Cauliflower is huge this winter, especially in South Florida, where the brassica is in season through April. Many of Miami’s best restaurants are offering this veggie in different ways — none of which are bland. We searched high and low for six of our favorite cauliflower dishes in town — no overplayed cauliflower steak need apply — finding it mixed with bacon in Midtown and charred with smoked almonds in MiMo.
Seared Cauliflower at Byblos
A recent newcomer to the South Beach scene, Byblos has been knocking it out of the park with its tasty Mediterranean cuisine, giving plenty of love to veggies. Its seared cauliflower ($9) is made with duck fat and garlicky tahini sauce. Already brimming with big flavors, the cauliflower gets additions of sesame seeds and coriander for more earthy nuttiness. It’s a true taste of the Mediterranean and Middle East, served with South Beach style.
Byblos, 1545 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
Cauliflower with Brussels Sprouts at Gigi
Two of the most popular veggies unite inside Midtown’s funky Asian-fusion hot spot, as Gigi brings together cauliflower and brussels sprouts ($10). Soy and crunchy bacon pieces add a salty punch and texture to this dish, which stands up to Gigi’s other veggie-focused small plates like mushroom steamed buns and crispy eggplant with za’atar and yogurt. Gone are the days when your mom had to make you eat your vegetables. At Gigi, you crave them.
Gigi, 3470 N. Miami Ave., Midtown
Charred Cauliflower at Loba
This cozy nook in the MiMo District is home to book-lined walls and tree-trunk tables, from which to enjoy fresh takes on classic Latin cooking. Charred cauliflower ($9) is a good side dish to accompany most any entrée, including the patacón with sliced rib-eye steak and Duroc pork belly. Smoked almonds and scallion give the cauliflower an extra depth and crunch, which chef and owner Jessica Loba seems to nail every time.
Loba, 7420 Biscayne Blvd., Miami
Cauliflower Robata at Makoto
Chef Makoto Okuwa is known for crafting solid robata items at his Japanese spot in the Bal Harbour Shops, and his slow-grilled cauliflower ($16) is one not to miss. While the presentation alone is impressive, this cauliflower is delicious, too, setting aside any preconceived notions you may have had. Served whole, the cauliflower is cooked over Japanese charcoal to give it a deep brown color and fireside flavor. It comes with a whipped feta tofu that adds the right amount of cheesiness, while being topped with micro shiso for a clean finishing touch.
Makoto, 9700 Collins Ave., Bal Harbour
Roasted Cauliflower at Uvaggio
Located on busy Miracle Mile, Uvaggio Wine Bar is known for its wine offerings, but chef Tanner Gil also makes food that’s worthy of a visit. His roasted cauliflower ($13) comes with turmeric, dates, pomegranate molasses and a hint of mint for a fresh finish. A handful of toasted pistachios brings pops of savory saltiness. Gil said the careful mix of sweet and savory gives this cauliflower dish an intense flavor and keeps customers coming back for it.
Uvaggio, 70 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables
Aloo Gobi at Zaika
A true gem in North Miami, Zaika Indian Cuisine rocks at making food that’s hard to come by around here. A staple cauliflower plate at the restaurant, aloo gobi ($12) is cauliflower sautéed with potatoes and a variety of spices, including coriander, cumin and garam masala. To complete the dish, the cauliflower and potatoes are topped with fresh ginger and coriander leaves, then served with a side of fluffy white rice.
Zaika, 2176 NE 123rd St., North Miami
Carissa Chesanek: firstname.lastname@example.org, @chesanek