Because South Beach is oversaturated with tourist traps that are dedicated to serving subpar food and overpriced drinks, the people at Primrose felt like it was time South Beach got a locals’ hangout. Located at the stylish Stiles Hotel on Collins Ave, Primrose exudes Art Deco history, panache, and an inviting aura that is made to cater to those living in the area. Walking downstairs to the dining room, you can’t help but be mesmerized by the simplistic décor, dim lighting, and bookcases lining the walls. It is a surprising distraction from the ruckus that has become the norm on Collins, a welcome invitation that offers privacy with a certain element of grace and unpretentiousness.
The menu brings a fusion of American, Asian, and French cuisine prepared by Executive Chef Evan Percoco. The chef masterfully applies his worldwide knowledge and experience to create dishes such as Tea Brined Chicken Breast & Confit, served alongside Kabocha squash, swiss chard, roasted shallots and fingerling potatoes; and Sugar Cane Pork Butt, an aromatic shoulder-cut paired with Nasi Goreng fried rice, crispy shallots and star anise consommé. The star on the menu is easily the Crispy Eggs & Primrose Bacon, plated with frisee greens mixed with pickled shallots, potatoes, and Roquefort in a lentil sherry emulsion. The bacon alone goes through a seven-day process, as it is cured in house and left to develop flavor for over a week. The skin-on pork belly is then cubed and fried, evolving into a dish that is more reminiscent to Latin chicharrones than to American smoked bacon. The skin adds a level of crispness that compliments the smoky and subtle flavors coming through from the rest of the meat. Perfectly poached eggs provide a natural sauce that blends with the lentil reduction to create a menagerie of flavors that elevated this dish to gourmet levels. I can only imagine how satisfying this dish would be during brunch.
A list of carefully crafted cocktails can be found at the cozy bar downstairs. The ambiance is evocative of the widely popular Broken Shaker, as outdoor seating and lighting by the pool provide a locals-only vibe that this area of South Beach is desperately missing. Drinks like the Category Five hint at bits of brilliance, made with Angel’s Envy Bourbon, Lemon, and Blackberries. Happy hour is available seven days a week, giving people the opportunity to indulge without breaking the bank. I can straightforwardly see this bar becoming a frequented stop for those in the know.
Places like Primrose are the type of restaurant that will help develop the culinary scene in South Beach to what it should be. Slowly but surely, this part of town is starting to develop, and if everything is at the same caliber as Primrose, it is an exciting time indeed.
1120 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139
By food editor, Santiago Cardona