Brickell’s latest darling, American Social, is a trendy restaurant and bar that originated on Las Olas Boulevard and has expanded down to the ever-hot Brickell area. The restaurant is located below the Neo Vertika luxury lofts and has a young, hip crowd. It is the perfect destination restaurant for Pinecrest villagers and a great stop after a Miami Heat game or any sporting event.

American Social is the synergy of two friends who met at FSU in Tallahassee. Both Rick Mijares and Paul Greenberg have a hospitality background from their stint in Tally and they planned to open their own restaurant and bar concept. Inspiration struck when they found it in Chicago. They ultimately created a restaurant and bar that honors classic Americana. It is a family affair with Laurie Mijares, Rick’s mother, creating the interior design for both the Brickell and Las Olas locations. She brought in Chicago brick for the walls and covered the surfaces with vintage Time magazine covers that celebrate the biggest moments in American history. Also, artist Alex Mijares, Rick’s cousin, contributed his artwork to the décor throughout the restaurants.

Last December, the Brickell location opened at triple the space of their original, boasting 3,000 square feet of waterfront dining along the Miami River with 200 feet of prime boat parking available. It is already enjoying the success that their sister restaurant enjoys on Las Olas. The realization of their dream with such popularity has prompted plans to open a third location in Palm Beach before the end of the year. 

Our waiter, Isiah, made our night memorable. He welcomed us and made us feel instantly at home at American Social and was attentive without being intrusive. We started our meal with several appetizers. The Vermont cheddar mac and cheese with wild boar was beyond good. It featured Vermont cheddar cheese, cream cheese and orecchiette. In addition to the wild boar, you can have it enhanced with shrimp, grilled chicken, short ribs or English peas.

On the lighter side, we did try the Poke tuna bites, which feature sushi grade Ahi tuna, wakame, sesame seeds and guacamole mousse topped with mung beans. Finally, we sampled the house made pretzel bites, which are served with both Dijon and wild cherry mustard.  I would definitely eat all three again.

Next on the menu is wild caught Atlantic salmon. Pan seared to flaky perfection with a crisp skin, the flavorful fish is served with roasted cauliflower and beets in a yogurt sauce. Here’s a healthy dish with no sacrifice in taste at all. Another delicious entrée was the Belgium Wheat IPA braised short ribs; craft beer is cooked into the beef and served with farm vegetables and whipped Yukon gold potatoes. The meat falls off the bone and the mashed potatoes were exceptional.

Poke tuna bites Belgium Wheat IPA braised short ribs
Poke tuna bites
Belgium Wheat IPA braised short ribs.

American Social is all about classic American comfort food as demonstrated time and again with the mac and cheese and the mashed potatoes dishes, while providing a fine dining experience with the tuna bites and the salmon. Along with an interesting selection of burgers, sandwiches and salads, you are sure to be satisfied. 

What makes the bar scene interesting are the various seating options: outside on low-slung couches or bellying up to the 100-foot bar with that Chicago feel. There is a robust social scene here with a young, hip and professional vibe. Ladies Night on Thursday is well-attended by both teams. American Social offers 52 craft beers with many in constant rotation, including four Miami breweries on the current list. Another highlight is several pour-it-yourself stations that eliminate waiting for a bartender.

Beer taps

Saturday and Sunday brunch is a concept all in itself. They have unlimited mimosa and Bloody Mary specials during brunch on the weekends and the menu is a la carte. Give the chicken and waffles a try. A delicious pairing of marinated strips of all natural, all white meat chicken breast that is flash fried to a golden brown and a vanilla bean waffle stuffed with Nueske bacon topped with a dollop of sweetened mascarpone cheese, cherries and bourbon maple syrup. What’s not to like? American Social is pet friendly and you can bring your well-behaved pooch to the patio to dine, enjoy the ambience and South Florida weather.