his southern trip was Nashville hot chicken, for which bird parts are brined, seasoned with cayenne and garlic, breaded and fried until crisp and deep golden, served drizzled with honey and house made grainy mustard and pickle slices. Start with house made tortilla chips and three jars inspired by his mom’s dips with whipped ricotta and pepper jelly; guacamole with blue cheese, honey and sliced almonds, and egg salad with bits of Benton’s aged ham. There’s also baked to order cheddar and chive biscuits with his wife’s strawberry jam, black eyed pea soup with ham hocks and smoked fish dip with toasted and torn ripped Zak the Baker bread. Entrees (besides hot chicken) include a 32-ounce bone-in steak of the day, usually dry-aged Angus ribeye; roast duck; crisp-skinned snapper with heirloom green beans, whipped potatoes and tomato gravy; shrimp and grits with Andouille sausage; and cumin-spiced lamb ribs. Save room for chocolate bourbon cake with candied pecans and caramel ice cream.
You Didn’t Know This: Hot chicken was first made in Nashville as a revenge breakfast. Thorton Prince III, the great-uncle of current owner (of Prince’s shack) Andre Prince Jeffries, came home very late after a night of carousing and asked his girlfriend to make him a fried chicken breakfast. She added extra pepper and hot sauce to punish him, but Thorton liked it so much he and his brothers opened Prince’s Chicken Shack using her recipe. Others soon copied him, serving deep fried chicken with hot paste, a late night favorite. Chef Hales was in a scene in “The Layover” at the food truck round up at Tropical Park, and after filming ended star Anthony Bourdain told Hales his duck sandwich was the best thing he ate in Miami. Go to Sakaya Kitchen to get it.
Never miss a local story.
If you go
The place: Bird & Bone
: 4041 Collins Ave. in the Confidante Hotel, Miami Beach
: Sunday-Thursday 7 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 7 a.m.-11 p.m.
: Appetizers $7-$21, salads $14-$19, mains $18-$52, sides $7-$