Founded by Sara Liss and Maude Eaton, the Saffron Supper Club is a nomadic culinary series that explores the food and culture of the Middle East. Each event is a unique experience with a one-time-only menu that the culinary team works with the restaurant to curate. This last Sunday we had the special honor of partaking in their event at The Sarsaparilla Club, located by The Shelborne on Miami Beach.
The Sarsaparilla Club offers conscientiously sourced, farm-fresh dishes with a fun and interesting twist by combining the worlds of Cantonese Dim Sum and American Comfort Food. Head Chef Jeff McInnis (formely of Gigi and Yardbird), has brought more than 20 years of experience and has worked closely with the team at Saffron Supper Club to develop some interesting tweaks to their already fantastic menu. It is important to note that Chef McInnis is extremely familiar with Celiac Disease and has made extensive efforts to have as many Gluten Free options available for his guests; he has even gone as far as having a separate fryer to completely eliminate the chance of cross-contamination.
The evening started with a serving of Carrot and Beet Tartare which contained ground roots, black garlic, mustard, capers, and root chips. The tartare’s presentation was an exciting sneak peek into the remaining dishes for the night. It was served as a medium/small shareable starter, and was a great way to get your appetite going.
The tartare was followed by a small bowl of heirloom tomato ricotta. What was special and unique about this dish was the presentation of the heirloom tomato as a sorbet. Surprisingly delicious and packed full of flavor, the sorbet preserved the potency of the the tomato flavor bringing out the acidity in a refreshing and cool way.
We then had a lovely gluten free alternative to the dumplings served that night of Drunken Deviled Eggs. The eggs were purple in color, and were complimented by the bright yellow smooth creamy dill flavored yolk filling.
Next up, we had the Corn 4 Ways. In order to make this gluten free, the Chef removed the cornbread butter (which I heard was amazing) but the dish was still really beautifully presented and delicious.
The first of the larger dishes was another alternative made gluten free for us. Served in a long plate, the octopus and watermelon fennel salad was really an explosion of salty and sweet flavors. Chef McInnis made a complimentary mixture of surf and earthy turf that was really unique. This dish isn’t on the regular menu, but it was made for us in order to make our experience as inclusive as possible.
Next on the menu was this beautiful plate of Japanese eggplant, black garlic aioli, tarragon, basil, and pine nuts. The Grilled Grafitti Eggplant was served warm and was complimented by the strong flavors in the garlic aioli; definitely a favorite for any eggplant lover in your group. Following the Eggplant was our absolute favorite dishes, the green curry fried chicken and the spiced love rice.
As you may all know finding gluten free fried chicken is practically impossible, especially in Miami. However, Chef Jeff McInnis brought his expertise from his time at Yardbird, and made his own unique twist to this classic dish. It is by far, the best gluten free fried chicken we’ve ever had. It is marinated in green curry and yogurt sauce, and then seasoned with onion, cumin, coriander, mint, and kaffir-lime powder dusting. This zesty fried chicken will take you back to your pre-celiac days and we guarantee it will make your entire night. If you go to The Sarsaparilla for anything, this should be it.
Accompanying the fried chicken was a iron pan filled to the brim with The Sarsaparillas famous Spiced Love Rice: saffron basmati rice, saffron butter, rose petals, citrus and pistachio. It was an amazing complimentary dish to the zestiness of the fried chicken and really pulled all the flavors together wonderfully. **(In order to make this gluten free, the crispy onion topping was removed)
For dessert, we had the Sarsaparilla Club Brand Root Beer Float: toffee ice cream with filthy cherries, and a Cherry and Pistachio Buttermilk Bavarian: fresh cherries and nectarines, pistachio crumbles and almonds. Two very small and very tasty dishes that compliment any evening out nicely.
All in all, the Saffron Supper Club event was fantastic… The Saffron Supper Club and Chef Jeff and his team really go above and beyond to make the evening as special and unique as possible. They make everyone feel comfortable and relaxed and they go out of their way to speak to everyone sitting around the table. We had a really enjoyable time, and can’t wait to see what they’re going to do next. If you’re new to Miami, want to network with a group of really interesting people, or want to try something different and new, we highly recommend signing up to their next event… you’re definitely guaranteed to have a really great time!
The Sarsaparilla is located at: