After reading two very glowing reviews of the Mahogany Grill in the local press, we made our way west of the turnpike on Miami Gardens Drive to find out if all of the fuss was true. Since lax2mia and I seem to share an unnatural enthusiasm for fried chicken, I figured I'd take one for the team and ordered the house special fried chicken served with 2 sides - mac&cheese and collard greens. (I am so selfless...)
Because the benchmark for fried chicken for South Florida Hounds seems to be Joe's Takeaway, I will say that the chicken served at Mahogany is definitely "Hound Worthy." The 3 piece order was crisp and not too greasy, but not as piping hot as I'd hoped it would be if just out of the fryer and on to the plate. My pet peeve about Joe's Takeaway is having to pop the bird out of the plastic package before the steam of enclosure wilts the crisp off the batter. This can happen even in the minutes from counter to table on site - and so I rarely take Joe's home. There is nothing quite like the taste of molten hot, crispy just-fried chicken! Third degree lisp-inducing tongue burns aside - Joe's does a great job.
I had the featured chicken entree at Mahogany and BF tried the chicken and waffles. While nothing compares to Roscoe's in LA, the large squares of malty waffles were a noble effort. The only other restaurant we've found with this pairing on the menu is Cafeteria on Lincoln Road and though their entree is good in a pinch - it's not that remarkable a preparation... I'd suggest you stick with the chicken and 2 sides.
I thought that the sides were a little sweet tasting - which is an odd sensation when it comes to mac & cheese - but not unpleasant in the greens. We were on a soul food bender and had visited Tom Jenkins just days earlier. The greens at Toms are about as good as Mahogany Grill. The mac and cheese at Toms was just - well, kind of dried out. The mac at the Grill was creamy and dense - but the odd sweetness threw me off a bit. It wasn't as if someone in the kitchen subbed sugar for salt, but perhaps used the same serving spoon to scoop the mac that had been used on something else sugary...
We watched entrees of fried catfish and thick BBQ ribs make their way to the tables around us. I spend most of my non-chewing energy in restaurants craning my neck to see what everyone else is having. Then I suffer what BF calls my acute "menu-envy..." The BBQ looked good enough to merit another drive out to investigate this weekend. My car should have a bumper sticker warning that I brake for BBQ. Perhaps we'll have room for dessert too.
I'll post on this thread when we make our return visit... Meanwhile, has anyone else tried Mahogany Grill yet? Here's the link to the New Times Review. I am starting to agree more often with Lee Klein - is that bad?
BTW - I do agree that the service at Mahogany is a little lackluster, but VERY friendly. Then again, I dine on South Beach where the service is often lackluster AND unfriendly - so I think you'll be fine with the waitstaff overall.
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