Dining at Dadeland: Earls Kitchen + Bar

Next time you need a great night out for dinner or drinks, think local. Rather than driving to South Miami, Coral Gables or Brickell, you should head to Dadeland Mall instead. Yes, I said Dadeland Mall.

Among other restaurants in the mall’s new section, you’ll find an O!M!G! surprise by the name of Earls Kitchen + Bar. Started 30 years ago in Canada as a family-owned burger and beer join, Earls is now a premium casual dining restaurant with some impressive dishes. In Miami, it’s a flat out winner with its over-the-top personality and service.

From the moment you walk into the 400-seat 8500-square-foot eatery you’ll be impressed by its soaring ceilings, modern art pieces, open-air balcony and large energetic bar, but more so with the young, vibrant and incredibly friendly staff.

Restaurant Manager Andrew Goldsmith explains, “We have 61 Earls open in Canada, but only a handful in the States. We open a restaurant only when we can send the right people and continue the Earls culture.” To that end, they’ve sent a team of Canadians long-term to make sure its done right. “We want a genuine and authentic connection with people. It’s part of our core values,” boasts Goldsmith. They also cross-pollinate staff between locations so that the culture stays strong and vibrant.

From center: Emily Scott, our server Diana  and Andrew Goldsmith (and some of the chefs)

From center: Emily Scott, our server Diana  and Andrew Goldsmith (and some of the chefs)

Besides the amazing food, it is striking how the entire staff engages you. Simply put, Earls is special. Managers, chefs and other wait staff roam the floor to attend to your every need. Everyone seems genuinely happy to be working there. Earls trains everyone to be ‘partners’, not just staffers.

This happy feeling will quickly envelope you as well. Eating at Earls evokes fun and joy. “I’ve worked in other restaurants and it was awful,” expressed our server Diana, “I love Earls because we are treated right and they encourage us to interact and have fun with our guests.”

Romantic date night, birthday party or just a nice lunch break with friends, Earls forms its style and attentiveness to your event, with seating to match. Tables go from an intimate spot on the terrace to booths to group seating at a long table. Whether you are just two or twenty, Earls can accommodate.

On Thursday and Saturday nights, Earls has a DJ pump up the tunes, but not too loud. It gives a great vibe to an already vibrant and active environment. At the bar, Earls uses Vintap Wine’s distribution system to pour a variety of reds and whites from taps to ensure perfect wine-by-the-glass every time.

When it comes to the food, it’s clear Earls can satisfy the basic eater and the foodie. They still have their burgers and beer roots showing, but with inventive chicken, seafood and noodle dishes even the most discerning diner will be satisfied with the cornucopia of choice. I can attest the Earls Famous Clam Chowder is exceptional. The Slow Braised BBQ Back Ribs and burgers are also outstanding. Finicky kids can request the kitchen make off-menu items. But the core menu is what will keep you coming back with items like crispy Thai shrimp, dominical fish tacos, Atlantic salmon and a choice of grain-fed Angus steaks. The decadent desserts will also make your mouth water.

Dining Room Manager Emily Scott emotes Earls’ relentless pursuit of food excellence, “Everything is made fresh right here. I always say you can’t have too many cooks in the kitchen. We have a head chef who we call the quarterback of the kitchen and they ensure quality, consistency and perfect presentation.

Out front, we look for what we call unexpressed wishes and work hard to deliver the dining experience preferred by the guest.” When it comes to passion about where she works, Emily can’t hold back, “I love coming to work. We hire on personality and this place is a hotbed of awesomeness. Our partners (staff) are awesome and our guests are more awesome. For us, it’s all about go big or go home.”

When it comes to getting it just right, Emily continues, “If the food does not come out meeting our high standards or the guest is not happy for any reason, our standard of service dictates that we must ensure the guest gets exactly what they want. It’s the Canadian in us that makes us deliver happiness and the best customer experience possible. They’re going home full and with perfection achieved.”

Food pricing is moderate and affordable across the board, especially considering the quality, portions and overall experience. Meals range from $22 to 39, with less expensive sandwiches, burgers and noodle dishes also available. Desserts are $8. These Canadians really get it right and we’re lucky to have Earls in our neighborhood. I highly recommend you experience this bright and cheerful dining experience for yourself. Call 305-667-1786 or visit www.earls.ca for more information and reservations.

Mangowood Halloween House Decoration

As part of the Mangowood Halloween decoration contest, Sean and Ana Kramer (and children) are inviting everyone out every night from 7-9 pm from now until Halloween to see their house at 8120 SW 151 Street in Palmetto Bay.

Thankfully, I got there before dark and before the ghosts and zombies arrived. But kidding aside, this display is a fun and kid-friendly. It once again highlights Mangowood and its 1950s style of community.

Folks can tune into the display's synchronized sound on their radio at 100.5 FM. Take a few minutes to stop by. And I'd bet this is the perfect house to visit on Halloween night!