Food & Drink

Time to fall for squash

Fried Goat Cheese Medallion at Downtown Bistro.
Fried Goat Cheese Medallion at Downtown Bistro. Downtown Bistro

There’s nothing like hearty squash dishes to get you into the fall spirit. Many Miami restaurants are following the seasonal inspiration by serving squash in a variety of unique ways. Taste your way through them all, from crispy stuffed squash blossoms downtown to salt-roasted squash in Dadeland.

Finka Table & Tap

Dish: Fall Bibimbap.

Kendall’s busting Cuban-Korean-Peruvian gastropub has a loyal following who seek out chef-owner Eileen Andrade’s inventive interpretations of global comfort food.

To get diners ready for fall, Andrade this month is unveiling a new dish: Fall Bibimbap is a traditional Korean rice bowl layered with acorn squash, yellow squash and zucchini along with flank steak, kimchi and Korean red pepper paste. She builds it all inside a steamed acorn squash and tops it off with a fried quail egg.

Price: $19.

Where: Finka, 14690 SW 26th St., Kendall; 305-227-8818.

Alter

Dish: Acorn Squash.

Chef Bradley Kilgore’s fresh take on progressive American cuisine includes a new acorn squash preparation that plays off the fall fruit’s sweetness with pickled pear and crunchy carrot furikake granola.

Another key ingredient in the dish is ras el hanout, a North African spice blend made from cumin, chile peppers and coriander seed, adding a range of earthy, warm flavors.

Kilgore said that what makes this squash plate special is letting diners decide whether they’d like it to include sheep’s-milk ricotta or local goat’s cheese, depending on their palate preferences.

Price: $13.

Where: Alter, 223 NW 23rd St, Miami; 305-573-5996.

Ni.Do. Caffé

Dish: Fettuccine al Cacao con Gamberi e Zucca.

Reeling off the success of its original location in the MiMo District (7295 Biscayne Blvd.), this cozy Italian joint recently opened a sister spot a few miles up Biscayne, in North Miami. The new space offers fresh digs and a fresh menu.

One of the newest pasta dishes combines cocoa noodles with roasted calabaza winter squash and sautéed shrimp for a sweet and salty dance. Tossed with brown butter and sage, this fettuccine bubbles over with fall flavors.

Price: $18.

Where: Ni.Do., 11052 Biscayne Blvd., North Miami; 786-953-5120.

Fooq’s

Dish: Crispy Stuffed Squash Blossoms.

This hole-in-the-wall location in downtown Miami’s growing Arts & Entertainment District specializes in farm-to-table comfort food, often with a Persian twist.

Crispy Stuffed Squash Blossoms are filled with spiced goat cheese, which melts down to a gooey center while the battered exterior maintains a crunch. Taking the main ingredient for another spin, the dish comes with a butternut squash puree that’s topped with rose petals, sumac and olive oil: perfect for dipping.

Price: $15.

Where: Fooq’s, 1035 N Miami Ave., Miami; 786-536-2749.

Barley, an American Brasserie

Dish: Salt-Roasted Squash.

Chef-owner Jorgie Ramos’ homey gastropub delights diners with a mix of Spanish and New American cuisine served in a comfortable, relaxed setting across from Dadeland Mall.

Try Barley’s Salt-Roasted Squash, which includes red wine maple syrup, roasted pumpkin seeds and brown sugar. Ramos adds a dollop of whipped goat cheese to the plate, which brings a tangy, savory punch, while maple granola delivers a textural contrast.

Ramos said he thinks the dish has been a hit with diners because it’s not over the top, just “simple and good.”

Price: $8.

Where: Barley, 9059 SW 73rd Ct., Miami; 305-397-8678.

Downtown Bistro

Dish: Fried Goat Cheese Medallion.

Tucked away on a quiet street, this charming bistro serves modern French fare in an intimate, candlelit setting. Special to the season is the Fried Goat Cheese Medallion, which is big enough to share as an appetizer but also large enough to enjoy alone as an entree.

To make it, the kitchen rolls goat cheese in panko breadcrumbs, then fries it, creating a crunchy outside and creamy inside. The medallion is plated on a pumpkin puree spiked with truffle oil. The result is warm and decadent, like fall on a plate.

Price: $11.50 lunch, $15 dinner.

Where: Downtown Bistro, 114 SE First St., Miami; 305-374-7284.

Carissa Chesanek: chesanekc@gmail.com

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